The bishops and Obama paranoia

The Catholic bishops made it into the White House briefing, not once but twice the first weeks of October. Presidential … Continued

The Catholic bishops made it into the White House briefing, not once but twice the first weeks of October. Presidential spokesman, Robert Gibbs stated on two occasions (10/7 and 10/13) that the bishops had misinterpreted abortion in the Health Care legislation. Gibbs said, ” . . . there’s a fairly clear federal law (The Hyde Amendment) prohibiting the federal use of money for abortion.”

Despite these White House statements, some bishops now threaten to oppose health care legislation. The official communication from Douglas Johnson of the National Right to Life Committee comes close to shouting out “You lie!” when it concludes that “…a vote for H.R. 3200 is a vote for tax-subsidized abortion on demand.”

So who’s right here?

In a previous column of Catholic America I looked at the issue about subsidies to people who couldn’t afford to buy health insurance – about 10% of the population. Then, the bishops argued that if the subsidized persons bought a plan that covered abortion, the tax-supported subsidy would be used to violate Catholic consciences because all money is in the same pot (“fungible” is the technical word). That objection, however, ignores how existing insurance plans that routinely segregate money by accounting procedures and thus comply with the Hyde Amendment.

The new October wrinkle in the bishops’ objections concerns provisions in the legislation that extend over several years. The policy would be set for outlying years, but the Hyde Amendment is usually attached to each year’s House appropriations bills. Without an explicit and separate reiteration of the Hyde Amendment independent of annual renewals, there is concern that one day appropriations might be passed without the Hyde Amendment as a carrier. This is getting down into the weeds of legalese, especially since the clear intent of the White House and the Democrats in the Senate and Congress is to abide by the Hyde Amendment.

I do not doubt the legal acumen of the National Right to Life Committee or of the Pennsylvania Bishops who issued a similar challenge even adding a requirement voiced by Pittsburgh’s Bishop Zubik to include illegal immigrants before Catholic support. (Most experts agree that the plight of non-documented immigrants is a substantial issue, but needs to be resolved separately for this already contentious health care bill.)

I question the tactic of releasing threatening letters to the media in order to influence the White House. After more than 40 years of advocating substantial health care reform according to social justice principles, Catholic America actually has something to vote for. The overall good to be achieved by supporting the bill clearly outweighs a backyard skirmish over technical wording. If the bishops need to add clarifying language to proposed legislation that repeats the Hyde Amendment, there are better ways of lobbying, I would think. Why not approach a known Pro-life Democrat like Senator Robert Casey, Jr. of my state to work from the inside? At a meeting I attended with the Senator, he said as much, pointing out that he broke ranks with his party when just such an amendment was proposed and rejected by the Democrats.

More troublesome is how more conservative Catholic bloggers have jumped on this opaque legislative language to resurrect stale vilification of the president. Catholic League President, Dr. William Donohue, intimates that statements in 2009 by the Obama White House are lies when compared with statements made in 2007. Fair enough: but if the League can easily pardon a lifetime of anti-Catholic statements from the Reverend Hagee, it seems it could avoid hypocrisy by giving the president equal opportunity to change his thinking and move closer to Catholic opinion.

Beware of the “spin” that makes muddied legislative opinion into support for “abortion on demand.” Such is not theology: it is right-wing politics. The question of upholding the Hyde Amendment has been asked and answered, but some Catholics won’t take “Yes!” for an answer. The White House has clarified that no health care legislation will override the Hyde Amendment (which allows abortions in cases of rape and incest). To claim that people are against you even when they say they are not is paranoia, not Church doctrine.

