After writing about the abomination that is Obama's mandate that every employer in America be forced to provide free contraception services I decided to see what others were saying. As convert to Catholicism with an evangelical conservative background I was especially interested to see what more left leaning Catholics were saying. I recommend the experience to all.
I spent some time engaging the discussion at a blog called Vox Nova. If you haven't visited it I recommend that you do. There are sentiments there that I find ignorant and offensive as well as sentiments that are insightful and commendable. If you visit do so with an open mind.
With regard to the HHS mandate there seemed to be two predominant strains of thought. One seemed to be expressed by people who, while not directly denying the Church's teaching on contraception, really have no use for it and are twisting themselves into pretzels in an attempt to minimize the offensiveness of the mandate. The other was from people that I developed a respect for. These were Catholics on the left who assent fully to the Church's teaching on contraception, indeed all the Church's teaching. Where this second group supported the bishops in speaking out against the mandate they invariably wouldn't discuss the issue in isolation. Invariably these people brought in other social issues such as nationalized health care and angry denunciations of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Interacting with these folks was an experience. My differing opinions were permitted but, usually, not engaged. Whenever I expressed an"unorthodox" opinion the response was almost always derogatory. I had blinders on and a commitment to conservatism over and above my commitment to the Catholic Church. When I raised a point which they could not address with consistency the discussion was terminated or shifted.
At one point, in response to my suggestion that the government get out of health care, a writer responded that the government got into health care, and created Medicare, because people "routinely died in the streets" because the couldn't afford treatment. I questioned the assertion and, in response, was sent a link to a Washington Post "Fact Check" column about Ron Paul's claim that things weren't so bad before Medicare. That column basically said that they couldn't refute Paul's claim but that things were more expensive now and so we needed Medicare. In other words, the writers "proof" was nothing of the sort.
He admitted as much, told me to do my own research, and then dropped the conversation.
This writer had an emotional commitment to a particular position and wasn't about to let facts change his thinking. My experience at this left leaning site was exactly the experience that the Left experiences when venturing into the territory if the Right.
Many on the Right have an emotional commitment to things like the death penalty and the military and aren't about to let facts change their thinking. Many on the Right dismiss the arguments of the Left with disparaging comments about commies and criminal lovers that do not address the argument. It is easier to put down someone who disagrees with you than it is to entertain the idea that you might be wrong.
In the Catholic Church the Left and the Right should shut up and listen to the Church. It is indisputable that the Church teaches that there almost no circumstances that justify the imposition of the death penalty in civilized nations. It is indisputable that both Iraq wars were not justified according to Church teaching on just war. These are not comfortable truths to those Catholics on the Right. Likewise, those on the Left who argue for expanded government services such as national health and welfare are misapplying Church teaching. The great encyclical Rerum Novarum provides the foundation for the Church's teaching on social justice. The Left misuses this and twists the call for providing for the poor into a support for government services. They miss the important point that " It is a duty, not of justice (save in extreme cases), but of Christian charity - a duty not enforced by human law."
All of who adopt the Catholic label need to recall what we say we believe. The Church is a divine institution guided by the Holy Spirit. Where we find ourselves in disagreement with what the Church teaches it is we, not the Church, which needs to conform. When we find ourselves in disagreement with fellow Catholics we need to consider that it is our brother speaking and accord them proper respect. They might be correct. We need to listen to the Church - not the politicians and interest groups of the left and the right.
If I have Catholics to the let of me, and Catholics to the right, I just might be standing with the Church.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Thursday, February 16, 2012
There is a false subtext infusing the debate around the federal government's mandating that contraceptive coverage be included in every insurance plan. The falsehood is that a choice must be made between respecting the rights of one group or another. The supporters of ObamaCare push this lie. In their minds if an employer exercises his right not to offer an insurance plan with contraceptive coverage then the employer is, in effect, denying the employee the right to choose contraceptive coverage. The elephant in the room, which the left pretends doesn't exist and the right acknowledges but won't talk about, is that the only reason rights are in conflict is because government has injected itself where it doesn't belong.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Obama's contraceptive mandate is an assault on all freedom. This mandate is applauded by cud-chewing ruminants who, like cattle in finishing pens happy to be fed, are oblivious to their fate. The government that can force contraceptives be to given to you, can also force you to take them or deny them to you.
Saturday, February 11, 2012
First Obama hit the Church in the nose with his mandate that schools and hospitals include contraception in the health care plans. Next he beat the Church with a bat with his "compromise" that would force the Church itself to directly provide contraceptive coverage. It is time to see this exemplar of mendacity for what he is and condemn him with uncompromising clarity.
Friday, February 10, 2012
Thursday, February 09, 2012
Writing in Defining Ideas, Peter Epstein, and anti-federalist, argues that the Second Amendment imposes no limits on the states. Epstein believes that the Supreme Court erred in both the Heller and MacDonald cases which restricted the ability of state and local governments to regulate firearms. Damon Root responded at the libertarian Reason.com, arguing that Epstein is incorrect in that “gives too little weight to the text and history of the 14th amendment.” Both men have missed the mark.
Tuesday, February 07, 2012
The Catholic bishops are threatening to refuse to bow down to Obama's decree that they give free contraceptives to employees of Catholic schools, hospitals, and charities. For this long overdue fidelity to principle, there will be hell to pay.
Friday, February 03, 2012
Wednesday, February 01, 2012
To prepare for oral arguments on the constitutionality of ObamaCare the justices should reread the constitution. A review of the opinions issued on cases involving the Commerce Clause could lead one to conclude that the justices have forgotten there is such a thing as a constitution and now believe they are guided only by the opinions of the court issued in the last 80 years. Either that or they all see themselves as Humpty Dumpty sitting on a wall and declaring "When I use a word, it means exactly what I mean it to mean, no more and no less."