Here are some one liners...
The Knights of Columbus and the Oaths We Take -- The Knights of Columbus are founded in New Haven. I talk about oaths and what might happen if religious oaths conflict with oaths made to our country.
Gay Science and the Death of God -- It's HAPPY Science. Gay means something else. I argue that we don't have to kill off God to live in an Enlightened world.
Give us your Huddled Masses, except the Chinese -- The Chinese Exclusion Act will remain in effect for a very long time. I talk about the musical, Flower Drum Song.
In Other News -- Comets, cannons and the Sister Wives.
The Knights of Columbus and the Oaths We TakeNo. They are not from Columbus, Ohio. They are from New Haven, Connecticut. Catholic immigrants to the United States have very little money, so when they get sick or when the main provider dies (that would be the husband) it becomes a problem for the community. To address this problem, Father Michael McGivney organizes a mutual aid society at his local parish. He calls it the Knights of Columbus in honor of Christopher Columbus. (He is also tweaking the Protestants who like Christopher Columbus, but would like to forget that Chris was a Catholic.) With few government benefits available, mutual aid societies have formed to render assistance to their membership. Usually they focus on the orphan, the widow and the elderly, providing insurance and pension plans. (Wait! They don't have government help! They'll all die! Are they insane?) No. They are not insane. They are religious people who take seriously the commandments to help the sick, the widow and the orphan. Catholics are often excluded from mutual aid societies. They are even excluded from labor unions, so Father McGivney has taken action, not by forcing Catholics onto unwilling organizations, but creating an organization of his own. The Knights grow into a fraternal order. Since the Pope has expressed his unhappiness with the Freemasons and their oaths of secrecy, the Knights of Columbus act as an acceptable alternative. They combine American patriotism with religious devotion, so naturally the Klu Klux Klan accuses them of being anti-American. Sometimes a group recommends itself not by the friends it keeps, but by the enemies it makes.   
Gay Science and the Death of GodThe title of this history segment is a little misleading, but certain advocacy groups like to distort titles for their own purposes and "Gay Science" is the title THEY prefer. The German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche (NEE-chah) has published one of his greatest works, entitled Die fröhliche Wissenschaft (DEE FROE-lick VISS-en-shahft). Google translates this as The Happy Science. The word "gay" once meant "happy" but not any more. This is a book of poetry but it doesn't sell well. What makes the book great is what people say about it much later. From these poems we learn that the author does not believe in God. In fact, he says that God is dead and that we are His murderers. Exactly how this translates into a "happy" science is a mystery to me, but he suggests that society has lost its meaning and we have slipped into a passive nihilism. Certainly this Second Industrial Revolution is causing a crisis of the soul for some, but Nietzsche is feeling no pain. He is heavy into opium right now and writes prescriptions for himself, signing them as "Dr. Nietzsche". In a few more years the "Doctor" will be "Out". He will slip into madness and death.  
- God is dead.
- -- Nietzsche, 1882.
- Nietzsche is dead.
- -- God, 1900.
Give us your Huddled Masses, except the ChineseThe Congress, in its wisdom, has cut off almost all Chinese immigration, especially Chinese miners. The initial California Gold Rush is winding down and the Transcontinental railroad is mostly in place. With jobs drying up, competition is fierce, so the ethnic Chinese are banned from immigration for 10 years. That includes ethnic Chinese from other countries like the Philippines. California has passed state laws specifically targeting the Chinese, seeing them as a danger to good order and discipline. Plus they will work harder for less money, but that is a side issue. Let's move on. There is a general concern that out-of-work immigrants might be a burden to local communities, so Congress grants wide authority to refuse immigration for people who stand no chance of getting a job. Usually this means anyone who cannot perform heavy or continuous labor. Exceptions for skilled Chinese laborers are granted if they are certified by the Chinese government, but certifications are so easy to get that it soon becomes a worthless condition. In 10 years, the Chinese exclusion rule will be renewed and then made permanent. It will remain in effect until 1943 when 105 entry visas will be issued to Chinese immigrants EVERY YEAR! (Don't say it, Alex. Reach for your happy place. Oh crap! Where did my happy place go?)   
In Other News
- Polygamy is now illegal in the USA. ITS THE LAW! Will someone PLEASE tell that knucklehead on Sister Wives? There are rules for polygamy that help one avoid the heartache I see on that TV show. The Latter-day Saints at the time were following the rules.