About

Anthony M. Stevens-Arroyo Anthony M. Stevens-Arroyo is Professor Emeritus of Puerto Rican and Latino Studies at Brooklyn College and Distinguished Scholar of the City University of New York.
  • ccnl1

    What else the RCC bishops should demand:1. An added two dollar health insurance tax (or higher) on a pack of cigarettes. Ditto taxes on alcolholic beverages, the higher the alcohol content, the higher the tax. Ditto for any product shown to be unhealthy (e.g. guns, high caloric/fatty foods??)2. Physicals akin to those required for life insurance- the overly obese will pay signficantly more Medicare and universal health insurance (unless the obesity is caused by a medical condition).3. No universal health care coverage for drivers driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or using cell phones while driving.4. No universal health coverage for drug addicts or for those having self-inflicted STDs.5. No universal health coverage for euthanasia.6. No foreign aid given to countries who abort females simply because they are female. e.g. India

  • legfederal

    It is rather appalling, so many months into this debate, that Mr. Stevens-Arroyo would post an essay that demonstrates such a level of careless ignorance about both current law and about the language in the pending health care bills. Mr. Stevens-Arroyo also demonstrate a remarkable level of naivete, suggesting that it is wrong “to claim that people are against you even when they say they are not.” That depends on who is doing the claiming and what those people actually do about what they claim. With respect to the Obama team and abortion policy, Mr. Stevens-Arroyo would be well advised to place much less reliance on what they say and to pay much more attention to what they do.Let us first take the claim — repeated three times recently by White House Press Secretary Gibbs — that the Hyde Amendment would prevent funding of abortions under the health care bills. Mr. Stevens-Arroyo apparently puts stock in this claim — yet, it has absolutely no basis in fact, and has been thoroughly discredited. The Hyde Amendment applies only to funds that flow through the annual appropriations bill for the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The Hyde Amendment does cover the Medicaid program. But neither the Hyde Amendment nor any other current federal law that will prevent the new programs created by the pending health care bills from paying for abortion on demand.Let’s get specific: The pending health care bills each contain one or both of the following components: (1) a nationwide insurance program run directly by the federal government, “the public plan,” and (2) programs that would subsidize health insurance for tens of millions of Americans. None of the funds that would be spent by the public plan, and none of the funds that would be spent by the premium subsidy programs, would be appropriated through the annual appropriations bills, and therefore none of these funds will be covered by the Hyde Amendment. The White House knows this full well. The repeated references to the Hyde Amendment by Mr. Gibbs, and by President Obama himself, are an exercise in misdirection, intended to snooker the gullible, and to satisfy those who are looking for an easy answer and who can be trusted not to look too closely at the matter.Only language written directly into the health care bills will prevent government funding of abortions — but just such language has been blocked by the Democratic chairmen of five congressional committees, with White House cooperation. Mr. Stevens-Arroyo seems to be dimly aware of this, but yet he counsels reliance on what he calls “the clear intent of the White House and the Democrats in the Senate and Congress to abide by the Hyde Amendment.” I suggest that “clear intent” is demonstrated not by repetition of contrived and misleading verbal formulas, but rather by the language actually written into the bills by the drafters, with White House backing. For example, the House bill (H.R. 3200), as amended by the Capps-Waxman Amendment, explicitly authorizes the public plan to cover elective abortions. The public plan would be a program within the Department of Health and Human Services, which by law can spend only federal funds. Thus, the public plan would be engaged in direct funding of elective abortion, using federal funds. Abortionists would be paid for elective abortions out of funds drawn on a U.S. Treasury account. Mr. Stevens-Arroyo is apparently ignorant of these facts, or else he believes in the hoax claim that a federal agency could pay for abortions (or anything else) with “private” funds.The establishment of a federal government program that would pay for elective abortions would be a sharp break from all existing federal health programs. So, too, would the establishment of federal subsidies to private insurance plans that cover elective abortions. Mr. Stevens-Arroyo imagines that such subsidies already are permitted under current federal law, but he is wrong. In the Medicaid program, for example, no federal funds may flow into any plan that funds abortions — and states are prohibited from using even their own Medicaid matching funds for abortion. In evaluating intent, one might also consider that in 2007, Barack Obama stood on stage alongside the president of the nation’s largest abortion provider, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), and promised that his health reform legislation and his public plan would cover abortion. (You can watch a short video clip of Obama making the promises at You will find documentation on the pro-abortion components of the pending health care bills, including the Capps Amendment, on the NRLC website at Douglas Johnson

