Friday, February 10, 2012
The war against religion
With the current brou-ha-ha over the Obama administration's now-compromised dictum that Catholic-owned institutions that serve the general public (as opposed to churches, monasteries etc.), for example, I've noticed that once more religious people frequently seem to assume that what they'd call "non-religious' "secular" or "unchurched" people don't actually have moral views that should be respected.
It's like the way the ancient Greeks came up with the root for the word "barbarian": they assumed that those who didn't speak Greek didn't speak--they just uttered nonsense noises, which the ancient Greeks portrayed as "bar-bar-bar." That's how they came up with "barbarian."
Fast forward to the conservative commentator who said that Republican Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor had no morals because she believed in pragmatic compromise. To him, pragmatism wasn't a moral system he disagreed with--it wasn't a moral system at all.
So the ones fulminating over ordering institutions that serve the public to follow certain rules-for-all don't acknowledge that the side wanting contraception provisions included are taking a moral position they disagree with.
This is philosophical jingoism. You can't even debate the issue if the other side won't admit that you're on a moral side.
And of course we can argue that their position is extremely immoral, given the world overpopulation crisis. But overpopulation hasn't been mentioned by either side in the public debate over this issue. Yet it's the Blue Whale in the swimming pool.
Not to mention all the states in which Catholic schools and hospitals are required to do this by state law. Haven't heard any uproar about that before now.
Tax-exempt institutions are entitled, by law, to campaign on behalf of issues, but not candidates. However, if you pay attention to conservative media, you'll see Catholic church authorities campaigning to overthrow President Obama. This church has also ordered its adherents to disobey American laws that conflict with Church orders (in the context of the Catholic Church actively promoting illegal immigration from Catholic countries to America, along with granting full citizenship to such people).
In countries where the Catholic Church is in a majority and its adherents are fervent--as in Latin America--you see this church aggressively involved in politics. I see nothing wrong in doing that. Just in its being exempt from taxation when it does so.
But at this point, with a quarter of the country Catholic and a majority on the Supreme Court Catholic, and our Catholic population expanding rapidly, it's already too late. Our only hope is that native American Catholics aren't anywhere near as fervent as their Bishops and their Mexican immigrant congregations. Perhaps as the Mexicans become acculturated over the next several hundred years they'll mellow out.