Bishops running wild

The Iona Institute tells us that the US  Conference of Catholic Bishops has set up a Committee for Religious Liberty. That’s very funny, in a sick kind of way. Here’s why: Catholic bishops don’t really give two shits about religious liberty as such; they care only about religious liberty for them.

The Catholic church is not a Millian kind of organization. It’s not a liberal organization. It’s not dedicated to or interested in liberty. It’s a ferociously authoritarian hierarchical organization with a body of “teachings” that it does its best to impose on as many people as it can reach.

The Catholic church has nothing to do with ideas about liberty and freedom, autonomy and independence, self-fashioning and self-reliance. It is not a friend to human concerns seen in human terms. It is devoted to a cult of a supernatural god and the supposed rules it issued to us 2000 years ago. The only reason the Catholic church has to mention “religious liberty” is because it has gotten itself into trouble with the law in many countries, and it’s anxious to preserve its privilege of ignoring laws and law enforcement. It wants to wrap itself in the flag of “religious liberty” so that all state actors will continue to let it do whatever it wants to.

The Iona Institute doesn’t report it that way, of course.

The news comes in the wake of moves by the Obama Administration to require insurance companies to fund contraceptive services, including sterilisation procedures and abortifacient drugs regardless of religious affiliation.

The only exemption permitted to religious organisations is if they serve only individuals of their own faith. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo criticised the exemption as being so narrow ‘that the Good Samaritan would not qualify’ because he helped someone not of his faith.

See? There it is. They want “their” hospitals and medical workers to be able to deny legal services and drugs to everyone on the grounds of their “religious affiliation.” That’s their idea of liberty: the liberty to cite invented gods to justify mindless opposition to contraception and abortion, and the refusal to provide them even when that’s part of their job.

And then there’s the outrageous violation of the bishops’ “religious liberty” represented by the Justice Department’s attitude to the “Defense of Marriage Act.”

The Justice Department’s attack on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), presenting DOMA’s support for traditional marriage as bigotry. In July, the Department started filing briefs actively attacking DOMA’s constitutionality, claiming that supporters of the law could only have been motivated by bias and prejudice. “If the label of “bigot” sticks to us-especially in court-because of our teaching on marriage, we’ll have church-state conflicts for years to come as a result,” Archbishop Dolan said.

Wrong verb there. Archbishop Dolan threatened.

Liberty. They shouldn’t be allowed to utter the word.


  1. Midnight Rambler says

    The only exemption permitted to religious organisations is if they serve only individuals of their own faith.

    Wouldn’t a Catholic-only hospital also be illegal, though?

  2. sithrazer says

    It would probably have to qualify as a private, non-profit organization, and forgo any public subsidy. I don’t know of any, but there might be some laws or regulations against calling it a hospital. At which point they’d just call it a Catholic-only clinic and be on their merry way.

  3. Aliasalpha says

    Ugh, my brain hurts from that much selfish stupid…

    Although this is a really important issue, I can’t shake the mental image I got upon reading the title, “Bishops doing girls gone wild”, frankly I think this option might have been less unpleasant

  4. says

    That “Good Samaritan” bit is particularly galling, since it shows they’ll even lie about their own holy book to make an argument.

    The whole point of the “Good Samaritan” story is giving an example of someone who reaches across boundaries to help another person in need. But what the Cardinal wants here is the right to lure people who don’t share hisdogmas in, only to deny them the help they want or need, but could’ve gotten from someone else. What he really wants is the ability to be the Levite, or the priest in the parable: to give off the appearance of being kind and helpful, but to pull the rug out from under someone in need at a crucial juncture.

    Except that he’s even worse, because at least the Levite and priest didn’t walk up to the suffering man, offer their hand, go “Syke!” and pull it away.

  5. 386sx says

    The Iona Institute tells us that the US Conference of Catholic Bishops has set up a Committee for Religious Liberty.

    I would rather call it the Committee for Religious Persecution except that “religious persecution” tends to connote that someone religious is being persecuted. (Due to certain religions having hoarded all of the martyr-like connotations all unto themselves.)

  6. Egbert says

    Exactly! It works in its interest, not in the interest of others. It’s only interested in retaining its control and authority. Catholicism is anti-liberal and authoritarian, and makes a pathetic effort to hide that fact.

  7. ckitching says

    It seems to me that the people who spend the most time talking about freedom and liberty spend the most energy undermining those very things. How many times did liberty get mentioned when promoting things like the PATRIOT act? How many times did someone say they were protecting freedom by preventing access to those in Guantanamo Bay to the due process of law?

    These days when someone uses those words frequently, I get suspicious. They don’t seem to mean much anymore to a lot of people except for “Rah! Rah!” patriotism.

  8. davidct says

    This sort of religious freedom has a long tradition in America. After all it was the Pilgrims who as soon as they were a majority, used their new found freedom to impose their brand of superstitious nonsense on everybody else.

  9. says

    Funny that it was just two posts ago that you quoted Brendan O’Neill: “In the past, it was the Catholic Church, especially during the Inquisition, which demonised its enemies as depraved perverts.”

    In the past. Sure.

  10. fastlane says

    They keep using that word. I don’t think it means what they think it means. [/Inigo Montoya]

    George Orwell would be so proud.

  11. Rieux says

    The Catholic church is not a Millian kind of organization.

    I somehow missed the “not” in that sentence on a first read, and I was prepared to post an indignant comment standing up for John Stuart Mill.

    But, uh, never mind.


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