Monday, January 30, 2012

The Anti Catholic and Anti Bishop Tone of the Birth Control Mandate Debate

Back to the birth control mandate issue ,and another troubling facet of it. That is the blatant anti Catholicism and anti Bishop tone that is not even hidden.

At MOJ there is a post Confusion about "conscience" where a couple of supporters of the mandate are engaged.

......Bugyis writes, "[a]s it stands, the bishops and other religious leaders seem intent on protecting their prerogative to coerce rather than counsel, and this is a slap in the faces of the faithful, who have already endured and forgiven so much loss of moral credibility among their clergy." Again, the bishops are not "coercing" anyone, and the question whether the Church's teaching on contraception has been persuasive (to most people, obviously, it has not), should be entirely irrelevant to the question (I understand that it is relevant to the Administration's political calculations) whether a government that is constitutionally and culturally committed to religious freedom should make Catholic institutions subsidize employees' contraception. At the end of the day, it seems to me that Bugyis welcomes the mandate out of something like spite, as a kind of justified punishment, or come-uppance, of the Church for its failure to confess error and reform in the direction he would like. Very disappointing.

Sadly this is too common, but there is little doubt that the Obama administration and it's friends on this issue will engage on it in various ways some subtle some not.

As Prof Garnett states here:

...The decision is all the more unattractive for being so obviously political, in a low sense. It appears to me that the Administration simply decided that -- perhaps because the Bishops' stock is low in American culture at the moment, and perhaps because the polls and many advisors assure them that, because most Catholics report that they don't accept the Church's teachings on contraception (remember, though, this mandate covers some abortion-causing drugs, too) -- it would not face any serious political cost if it imposed the mandate, but it would demoralize "the base" during a re-election campaign if it did not. Catholics were quite useful during the 2008 campaign and, apparently, the Administration believes that this decision will not cause Catholics to stay home or switch sides in sufficient numbers to undermine the 2012 effort.

There is no an huge element of pay back time that one sees as to this issue. When Roe V Wade happened it was the Catholic Church that raised it's voice. In fact they had to spend years getting many Evangelicals on their side. It is forgotten now ,but it was an acceptable position among even many Fundamentalist to be pro-choice on the issue. The resolutuions of the Southern Baptist Convention on abortion in the early 70's are instructive on this .

So organization like NOW , NARAL, and MS Magazine no doubt see an opportunity to strike while the Bishops are not in great PR shape.

The fact that Bishops are at a low PR moment should be a sign to many in the Administration that more caution is urged on this matter not less.

I have no doubt that there are people that are committed to the Fist amendment in the Obama administration that can see beyond the short term political gain. That is the danger that the coercive power of Government is being used in a climate of not so hidden anti Catholicism. Who will be next? This is something sadly that will not be able to be contained in one party I think.

The "But the majority of Catholics" argument is the most dangerous to the health of this Republic.

First it flirting quite dangerously with the thought that the Government can decide what is an essential belief of a Faith.

Second it interferes with he internal workings of the Church and it's Governance by trying to drive a wedge between its Bishops and the Laity.

Now of of course people are free under the First Amendment to do the above. But if we start hearing "But the majoruty of Catholics" argument at Government Press conference and publications we are in troubled waters.

1 comment:

Kurt said...

What would be great would be to combine the hoped for lawsuit against the contraceptive mandate and the challenge to the health care mandate in the Affordable Care Act. The challenge to the mandate is based on the theory that health insurance is simply a commercial product that people might legitimately purchase or not purchase. It’s a private choice.

The opposition (of which I am part of) to the contraception mandate is that it simply is not possible for Catholic auxiliary institutions to not offer insurance to their employees as a way to avoid financing contraception.

If one is opposed to the insurance mandate, then what is virtuous about an employer "forcing" employees to take part of their compensation in the form of a private, commercial product rather than cash?