Thursday, February 09, 2012

Bootlickers and Backbones

The MCJ posts a good summary of how “religious” of a more lefty bent are responding to the Obama regime’s attack on freedom of religion via Obamacare rules. First, there are the usual bootlickers:

"We stand with President Obama and Secretary Sebelius in their decision to reaffirm the importance of contraceptive services as essential preventive care for women under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and to assure access under the law to American women, regardless of religious affiliation. We respect individuals' moral agency to make decisions about their sexuality and reproductive health without governmental interference or legal restrictions. We do not believe that specific religious doctrine belongs in health care reform -- as we value our nation's commitment to church-state separation. We believe that women and men have the right to decide whether or not to apply the principles of their faith to family planning decisions, and to do so they must have access to services. The Administration was correct in requiring institutions that do not have purely sectarian goals to offer comprehensive preventive health care. Our leaders have the responsibility to safeguard individual religious liberty and to help improve the health of women, their children and families. Hospitals and universities across the religious spectrum have an obligation to assure that individuals' conscience and decisions are respected and that their students and employees have access to this basic health care service. We invite other religious leaders to speak out with us for universal coverage of contraception."

The signees follow. They are rather predictable, but note them well. Sooner or later, history will place them with those clerics who collaborated with the French Revolution and with the Nazis in attacking life and freedom. When I call them bootlickers, I mean it.

Catholics for Choice, Jon O'Brien, President
Central Conference of American Rabbis, Rabbi Jonathan Stein, President
Concerned Clergy for Choice, Rabbi Dennis Ross, Director
Disciples Justice Action Network, Rev. Dr. Ken Brooker Langston, Director
Episcopal Divinity School, The Very Reverend Dr. Katherine Hancock Ragsdale, President
Episcopal Women's Caucus, Rev. Dr Elizabeth Kaeton, Convener
Hadassah, Marcie Natan, National President
Jewish Reconstructionist Federation, Robert Barkin, Interim Executive Vice President
Jewish Women International, Lori Weinstein, Executive Director
Methodist Federation for Social Action, Jill Warren, Executive Director
Muslims for Progressive Values, Ani Zonneveld, President
National Council of Jewish Women, Nancy Kaufman, CEO
Planned Parenthood Clergy Advisory Board, Rev. Jane Emma Newall, Chair
Rabbinical Assembly, Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, Executive Vice President
Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Rev. Steve Clapp, Chair
Religious Institute, Rev. Dr. Debra W. Haffner, Executive Director
Society for Humanistic Judaism, M. Bonnie Cousens, Executive Director
The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, Rabbi Steven Wernick, CEO
Union Theological Seminary, Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, President
Unitarian Universalist Association, Rev. Peter Morales, President
United Church of Christ, Rev. Geoffrey Black, General Minister and President
Women's League for Conservative Judaism, Rita L. Wertlieb, President; Sarrae G. Crane, Executive Director

However, there are those who once supported Obama but to their credit now see there should be no further collaboration with this regime as it attacks freedom of religion. 2008 Obama voter and Catholic Michael Winters rightly warns against compromise now that the Obama Administration is making noises about such.

The most troubling part of Axelrod’s comment was the idea that finding a compromise will take time. I read that to mean, let’s paper this thing over until after the election. Does he take us for fools? If there is a second Obama term, something that I suspect seems more in doubt because of this decision, which is why Axelrod is saying anything at all, what leverage will Catholic leaders have after the election? Clearly, we cannot count on this president to do the right thing, nor even to do the thing he promised to do.

Exactly. If Obama would do this before the accountability of an election, what the heck would he do afterward? Any pre-election soothing noises should be taken as just that and only that – and ignored. This regime is not to be trusted with freedom of religion or just about any Constitutional freedom for that matter. Obama has proven that well.

Winters also notes that the courts are likely to give churches a complete exemption from the birth control mandates. So why compromise? And he may be right although I would not depend on it.

Nevertheless, Winters, again a past Obama voter, is in a fighting mood.

Yes, I want a solution to this mess. But, I also want a victory by which I mean I want a really robust conscience exemption. I want any change by the White House not only to work in terms of resolving this issue but to send a clear and unambiguous statement that in this great diverse, pluralistic country of ours, there is room for us Catholics to be Catholic, with all of our quirks, and that the government recognizes that they have no business telling religious organizations what their mission is or how to manage it. I do not want the White House to cry “uncle” for the sake of crying uncle. But, when somebody punches me in the nose, and when someone punches my friends Sr. Carol Keehan and Father John Jenkins and countless others in the nose, I am not going to rush to make nice with them either. There needs to be an apology. And the President needs to go to the pro-choice caucus and explain that their stance imperils the entire Affordable Care Act, both politically and legally, and without that, they would not be discussing extending contraception to anyone.

Make no mistake about it - those who support denying Catholic institutions a more robust exemption have placed their commitment to pro-choice orthodoxy above their commitment to health care reform. Is that progressive? Is that something progressive Catholics, who fought so hard to pass the ACA, want to defend? It is time for so-called progressive Catholics to stop serving as chaplains to the political status quo and recognize a first principle when they see one. It is time for Catholics to insist that a conscience exemption that only applies to religion on Sunday and no help for the poor unless they are also Catholic is no conscience exemption at all. And, if the White House doesn't see it that way, let them pay the political price for it.

That’s backbone. And I can respect that every bit as much as I hold the bootlickers in contempt.

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