  • razzl

    I’m not normally in favor of authoritarian governance, but for those of you who have bought into dictatorship by claiming to be a Catholic, maybe it’s time for the Cardinals to weigh in and remind these rogue bishops of John Paul’s directive not to take part in partisan politics…

  • usapdx

    WHY IS IT THAT THOES GROUPS THAT FILE TAX EXAMPT ARE ALWAYS SPEAKING OUT ON POLITICAL ISSUES TELLING AMERICA HOW TO RUN THE COUNTRY AND SPEND TAXES EVEN FOR PEOPLE ILLEGAL IN OUR COUNTRY? THE 1913 LAW OF TAX EXAMPT 501 (c) (3) MUST BE ENFORCED OR ELIMINATED.

  • ccnl1

    Hmmm, “directive not to take part in partisan politics.” ????The killing of 35 million womb babies is not partison politics but a moral and horrible tragedy !!!

  • Tiparillo

    Who cares? Isn’t it time for another hate-filled, content free Bill Donohue rant?

  • bflorhodes

    To CCNL1:No health care for people you don’t like?You are as Christian as bin Laden. Enjoy hell.

  • ccnl1

    We should somehow like people who kill babies in or out of the womb????Or increase our health insurance costs by living an unhealthy life style??

  • cprferry

    What your suggesting is that the bishops be quiet and ignore that a significant number of Democrats have crafted a bill that offers vague, legally questionable protections against abortion funding and refuse to clarify the language.

  • EarlC

    It just shows everyone to what lengths certain people will go to oppose something that is obciously in the best interest of all people – only because of an extreme political agenda.

  • EarlC

    This a akin to the argument for buying guns, a sure rebuke of Chrsitan principles as taught and practiced by Jesus. People who are out there buying guns by stating that Obama will banish guns are paranoid liars.

  • grohlik

    It seems all the people who cover faith issues for the WaPo take it as their mission to ceaselessly attack religion as avatars of the administration and liberals in general. Fine, the paper can choose who it wants for reporters. What’s objectionable is to market these sections as faith based when they are faith bashing. Unless one wants to consider the Democratic party as a religion, which many indeed do.

  • JenDray

    These religious rightwing nuts insist that they shouldn’t pay for abortion, but they expect the liberals to pay for their evil Iraq war that they all love so much.I personally have a profound moral objection to nuclear weapons. Somebody make it illegal for my tax money to go to that.

  • ChoKum

    This column reports just one more reason why the number of practicing Catholics has shrunk so dramatically over the last 50 years! Three generations of my family will never return to a religion that is stuck in the 12th century.

  • kelpius

    Grohlik (@12:12am) nailed it perfectly. This page should be called UnFaith, not OnFaith. It’s become a weird playpen for lazy-minded, snark-mouthed lefties passing off hackneyed name-calling as serious argumentation. E.g. nyah-nyah, stuck in the 12th century! Nyah-nyah, hate-filled! … so on and so on.

  • eaglehawkaroundsince1937

    With a shiver I say Thank God for seperation of church and state. I didn’t say God and State but Church and State.

  • EnemyOfTheState

    The Catholic Church is within its rights to participate in the political arena. And the IRS is within its rights to revoke the church’s tax exempt status.Problem solved.

  • EnemyOfTheState

    The church continues its quest to keep women in their place as second class citizens. Part of that strategy has always been to enforce the idea that women are incubators.The church also believes them to be weak-minded and childish, since they are not to be trusted to make their own decisions regarding a pregnancy.

