It has always been a bit curious to me that government officials, as well as high-placed, influential members of the media elite, cannot ignore the temptation to criticize or demean people of faith. I have seen this manifested for as many years as I have been involved in defending intrinsic human rights—more than 40 years to be exact. But recently the bias has intensified.
We can tie this recent plague of antagonism to a couple of events.
Take for example the Komen for the Cure incidents over the past few days. The organization decided to discontinue all funding to Planned Parenthood because, we were told, the Komen foundation has a policy that forbids providing grant money to entities under investigation by either federal or state officials. Planned Parenthood falls into that category. This created a flurry of anger from Planned Parenthood, its supporters, and people who felt that women would not have access to needed services. Today, Komen released a statement saying that it will not discontinue its funding of Planned Parenthood after all. The statement in part said the organization wants “to apologize to the American public for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women’s lives.” Yet, if Komen truly had concern for the lives of women, it would realize the harm Planned Parenthood does, not only to women, but to babies, on a daily basis. Furthermore, Komen continues to deny the link between breast cancer—something the organization tries so hard to prevent—and abortion or contraceptive use.
And what of Komen’s statement about not funding organizations that are under investigation? According to the statement, “Our original desire was to fulfill our fiduciary duty to our donors by not funding grant applications made by organizations under investigation. We will amend the criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political. That is what is right and fair.” The real question is, who is this right and fair to? Women and babies, or pocketbooks and political posturing?
It is asserted that religious folks put pressure on Komen to withdraw its funding from Planned Parenthood. It is argued that those of us who believe in the sanctity of every human being’s life are somehow doing all we can to deny women their “right” to appropriate healthcare. This contention is nothing short of inane. And it exemplifies how the enemies of truth go about their business. Everything that contradicts their agenda is tied to faith-based activities! They detest God and those who place God first in their lives.
Witness as proof positive the recent statement of Pope Benedict XVI in addressing the American bishops. As he stated most eloquently, “When a culture attempts to suppress the dimension of ultimate mystery, and to close the doors to transcendent truth, it inevitably becomes impoverished and falls prey, as the late Pope John Paul II so clearly saw, to reductionist and totalitarian readings of the human person and the nature of society.”
Is this not precisely what is at the bottom of the latest Obama aggression perpetrated against religious healthcare institutions? While Planned Parenthood’s toxic voice is applauding the intrusion into faith and ethics by the president and his henchmen, Catholic bishops and others are horrified by the ramifications that will result from the government dictating to Catholics and other Christians what is and is not proper employee insurance coverage policy.
The recent Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) dictate that all institutions—including religiously affiliated entities—provide contraception in employee healthcare plans smacks of a regime dedicated to eradicating natural law ethics from modern life regardless of, or perhaps because of, the destructive impact such demands will have on the faithful.
Fortunately it would seem that the Catholic bishops, perhaps inspired by the Holy Father, do not intend to accept this egregious invasion of their religious liberty. Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan remarked, “Never before has the federal government forced individuals and organizations to go out into the marketplace and buy a product that violates their conscience. This shouldn’t happen in a land where free exercise of religion ranks first in the Bill of Rights.”
The challenge confronting the Catholic Church at this moment in time is clear. Either a united USCCB deals definitively with aberrant Catholic politicians like Nancy Pelosi, puts commitment to Catholic moral teaching ahead of tax status, and acts in defense of Catholic teaching, or it falls prey to the tactics of the man it helped elect four years ago.
The coming days should be interesting. We will hope and pray that this time around the bishops unite, proclaiming by their actions that faithfulness to God trumps evil every time.
COMING NEXT WEEK: Courageously Catholic in the Public Square