The Evil Boy-Prince of the Church

There’s no love lost between me and the Catholic Church, heaven knows (pun intended). But I think we can all agree, Catholics, lapsed, non, and otherwise, that what Obama did this week was beyond the pale. If you somehow missed it, he is forcing them to provide & pay for abortion, contraception, and sterilization. Quite apart from whatever you may feel about any one of those individually, it’s the principle being threatened that’s of deep concern here, and Peggy Noonan nails in WSJ today. Here’s an excerpt:

 “…The Catholic Church was told this week that its institutions can’t be Catholic anymore… There was no reason to make this ruling—none. Except ideology. The conscience clause, which keeps the church itself from having to bow to such decisions, has always been assumed to cover the church’s institutions… The ruling asks the church to abandon Catholic principles and beliefs; it is an abridgement of the First Amendment…

They say they will not bow to it. They should never bow to it, not only because they are Catholic and cannot be told to take actions that deny their faith, but because they are citizens of the United States…

(Even) Catholic liberals, who feel embarrassed and undercut, have also come out in opposition. The church is split on many things. But do Catholics in the pews want the government telling their church to contravene its beliefs? A president affronting the leadership of the church, and blithely threatening its great institutions? No, they don’t want that. They will unite against that.

The smallest part of this story is political. There are 77.7 million Catholics in the United States. In 2008 they made up 27% of the electorate, about 35 million people. Mr. Obama carried the Catholic vote, 54% to 45%. They helped him win. They won’t this year. And guess where a lot of Catholics live? In the battleground states.

There was no reason to pick this fight… There was nothing for the president to gain, except, perhaps, the pleasure of making a great church bow to him.

…You have awakened a sleeping giant.”

  • Tom Joyce

    The statistics show that 75% of Catholics use the Birth Control that their church tells them not to.

    But, besides that, whether it is the esteemed Peggy Noonan, herself a non-Catholic Catholic, or not, the issue is whether an EMPLOYER who receives federal money must pay for Health care Benefits including contraception, which an astonishing percentage of fertile Catholic working women use, for its EMPLOYEES.

    Why should a Catholic Hospital, which by law must hire workers regardless of their religious affiliation, be allowed to impose their religious views on employees?

    A Catholic employee does not have to use contraceptive services. If they are young Catholic women, they will, but Catholics who work for catholic Institutions do not have to do so.

    Under the Bishops direction, if a Methodist, whose church actively promotes using contraception, or any other non Catholic worked for a Catholic Hospital, they would be denied contraceptive coverage which is not inexpensive, by the way.

    I wish that Catholic Clergy were honest about what they want: they want to ban any artificial birth control. If supporters of banning Birth Control want to make that an issue, they will need a new SCOTUS or a constitutional amendment. The modernity struggle was lost a long time ago, and people want sexuality without conformity to Catholic Doctrine.

    For a laugh sometime, ask a pro-life Catholic college student what his/her views are about oral sex, pre-marital sex, homosexuality, and sexuality in general. The Church lost this fight the moment women realized they did not have to have big families to have sex.

    But, to repeat, the issue, which is important, is whether an Employer can impose its religious views on its employees. If it takes federal money, the answer is no.

    Even Scalia and Alito, the most Roman Catholic Justices America has ever had, do not believe that Catholicism has the right to rule where federal dollars are spent. Justice Thomas will follow whatever the Catholic Church wants. Thomas should oppose the Catholic Church because the Founders did, and he believes that the constitution should be interpreted as those men of 1787 saw things. Our Founders were almost universally anti-Papist. They called their co-signer from Maryland, a Papist, and hated the Pope of Rome and his church. The refusal to see Catholicism as the Founders saw it is one of the few ways that Justice Thomas does not slavishly follow the mores of 1787 Land and slave owners.

    • The Supreme Court, in a UNANIMOUS decision, not THREE WEEKS AGO, affirmed the “ministerial exception” that had always been operation in lower courts; essentially that the “internal affairs” of an organization organized under a religious banner had certain autonomy. Of course, none of this is to be taken to extreme, just as every other liberty we have is understood not to be in the extreme, i.e., you have the FREEDOM to run around naked, but we have decency laws prohibiting that, right?

      Well, part of this case involved the very question of how religious organizations operate “internally”and they justices were so concerned with “punishing” them that they even cited their autonomy as a reason to NOT grant monetary damages to the plaintiff! They regarded the simple act of having to pay out cash as punitive, violating their autonomy. Again, YOU CAN’T MURDER ANYONE IN CHURCH and get away with it. Be reasonable. Our whole COUNTRY rests upon everyone being good doobies. That’s why we’re (theoretically) so free.

      The difference with this ruling is that it is affirmative, that is to say, it is not telling them they DON’T have to do something, it is telling them they MUST do something, which is a VERY different animal. Can you IMAGINE the problems this raises? Have you EXTRAPOLATED IT OUT? There’s no religious person who would or could prescribe contraception, so they either have to HIRE someone secular to do it, or CLOSE. How would you like to be the “pill giver” in a building full of pious people? I wouldn’t! The whole thing is awful. If this stands, then women priests are next… Seriously. There’s no end.

      Oh – and it kinda screws up the whole “conscientious objector” option for all those pacifists out there, too. If you’re going to use the metric that simply taking or benefitting from federal dollars can compel you to DO ANYTHING then WE’RE ALL SCREWED.

      Think about it.

      And thanks for stopping by.

  • I agree with Tom. Catholic establishments are against how the government tries to make them implement policies such as this. But they themselves are imposing their beliefs on their non-Catholic employees and are ignoring their rights to health care benefits.

    • You are not BORN a Catholic EMPLOYEE. You CHOOSE to WORK for a Catholic institution and if you are too stupid to know what their value system is you have only yourself to blame.

      The Catholic Church is “imposing their beliefs” is kinda THE POINT – THEY ARE A CHURCH, BY DEFINITION – AN ORGANIZED BELIEF SYSTEM. It is a PROTECTED ENTITY inside the 1st Amendment of the United States of America. It is at the HEART of WHY THIS COUNTRY WAS FOUNDED.

      To miss that is to miss the ENTIRE REASON WE ARE HERE ON THESE SHORES.

      If Obama can do this, then the NEXT President can FORCE MOSQUES to serve bacon for breakfast.

      C’mon.

      Grow up.