What's curious about the current wave of anti-Catholic paranoia in our country is that it uses much of the same scare tactics, exaggeration, bigotry, distortion of truth and downright lies that have been used for a long time by the fundamentalist Protestants.
The New Anti Catholicism--The Last Acceptable Prejudice by Philip Jenkins--goes through this in great detail. He chronicles how the present anti Catholicism has its roots in Puritan America, the Know Nothing riots, and anti-Catholic legislation.
It should not surprise us that the present atheistic, secularist anti Catholic gangs are using the same tactics as the Protestant fundamentalists, because at the very root of both movements is not only a hatred of the Catholic Church, but the same philosophical decay. Secular, atheistic anti Catholicism is merely the end point of Protestantism. It is, if you like, the retarded child of Protestantism.
Protestantism has at its roots, the philosophy of nominalism--that universals do not exist--just the particulars. The result of this is materialism, individualism and subjectivism. There is no universal objective truth. Instead all that matters is the individual and the particular.
For Protestants this means that only the personal experience is relevant. The end point of this is relativism--that there is no such thing as objective truth, and the end point of this is the secular materialist position--in which all that matters is my own judgement and what you can see here and now.
For both Protestants and secular materialists the idea that there is some over arching law or Almighty lawgiver which mankind must obey--is absurd. That there is an earthly institution that claims to be the channel of communication for that lawgiver is an outrage.
Of course, I am talking about foundational principles here and making generalizations. There are plenty of good Protestants who believe in God and an objective moral law that is communicated through the Bible. The point I am making, however, is that their intrinsic antipathy to the Catholic Church (even when the use polite ecumenical type language) is rooted in the same philosophical assumptions which drive the more rabid anti Catholicism or the radical Protestants and secular materialists.
No wonder therefore, that the NY Times ad looks like a Chick Tract.