  • MikeL4

    Let me see. Who should I believe? The paid spokesman of a President who beleives it is morally acceptable to kill developing human beings in the womb or the Bishops of the Catholic Church?Yeah, I am going with the Bishops.

  • Garak

    @MikeL4:Yeah, I am going with our President.

  • artsy01

    Wow, let’s pay for health care reform by taxing religious institutions….they can’t seem to stop interfering in politics so let’s tax them and make hundreds of millions off their assests and profits.

  • coloradodog

    Tax the Catholic Church if it wants to play politics in violation of Federal laws and have Federal Marshalls arrest it’s pedophile priests hiding behind the Cardinals’ $10,000 red skirts.

  • jaxas

    Anytime I see anything with the name Dr. William Donahue attached to it I know I am dealing with a radical religious extremeist and Obama hater and someone not to be trusted to be truthful about anything he says. Donahue has been a regular on a variety of opinion outlets on the right who have a visceral dislike for this President.It really galls this bunch that Obama is as popular as he is. During the Bush administration–and particularly after his re-election–this silly bunch literally believed that Bush’s re-election was a signal that America was undergoing a religious transformation. They felt as though they were on top of the world. So it stands to reason that such a dramatic collapse of that silly notion and the capture of the government by deomcrats, is a devastating and demoralizing blow to Donahue’s dream of turning America into a right wing theocracy.

  • bruce18

    Your comment…That objection, however, ignores how existing insurance plans that routinely segregate money by accounting procedures and thus comply with the Hyde Amendment… is totally disingenuous. Unfortunately, money, by its very nature, is completely fungible and legalese which purports to create different “pots” simply obfuscates the truth.

  • Utahreb

    Why should the Catholic Church doubt the strength of the belief of its members? If the members of the church are strong enough in their belief, they would not have abortions even if paid for by health insurance, right? Is the church not comfortable with the faith of its followers?And why should those who are not members of the church have the option if it is included in this bill? Why should the beliefs of one church be allowed to dictate to those of other faiths or no faith?You want to interfere with government? Give up your tax-exempt status and hire all the lobbyists you want. Until then, don’t try to dictate my physical well-being or that of other women.

  • jaxas

    Personally, I think we would all be a lot better off without all of these wacko fundamentalists and their hate preaching political allies in talk radio. Most of us are really fed up with the William Donahues and Glenn Becks and Rush Limbaughs who seem to think their narrowminded views should be the basis for American government. Can you imagine what it would actually be like if this squalid, hatefuol bunch were in charge of our government?

  • jvoran

    It is interesting that in this corporate body — the Roman Church — the upper echelon demands the right to freedom of thought and speech — and the right to impose their own take of social issues upon the body politic — while holding the lower echelon of their own organization to conformation to official doctrine.

  • ccnl1

    Once again, BO rode to the Blood-Red House on the backs of 35+million aborted womb-babies!!!(The fastest growing USA voting bloc: The 70+ million “Roe vs. Wade mothers and fathers” of aborted womb-babies” whose ranks grow by two million per year.)i.e. the Immoral Majority now rules the land and will do so in the foreseeable future. How very sad and disturbing!!! All leaders of religion even those with sin on their souls need to constantly remind us of this.

  • tojby_2000

    Jesus, an important deity for Catholics, was a pious Jew who lived under both Roman and Jewish law. Abortion and exposure (infant abandonment) were legal and commonplace. Under Hebrew law, if a non-spouse beat up a pregnant woman and killed her fetus, the perp paid a fine to the plaintiff-husband.

  • JaneDoe4

    The Catholic Church, ruled by a bunch of mysogynist men, should have NO SAY in regard to women’s health in this country or ANY country.The RCC does not care one fig for women or their health. They believe women are brood mares who should have as many children as possible in order to populate the dwindling numbers in their pews and in their coffers. This has always been their goal.This is a secular country. No churches or other religious organizations set the rules for ALL Americans. If they do not support abortion rights for women, fine, they you control the women in THEIR organizations and leave the rest of the women in this country alone!Tired of this RCC church in particular attempting to set the agenda for health care for women or, for that matter, any other agenda in this country. This is not a Catholic country!The RCC needs to clean up its own act first and also, it needs to stop worrying about what women do with their bodies and about what goes on in the bedrooms of the people in this country. We don’t live in the Middle Ages as they do.

