Against a backdrop of war and anti-Catholic sentiment, one man loses his rights because he is falsely accused
In this fascinating, detailed history, William Issel recounts the civil rights abuses suffered by Sylvester Andriano, an Italian American Catholic civil leader whose religious and political activism in San Francisco provoked an Anti-Catholic campaign against him. A leading figure in the Catholic Action movement, Andriano was falsely accused in state and federal Un-American Activities Committee hearings of having Fascist sympathies prior to and during World War II. As his ordeal began, Andriano was subjected to a hostile investigation by the FBI, whose confidential informants were his political rivals. Furthermore, the U.S. Army ordered him to be relocated on the grounds that he was a security risk.
For Both Cross and Flag provides a dramatic illustration of what can happen when parties to urban political rivalries, rooted in religious and ideological differences, seize the opportunity provided by a wartime national security emergency to demonize their enemy as “a potentially dangerous person.”
Issel presents a cast of characters that includes archbishops, radicals, the Kremlin, and J. Edgar Hoover, to examine the significant role faith-based political activism played in the political culture that violated Andriano’s constitutional rights. Exploring the ramifications of this story, For Both Cross and Flag presents interesting implications for contemporary events and issues relating to urban politics, ethnic groups, and religion in a time of war.