Sunday, November 08, 2009

Where are the liberal Catholics?

Reading about the dramatic events connected with the passing of the House health care bill, I was struck by the role played by the religious right and its allies in the powerful right wing of the Catholic Church. Suzy Khimm, writing at The Plank noted the recent collaboration between the tea party nutjobs and the religious right. Amy Sullivan, writing in Time, reminded us of the hatefulness of Catholic pro-lifers and their campaign to deny a Catholic funeral for Ted Kennedy.

Today I read in the NY Times about the backroom drama on the Hill: a group of Congressmen aligned with the Catholic Conference of Bishops forced an amendment restricting abortion rights as part of a deal that allowed the bill to pass.

Here, an excerpt from the NY Times article:
The representatives of the nation’s bishops made clear they would fight the bill if there were not restrictions on abortion. In an extraordinary effort over the last 10 days, the bishops conference told priests across the country to talk about the legislation in church, mobilizing parishioners to contact Congress and to pray for the success of anti-abortion amendments.

The bishops sent out information to be “announced at all Masses” and included in parish bulletins, and urged priests and parishioners to tell House members: “Please support the Stupak Amendment that addresses essential pro-life concerns.” They added: “If these serious concerns are not addressed, the final bill should be opposed.”
So, 52 million uninsured Americans were held hostage to the pro-life agenda. Tens of thousands of Americans die each year, and many more suffer in poor health and are bankrupted under our unjust healthcare system, but to the Church these people are just pawns in a larger battle to restrict the exercise of rights which the Supreme Court has found to be Constitutionally-protected.

This is the same extremist bunch who endorsed Bush over Kerry in 2004 and thereby supported the war in Iraq, the death penalty, and torture -- all of these evils mattered not when compared with Kerry's acceptance of Roe v. Wade. Moderate and liberal Catholics continue to support this reactionary agenda, by putting dollars in the collection plate and by pledging donations to the fundraising efforts of their bishops.

It is time for Catholics to consider what it is that they are supporting.

posted at 9:33:00 AM by Neil

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