  • pechins

    Unlike Mr. Arroyo we all know that the Hyde Amendment only adheres to the medicaid funding. Also, the Supreme Court stated years ago that if something is not specifically denied then it is allowed. Ergo no written statement in HR3200 to the effect no money for abortions then it will be okay to pay for abortions. Mr. Arroyo you cannot be Catholic or you had a bad life in the Catholic community to write some of the trash that you do. I have heard Mr. Casey speak and he is pro abortion. His father was anti abortion my friend.

  • jimk8mr

    I thought Jesus had a lot to say about healing the sick.I guess that was then, and this is now.

  • chopin224

    Who gives a gnatzass what a bunch of high ranking clerics believe? The GOP has done its best to blur the line between religion and state even proclaiming the Constitution does not really prohibit an official state religion. I will resist any attempts to force Christianity on me right until the end. Some of the most sincere conversions take place in prisons because after all, the prisons are full of good Christians.

  • ravitchn

    The reason bishops have little of value to say is that they are chosen for their fundraising and administrative abilities, not their intellects. They are rarely brighter than the middle rank of their parishioners.

  • FatherFrankPavone

    The bishops made it to the White House briefing twice this month because their constituency can’t be ignored. As you wrote in your column: “Without an explicit and separate reiteration of the Hyde Amendment independent of annual renewals, there is concern that one day appropriations might be passed without the Hyde Amendment as a carrier.” Why do you describe that concern as paranoia? Things that might happen, often do. And as to why the bishops don’t choose to work within the system with pro-life lawmakers, you point out yourself that thus far, the efforts of the pro-lifers have failed. It is not paranoid to ask why providing a few explicit words in a 1,000 page document is such a big deal.

  • CoCoSausage

    As soon as the Church starts paying taxes then we should care on what they have to say, until then, they and their employees should shut up unless it’s Sunday and they are talking to their followers…

  • DoTheRightThing

    The Hyde Amendment applies only to Medicaid, and Obama is on record opposing it even in that limited context. Is it really too much to expect people like Stevens-Arroyo who write about this issue to understand these facts? Additionally, in the past Stevens-Arroyo has failed to fix factual mistakes when they have been brought to his attention. I hope he succeeds in this instance.

  • map529

    Gee, What a surprise. The Catholic Church will oppose something for the social good. They are only using the pretext of abortion support since, while I believe most of the leaders in the Catholic Church are sick, callous, all about preserving the riches of the Church and oppressing those who are not rich, male, and white, (Q: Where’s the Pope of color? A: Hell hasn’t yet frozen over.), these great men of tolerance (of pedophiles), are not stupid. They know what the bill proposes, yet they have chosen to propound a false version to serve their needs. People without health care by other means, will turn the the Church for help. Once they do that, the Church has the control.

  • joelp77440

    “The Hyde Amendment applies only to Medicaid” True, but a public option would also be federal and be included under the Hyde Amendment. I think the writing is spot on with this article.

