Lonesome Tree in Sandhills

Friday, February 17, 2012

Religious Poppycock

I keep thinking... maybe the earth slipped on its axis from all the hot air being broadcast 24/7. So many people, so little time to brainwash them into believing black is the new white and the wee little folks are 10 feet tall. Charles Dickens and C. S. Lewis would be having a field day about now what with dour pots calling kettles black and rich rotund Men in Black crying out about being victims. Don Marquis would have Archy telling Mehitabel, "Your kittens are YOUR problem... we cockroaches don't have too many little roaches." And, yes Alice, there really are talking rabbits who wear clothes & check time with a pocket watch.

Dickens, Lewis & Marquis would quickly realize Catholic bishops' crying "foul" over insuring birth control at affiliated universities and hospitals is a Giant Red Herring. Catholic cardinals as well as bishops are using "religious liberty" to drive a mack truck through so they won't have to report child sex abuse to secular authority... nor pay over $700 million in judgments that are on appeal. Don't take my word for it, take Cardinal Egan's word for his belief now, retracting his apology 10 years ago, that the Church has no obligation to report abuse cases.

The bishops are reasserting that Canon Law rules, not governments, to get Congress to overturn the Supreme Court's unanimous decision in United States vs. Lee, 455 U.S. 252 (1982).
Justice Burger, writing for a unimous Supreme Court: "Congress and the courts have been sensitive to the needs flowing from the Free Exercise Clause, but every person cannot be shielded from all the burdens incident to exercising every aspect of the right to practice religious beliefs. When followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes which are binding on others in that activity. Granting an exemption from social security taxes to an employer operates to impose the employer's religious faith on the employees."
This isn't new stuff - these folks mean business!  A year ago in March, the "Rights of Conscience Act" Bills were filed in the House & Senate (H.R.1179 and S.1467) and referred to Subcommittees on Health.  The Catholic bishops are now spending $50 million on public relations using code words like "freedom of religion" and "religious liberty" ... with help from their long-time frienemies.

I figure taking the Catholic Bishops' argument to its ultimate conclusion means spending $2 billion/year to Catholic affiliated universities and hospitals could be viewed as a violation of the Establishment Clause.  Then Bishops can tell their Catholic faithful to pay those costs out of their own pockets so they needn't worry about abiding by federal law.  Hummm... pitting Catholics against Catholics??


  1. Followed you from Juanita Jean's, do plan on coming back.

  2. Unfortunately, this is my second attempt at a comment, as I wasn't logged on before. I hope I can remember what I wrote, as I really liked it!
    This is another case of the republicans and the bishops not choosing to understand that freedom of religion doesn't mean freedom necessarily, or only, OF a religion, but freedom of the rest of us FROM that religion. I believe President Obama's compromise last Friday made the "onerous" necessity of Catholic hospitals to pay for contraception no longer necessary, and thereby defused the issue, but let no non-issue get in the way of politics, particularly when it comes to Darrell Issa. Besides, don't these hospitals get Federal funding, and aren't many of their staff and patients non-Catholics? Let's assume there were Jehovah's Witness hospitals; would they be allowed to withhold blood transfusions? Someone on TV last night had the temerity to liken Obama's ruling to forcing a Jewish deli to sell ham. I call baloney on that. The court ruling on "commercial activity" should have put paid to this once and for all, but don't forget, we now have a Kenyan, Muslim, black, socialist, non-citizen, Saul Alinsky (I still wonder how many people Newt thinks know who he is?) loving, anti-colonist, American apologist president in office. Have I covered it all?
    If we want to return to a strict interpretation of the establishment clause, perhaps Catholic hospitals should stop receiving any government grants.

    A bit of a post-script: I wonder how many of these bishops and republican congressmen (notice there weren't women in large numbers) are as concerned with newborn babies as they are with zygotes, or in this case, even more ridiculous, pre-zygotes.

  3. http://motherjones.com/politics/2012/02/controversial-obama-birth-control-rule-already-law

  4. Catholic-affiliated hospitals receive Medicare/Medicaid and universities get financial aid for students & research grants. "The Sisters" is about how the Catholic nuns built over 900 hospitals and 10,000 parochial school in the U.S. - with NO help from bishops! Lincoln asked the head of the Sisters of Mercy order in Maryland to help save Union soldiers from dying of their wounds, which they did largely by using hygiene (nuns are clean freaks!). She later called in him to help raise the money to build the only hospital in Baltimore. They have always distrusted the bishops & have been progressive leaders so Obama needs them.

  5. Thanks, Warner! Interesting MoJo article I'd missed.


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