Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Liberal Betrayal of Progressive Christians ( HHS MANDATE )

Last year there was emotional business involving Liberal Baptist Jim Wallis. See Liberal Christians Attack Obama Spiritual Adviser Jim Wallis

Looking back it seems it was a sign of things to come. That is we have moved in certain Progressive Christians circles from a preferential option for the poor to a preferential option for certain sexual viewpoints which will always trump the former.

The HHS Mandate has brought this fight out in spades. I started thinking about that again today when I read Get Religion's piece on a " Conservative " Episcopal Socialist Bishop who was killed along with his wife. See The Curate’s Egg: Political Language in Religion Reporting.

Fours ago there was no hint that the Obama campaign thought the lack of contraception services was a clear ,and present health danger. In the last midterm election it I can't recall it mentioned once in the MSM. Yet now we are lead to believe since the administration has announced this rule that failure to implement it will endanger the "Separation of Church and State" and bring back to the dark ages of 2009!!

It should have been clear to anyone that opening this can of worms would lead to a lot of anti Catholicism. We have seen this before.

In the immigration reform fights there were hints of it. The Catholic Church just wants more butts in the pews etc we heard . However for the most part it was muted. Beside the utterances of Rep Tom Tancredo the default position of most conservative officeholders to immigration reform and the Church was an agreement to disagree. There were a few conservative pundit that might have crossed the line. But in places like National Review and others they adopted the same tone of agreeable disagreement for the most part.

The HHS mandate fight has been quite different sadly . Everyday brings a new attack from Liberals on the Bishops and other Catholics that portray them as some right wing tea party faction. This I am afraid will have consequences that will go beyond the Catholic Bishops.

I have little doubt that as too many social and economic issues the Catholic Bishops remain fundamentally liberal in orientation. I am not thrilled with that , but on the other hand I don't want the Bishop Conference to become a religious Heritage foundation.

Today I was reviewing the Funeral Mass Homily for Archbishop Hannan of New Orleans.

God had prepared Archbishop Hannan in a singular fashion as he imbibed the philosophy of his father in caring for the less advantaged. His mother’s love for education guided Philip to provide opportunities for the poor to whom opportunities were not available. His experience as a Paratrooper instilled in him what he had seen in his home, discipline and hard work. His graphic witnessing of the sufferings in the Concentration Camps and the need to care for all moved him from vision to action. Government with all of its cumbersomeness was able to achieve so much, provided people work together. Many times the key to success is the contact in the governmental offices and a generous sharing of the glory. Food for the Poor – the Supplemental Feeding Program with the Infant Formula flowed out of programs that the US Department of Agriculture had been using for the Navajo Nation. Archbishop Hannan said, why can’t we avail ourselves, of this food for the needy in New Orleans. Off we went to Washington to meet in the Capitol with Senators Russell Long and Bennett Johnson, with Congressman Eddie Hebert, Lindy Boggs and the whole Louisiana Delegation.

We got our programs. Second Harvest expanded the feeding of the infants and children to now include the elderly and the needy. Members of City, State and National Government all helped to bring to fruition many a needed program.

When the poor were going to march on Baton Rouge from New Orleans for rent subsidy and needed housing, the members of the Louisiana Legislature had to act. So many Legislators were in the New Orleans Area. The Archbishop was told, that the only way they would come would be if he get them together. He opened the doors of Notre Dame Seminary to meet with the protesters and the Legislators -averting a tragedy. Work together and so much can be accomplished!.

Yet today we see this Government assistance for the Church Programs used as political weapon in a attempt to silence the Church or make it go against it's beliefs. As Archbishop Chaput noted recently :

Philadelphians may wish to reflect on the following facts: The Archdiocesan Secretariat for Catholic Human Services spends $278 million annually on services to the community. About 4,000 employees make up our secretariat's workforce. Catholic Social Services is the largest social-service agency in Pennsylvania and the largest residential care/social-service subcontractor with the Department of Human Services of the City of Philadelphia.

There's more. Archdiocesan Catholic Health Care Services is the largest faith-based provider of long-term-care services to the poor and elderly in the five-county area, and the seventh-largest nationally. And our Nutritional Development Services ministry serves more than eight million meals a year to schoolchildren, summer programs, and child-care centers. It also provides 2 million pounds of nonperishable food to needy families and the elderly through its Community Food Program.

Much of the money used by these ministries comes from public funding. But of course, the reason these ministries are trusted with public funding is that they do an excellent job. The service relationship works well without compromising the integrity of either the government or the Church. In fact, in a practical sense, government often benefits more than the Church.

It's breathtaking that many Progressives I see want to threaten this . Again it appears a preferential option for certain sex matters has trumped the preferential option for the poor.

But the issue goes beyond the mandate. Is this attack on the Catholic Church and people of faith we are seeing worth losing such a valued voice on other matters of social justice. If you wish to decapitate the Church on this matter you might be decapitating it on others.

What about the on fire Methodist that is Orthodox in fundamental Christian believe but has a very "progressive" outlook on the poor. Is there room for him or her at the table.

I am afraid this will not be able to be contained. Social conservatives politicos will observe the new ground rules and launch their own attack on the Liberal Churches. This tit for tat may be never ending .

If you think the Church should told to heel on contraception perhaps others will tell it to heel on matters such as the environment, State Execution, economic social justice. The careless talk of "losing tax exemptions" goes both ways.

I am not a liberal progressive Christian , but I value their voice. I don't want them to pushed out of the public square nor the Church on these issues and more. But it appears that is where we might be going. How bad the collateral damage is we have yet to see.

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