  • explorers100

    In Catholic boys high school I asked the Reverend father many times in sex education class just how was it that the Church could not condone modern birth control and at the same time condemned abortion. The priest, an intimidating fellow who also was the principal of the school explained time and again that birth control was against natural law and that the taking of life in an abortion was also a mortal sin.We then–the class asked how it was that a priest had to be celibate–wasn’t that against natural law as well.A complicated answer finally yielded that it wasn’t against natural law.A life time later I have come to terms with the Church. In reality the church–many of its clergy unknowingly thrives on over population and human suffering contrary to its claims. Where ever the church is strongest i.e. Latin America, poverty is a major fact of life.And yet here is the Church, virtually silent in the holocaust, virtually silent on the string of human rights violations being carried on by the State of Texas in capital punishment, silent while the Bush administration carried on a preemptive war.Oh and the priest who taught us sex education that abortion is wrong as is modern birth control. Lucky for him he is institutionalized with alzheimers disease. In such a state he cannot be prosecuted for being the pedophile he was before he had the condition when he used his power to abuse boys.The Catholic Church should be the aim of a nationwide investigation. Over a billion dollars and counting has been paid to the victims of its violation of “natural law”. Any other institution–the Ku Klux Klan, the Minutemen, the American Nazi Party–altogether have done less harm to Americans than this venerable relic of a church. The Church has lost its moral standing and should shut up on health care.

  • newage_lightbulb

    “True, but a public option would also be federal and be included under the Hyde Amendment”No, it won’t. The Hyde Amendment only applies to Medicare, and for it to apply to any new legislation its scope would have to be explicitly changed.You know that. The President knows that. Everyone who understands the Hyde Amendment knows that. You are simply being duplicitous.”It just shows everyone to what lengths certain people will go to oppose something that is obciously in the best interest of all people”If by that you mean the left-wingers who want to socialize medicine are opposing the true reform we need – DEREGULATION – than you’re right.You people who mindlessly follow the socialized medicine party line are nothing but partisan hacks. Any fact-based study of world medicine systems shows that socialized systems fall behind free-market ones on every single point. Furthermore, socialized medicine is a pyramid scheme, particularly in developed societies where birth rates routinely plummet below replacement rate.But please, keep repeating your tiresome, partisan, snide one-liners and believing you have some superior moral authority just because you won’t let your blind ideology be tainted by fact and reason.

  • torourke2

    The Hyde Amendment applies to Medicaid, and thus has nothing to do with what is being proposed in Congress, as any health exchanges created under any bill that is passed will not be subjected to the Hyde Amendment. This has been pointed out over and over, and yet liberals still can’t get it straight. And the proof is in the pudding, why won’t liberals in Congress simply pass an amendment explicitly outlawing any funds from any exchange set up to subsidize abortion? Why do they keep voting them down, if we are to believe that abortion will not be funded anyway? It’s almost as if they are trying to sneak abortion-related funding in the back door in the hopes that no one will notice. It’s also been eye-opening reading the anti-Catholic and anti-religious bigotry that has been thrown around in here, no doubt by open-minded, tolerant liberals every one. This issue has been instructive though. For years liberals have claimed that they were the ones who were really committed to reducing the abortion rate because they supported comprehensive sex ed (while never pointing to any evidence that such programs actually reduced the abortion rate). Now we see them supporting public funding for abortion, which even the Alan Guttmacher Institute says will increase the abortion rate, and thus their true colors are revealed. Apparently 1.2 million abortions a year is just not enough for liberals.

  • tartansailor

    With all due respect, your concept of reality

  • ccnl1

    Once again, BO rode to the Blood-Red House on the backs of 35+million aborted womb-babies!!!(The fastest growing USA voting bloc: The 70+ million “Roe vs. Wade mothers and fathers” of aborted womb-babies” whose ranks grow by two million per year.)And BO will reward these voters with abortion on demand paid for by taxpayers money i.e. 8 million more votes in 2012.

