Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Margaret Carlson Spins Fairy Tale On Catholic Bishops and Culture War

Over at the ole Bloomberg:

Carlson: Catholic Bishops Join the Culture War on Obama

Already we are of to a bad start with the title.

I was surprised when the bishops didn’t declare victory last week. Heeding their protests, President Barack Obama relieved Catholic institutions of the indignity of having to pay directly for contraception for their employees.

Carlson, who repeatably tells us that she is Catholic in this piece, which has no bearing on the legal issues here, seems to buy the Church has been relived the indignity ( is that the new word for cooperation with sin ).

In the compromise worked out by the White House, insurance companies would instead provide contraception coverage separately and absorb the cost, which is less than paying for the alternatives.

Of course we know little about this compromise because so much of it 's promised to be explained at some future point. Carlson , no D.C. novice, would not expect any other group to take "trust me" in D.C. fighting for their rights. Why the Church.

Instead of marveling at this miraculous turnaround, the bishops raised holy hell, calling the deal an “outrage” and a “sham.” Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington, said it was like letting Catholics have pornography as long as someone else paid for it.
To borrow a football metaphor, the bishops moved the pearly gates. They want the president to enforce a religious doctrine against artificial
birth control that they gave up enforcing long ago.

I suspect the Bishops realize that nothing of substance has changed. See the Bishop's second response to this Friday afternoon Washington D.C. news drop. How come no one wants to deal with the specifics here in media land about the Bishop's concerns. Including it appears the more worrisome aspect to many other Christians that Government is not declaring what is not a religious function and what is?

She then proceeds on as to her personal views and experience on Birth Control which is not relevant to the Constitutional issue here.

Good Faith Effort
Last week, the federal government made a good-faith effort to comply with a religious doctrine that isn’t taken seriously even by many of its most vocal champions. Why do the bishops want to continue this fight? Plenty of Catholics would like to rally around a church still (justly) paying a price for protecting priests who sexually abused children. Despite all, the church continues its commitment to helping the poor and the sick

What exactly is this good faith effort? Some promised Chinese wall accounting trick which sounds as dubious to me as when conservative Catholics friends use "double effect" to say atomic bombing of Cities of Japan was A OK .

But if the controversy evolves from a conflict over religious prerogatives to one about contraception, the bishops will lose cafeteria Catholics who are accustomed to picking and choosing our doctrines.

Which is why the Church will keep on hammering the realities of religious liberty threat.


The bishops are being encouraged by the Republican right, which is forever recruiting reinforcements for its culture wars. Rick Santorum, a Catholic with seven children and a wife who, he boasts, properly stays at home with them, outdoes the bishops. He wants no insurance coverage for contraceptives lest we live in a world where the irreligious “impose their values on somebody else.” (Only Santorum’s values should be imposed on somebody else.)

Newt Gingrich is almost as zealous -- or at least pretends to be. A convert to Catholicism, Gingrich’s multiple marriages make a mockery of at least one church doctrine. His destructive politics and personal vitriol pretty much take care of the rest. Obama, Gingrich said, “will wage war on the Catholic Church the morning after he is re-elected.”

To compete with Santorum and Gingrich,
Mitt Romney, the suspect moderate, grows even phonier. Providing “contraceptives, morning-after pills -- in other words, abortive pills -- and the like at no cost,” he said, “is a violation of conscience.” Yet a similar policy didn’t violate his conscience when he was governor of Massachusetts.

Lets be clear about something. The GOP in many ways came late late to this issue. The Bishops and many Catholics have been watching this for some time play out. It is quite frankly the Obama administration that brought on this "culture war" and in fact has established a whole new front in it. The Bishops , and some liberal Catholics too , in fact feel lied too in this whole mess. I will not comment on the how he might labeled or mislabeled the respective GOP hopefuls positions. That's a red herring to get us off the topic of religious liberty.

War on President
To the extent conservative voters support the bishops, it is largely on abortion, not contraception. Evangelical doctrine doesn’t prohibit birth control. If they pursue their current course, the bishops risk looking like allies of the Republicans’ war on all things Obama: health-care reform, big government, fiscal policy and now contraception

But they also support the Bishop's on the fact that Government should stay out of the Church's business. These contraception evangelicals sense the real problem more than " Catholic " Carlson does.

Balancing the desires of our varied religions without endorsing any one in particular can be messy. Should insurers tailor their policies to conform to Shariah law for Muslim employers? Should reporters at the Christian Science Monitor be deprived of health care in favor of prayer healing? If not, why should Catholic employers be allowed to deprive employees -- who pay insurance premiums -- of coverage for contraceptives?

Carlson seems to imply that the Bishops and concerned Catholic want to go to the dark ages of insuring coverage. No for the most part Bishops first would like to go to the Status Quo before the Obama Care was passed. Then they would like to resolve some questions that have been flinging around the Court system last decade as to this issue.

The president has no obligation to yield to the anachronistic, largely unenforced policy of one religion. Americans didn’t leave the Church of England behind only to embrace a Church of the United States as defined by an overreaching Catholic hierarchy. Thank God for that.

In this paragraph we have the troubling instance again of taking what Faith matters the Government can intrude on if we take an opinion poll. An entanglement of Government into religion governance that would be quite an shocking advancement. It's also downplays and in fact tries to cause a revolt as to the Bishops role in GOVERNING the Church. That is protected by the Constitution from Government interference.

Carlson needs to start taking the hordes of Religious Law scholars seriously that are raising major concerns . She also might consider the fact that Obama in a cynical move MIGHT BE doing this in order to score points with his base. The Constitution and kicking over a beehive of anti Catholicism be damned.

1 comment:

stanchaz said...

In this dreadful Holy War on Religion, I've had enough. I'm surrendering! 'Cause I'm gonna start my OWN religion, and get in on the good stuff: tax exemptions, and lots of taxpayer money to do what I want... Definitely! Hey Newt -wanna join? We're gonna have open marriages and multiple wives and all SORTS of neat stuff that you're just gonna love! But no nasty stoning of adulterers. Promise! As for Santorum- he makes a fine fact, we'll make him Saint Santorum. As for Mr. Obama,  obviously, we'll need to demonize him even further, and his dog. As for Mitt and Ron, hey, just for you guys: no taxes AT ALL ...and human sacrifice of illegal aliens. Televised. Whoooppee! What a country! :-)