As you know, the pedophile-enabling Catholics bishops are, as usual, drawing a line in the sand where it truly doesn’t matter: birth control. You’d think they might use their bully pulpit to finally address the child rape scandal that so much of the Catholic leadership aided and abetted all these decades, but you’d be wrong. The Catholic church only cares about morality when it’s time to bash someone else, in this case women, though bashing a gay is always fun too.
In case you hadn’t heard, the Catholic church claimed, falsely we now know, that they were upset that the President’s new health care law would require Catholic hospitals to include contraception in their insurance policies. Forget that 98% of Catholic women – 98%! – have used birth control. And forget the fact that a number of Catholic hospitals already offer their employees birth control through their health plans. So the old men running the church are completely out to lunch on this issue, and their own flock is disobeying them to tune of pretty much everyone.
But it’s worse than that. We discovered yesterday that the Catholic bishops weren’t actually upset because the plan would cover their hospitals. No, their actual demand now is that the President find a way to repeal the provision in the health care law so that NO EMPLOYER ANYWHERE will ever pay for contraception again.
Imagine the good they could do if they got as exorcised over the rape of young children, 25% of them under the age of ten.
So, the latest news is that the White House is today announcing an “accommodation” with, or at least for, the bishops. They’re going to adopt the Hawaii plan, as it’s called, where employers don’t have to provide employees with contraception through their health care plans, rather the plans will still include contraception but the insurers will reach out directly to employees, so any employers with a moral problem won’t have to touch the stuff. Jake Tapper at ABC explains:
In Hawaii the employer is responsible for referring employees to places where they can obtain the contraception; Catholic leaders call that material cooperation with evil. But what the White House will likely announce later today is that the relationship between the religious employer and the insurance company will not need to have any component involving contraception. The insurance company will reach out on its own to the women employees. This is better for both sides, the source says, since the religious organizations do not have to deal with medical care to which they object, and women employees will not have to be dependent upon an organization strongly opposed to that care in order to obtain it.
Too cute by half? Too big a cave?
At first blush, it seems like a nuance without a difference. It certainly won’t please the bishops. They won’t be pleased until they get Mitt Romney elected and he’s busy appointing Mormon religious activists all over the administration, and the bishops suddenly realize that they’re not so comfortable with this Mormon thing after all. But by then it’ll be too late.
Now, it is possible, just possible, that there’s some wisdom to what the President is doing. While at points in the past we’ve been concerned about this President’s penchant for caving. In this case, this might not be exactly a cave. It’s possible that the President learned his lesson from all of his negotiations with the Republicans that if you’re going to cave, make the cave relatively minor and then hold it against the other guy. Meaning, use it to show the public how much you tried, and how unreasonably and unbending the other guy really is.
Obviously you can argue over whether the administration should have reached any accommodation at all, and the politics of this, as Kevin Drum notes, could still prove a morass for the administration. Some on the left will see the administration’s efforts to appease the U.S. Conference of Bishops as unnecessary appeasment. Meanwhile, it seems all but certain that the Conference of Bishops, which had previously insisted that the rule be scrapped altogher, will not be mollified in the slightest, and Republican officials and the 2012 GOP candidates will still continue attacking the Obama administration over this, pushing not only the “war on religion” line but also the subtext, i.e., that Obama is forever looking to expand the reach of government.
But the Obama team is betting that any further objections to this policy will unmask opponents primarily as hidebound foes of birth control at any costs, a politically difficult position to sustain, rather than as defenders of religious liberty. Indeed, this looks like an effort to reframe the debate to Obama’s advantage: If Team Obama has its way, the argument will now be about whether all women should have access to contraception, and not about whether these institutions should have their religious freedom impinged upon.
Showing the Catholic bishops to be unreasonable and unbending shouldn’t be too tough a sell – remember, we’re talking about people who just this week said the church didn’t “do anything wrong” when it let known pedophiles continue to work around, and rape, small children for decades.
And while it’s understandable that the President can’t tell the Catholic bishops to get their own child rape house in order before they come to his house and lecture him about morality, the rest of us most certainly can.
I’m not an atheist. I’m an orthodox Christian. And our differences with the Catholic church are arcane at best (they pray to the Virgin, we pray to God – big diff). But I’ll be damned if I’m going to have some pedophile-enabling Catholic bishop try to lecture me about sin, and more generally, fulfill the Kennedy nightmare of a bunch of men in black robes and white collars dictating how the rest of us, who are not Catholic, live.
With all due respect, and not much is due, I’m not a Catholic, and even the Catholics themselves don’t support their own bishops when it comes to birth control. Who are these guys kidding?
Every time the old men in the Catholic church try to lecture the rest of us about morality, someone needs to print out a couple of large signs reading “PEDOPHILE” and stake out the meeting (funny how the bishops don’t care about pedophile priests engaging in sexual acts that don’t further procreation – they only care when you do it, with adults). If the bishops knew that every time they spoke out we’d be reminding the public of their ongoing sin, and their moral illegitimacy, they might finally think twice about telling the rest of us how to live our lives. And at the very least, the public would be reminded of why no one should be paying the bishops any heed.
Or even better, just hold up a copy of yesterday’s paper.
Clean up your own bedroom first, then we can talk about you cleaning up mine.