  • Neo2

    Wow! I am amazed by the responses to this essay betrays such a profound hatred of all things Catholic. Not to interfere with the irrational beliefs of the bigots out there, but the Church, after the US government, is the bigggest healthcare provider in the US. The bishops have a voice in the debate rooted in reality. The other criticisms are simply wrong: Abortion has been opposed by the Church and many others for centuries and, on this one, technology, not faith, is proving how young life begins early in the womb. In America all citizens even those of faith have a right to speak in the public square (Should the Reverand Martin Luther King stayed silent? John Paul II opposed the Iraq war. The Church opposes the death penalty. In Dead Man Walking was Sister Prejean a simple New Age clerk? The the claims of the Church’s complicty in the Holocast are simpy at variance with the historical record. Many were heroic and many were cowards. The Church was among the first to denounce the Nazis and many believers were sent to their deaths in defiance of Hitler’s pagan policies. Should more have been done? You bet, that is why the Shoah stains the conscience of humanity. Finally, the idea that the horrible Church abuse scandal should silence the all the good folks who make up the Church is silly; if only that standard were applied to Hollywood we sould still be watching silent movies.

  • ccnl1

    It is obvious that intercourse and other sexual activities are out of control with over one million abortions and 19 million cases of STDs per year in the USA alone. from the CDC-2006″Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. While substantial progress has been made in preventing, diagnosing, and treating certain STDs in recent years, CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.1 In addition to the physical and psychological consequences of STDs, these diseases also exact a tremendous economic toll. Direct medical costs associated with STDs in the United States are estimated at up to $14.7 billion annually in 2006 dollars.”How in the world do we get this situation under control? A pill to temporarily eliminate the sex drive would be a good start. And teenagers and young adults must be constantly reminded of the dangers of sexual activity and that oral sex, birth control pills , condoms (see the recent Pew study) and chastity belts are no protection against STDs. Might a list of those having an STD posted on the Internet help? Sounds good to me!!!! Said names would remain until the STD has been eliminated with verification by a doctor. Lists of sexual predators are on-line. Is there a difference between these individuals and those having a STD having sexual relations while infected???

  • cprferry

    Once again the anti-religion nuts come out and attack religion without knowing anything about the situation at hand.Health care reform is working to reach a consensus to pass both the House and Senate and protect certain politicians’ reelection bids. Meanwhile the Catholic Church has been a tireless advocate for affordable health care, in fact they subsidize numerous hospitals and health programs. Politicians want the bishops on board. However, the bishops have refused to issue a public statement of support for the health care reform efforts unless certain protections are included to protect their religious objections to providing and assisting members in receiving elective abortions.

  • cprferry

    “birth control was against natural law and that the taking of life in an abortion was also a mortal sin.Your next question should have been: what is natural law? Contrary to what you seem to think and feminists love to claim, the Church does not believe that people should get married and breed like crazy. Indeed, the Church holds roles for priests, sisters, brothers and consecrated singles that never get married and have sex. They sacrifice their physical inclinations to rise to express their love of God and neighbor in other ways.

  • gpcarvalho

    Religious political activists, including ultra conservative prelates and preachers, could perhaps better use their money, time and energy by building and leading a Christian Democratic Party, similar to those found in Chile and Germany. Those church leaders who insist on imposing their ideological preferences on all Americans could act strategically by presenting themselves as official candidates for key positions in the executive and legislative branches. Half involvement in the political arena may not satisfy some of the most vociferous among conservative church leaders. A few clerics I have met in the past three years behave like perfect agents of the Republican Party. Why not running for the House or the Senate under its encompassing umbrella? Or why not creating a political party under their complete control? Many have attempted to do this in other countries with relative success. They even became more tolerant while learning something about the horse-trading that is inevitable in the democratic process. Despite initially pretending to hate the give-and-take that characterizes democratic politics, with the passing of time they became just like any other politician from your neighborhood.

  • rf49

    I can see how liberal minded Catholics have found a home here. And that Sally Quinn, has she ever revealed if she goes to church? If I run into her downtown, I will ask.

  • samscram

    To respond to another poster’s query; I suggest that the reason that the Catholic Church has traditionally hooked up with “Caesar” [including Adolph Hitler with its approval of the 1933 ReichsKonkordat that facilitated his quest for dictatorship] is because it is of little faith and as such needs the secular power to protect its “soul”, as it were.

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