And our religious liberty, in the process. If you think liberals value our foundational freedoms, think again.
EJ Dionne, whose work I try to read as little as possible, has written a column in which he advises the US bishops to capitulate to the Obama administration's mandate or risk appearing as “the Tea Party at prayer.” George Weigel responds to Dionne's spin with clarity and substance and therein produces an excellent summary of the HHS mandate controversy, so far:
The government tries to impose an outrageously coercive mandate on the Catholic Church, one that demands that the Church do what its settled moral convictions tell it that it cannot do; the Church’s leaders firmly and politely state that this is wrong as a matter of constitutional first principles. The government then proposes an “accommodation” of the bishops’ concerns that is an insult to the bishops’ intelligence, being nothing less than a cynical shell game; the bishops promise to study the “accommodation,” and then politely and firmly state that it is unacceptable. The bishops seek a legislative remedy, in the form of the Blunt Amendment in the Senate, and are met by the serial calumnies of the administration’s Senate myrmidons; the administration’s allies in the press, in the chattering classes, and in the activist world commit slander against the Church while lying about the nature of the mandate, its scope, and its implications. The White House press secretary is sent out to opine that the U.S. bishops have never been interested in health-care reform, which in fact they’ve been interested in since 1919, four and a half decades before the press secretary was born.What Dionne and his ilk are trying to do, and why, via Weigel:
Who is being “strident” here? Who is coercing whom? Who has declared a culture war on whom?
The shrewder defenders of the administration know this [that the HHS mandate doesn't stand a chance in court]. That is why they and their allies in the Catholic Lite Brigade, including the Lite Brigade’s journalistic regiment, are trying to roll the bishops now, before the courts get to work. Having failed even to engage the substantive arguments, they are now resorting to intimidation tactics — “You’ll seem partisan! You’ll look like the Tea Party!” — in order to soften up the ground for another “accommodation.”Read the whole thing. Then read Kathryn Jean Lopez's related piece, in which she urges Catholics not to mistake being nice for being Christian:
Can I just address my fellow Catholics right now? I understand we want to be Christian. But being Christians does not mean being getting slapped around in the political arena as all Americans’ rights are eroded. Simply getting along is not loving. Remember Zeal for your house will consume me? I seem to remember something relevant just yesterday …K-Lo addresses that "violently anti-woman" slur here.
Further, the insinuation that faithful Catholics are somehow being unreasonable here is a contemptuous campaign strategy. You may remember that this president has been honored at Notre Dame, Our Lady’s university under a banner of dialogue. Archbishop Dolan has been more than reasonable with him. And this administration has returned it with insult.
This president of the United States accused the U.S. Catholic bishops of bearing false witness when they wanted the unborn and the elderly protected in the president’s health-care legislation. Now, he lectures mandate critics about civility, bishops about theology, as his own allies call them “violently anti-woman.” The strategy is an audacity to hope the ugliness makes the substantive controversy — one of existential proportions when it comes down to what this nation has been about, a beacon of religious liberty — go away, as people find all the rhetoric distasteful, the actual sober facts getting lost in the heated frenzy. Don’t let them.
Don’t buy bogus compromise talk. There has been no compromise for anyone to agree to.
Thanks to Michelle Malkin for the Buzzworthy link.
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