Think of the implications of this argument

Ron Lindsay raises an important point about judges and the Catholic church.

According to the Church, it violates the moral obligations of a Catholic to do anything—anything—that would facilitate the provision of contraception to an individual. (See this summary of recent court decisions for an overview of this argument.) According to the Church, this includes the simple act of filling out a form certifying that the employer has an objection to contraception. This act by itself would make the employer complicit in evil. It’s for this reason that some religiously affiliated nonprofits are suing over the mandate—even though as result of the government’s accommodation they will not have to pay a penny or spend one minute to arrange for contraceptive care for their employees.

Golly – even that is complicity in evil. So…that’s kind of worrying in light of the fact that six of the nine justices on the Supreme Court are Catholic.

Think of the implications of this argument.  If simply filling out a form objecting to contraception makes one an accomplice to evil, what about rendering a judicial decision upholding the contraceptive mandate? This would appear to be a much more affirmative and consequential act than the completion of a form. But if that is the case, how can a judge who is a good Catholic by Church standards possibly render a decision upholding the mandate?

In the past, Catholics in the U.S. have suffered from prejudice and bigotry. One of the traditional knocks against Catholics had been they did not and could not support the separation of church and state. John Kennedy, along with many other progressive Catholic politicians, did much to lay those fears to rest. They showed that support for a secular state is not incompatible with being a good Catholic.

Unfortunately, the Catholic Church may now be resurrecting concerns about the compatibility between being a Catholic and being a good citizen, or at least between being a good Catholic and an impartial judge. In arguing for an extremely expansive understanding of a Catholic’s moral obligation, the Church is effectively undermining confidence in Catholic judges.

It is, isn’t it. Not to mention hospital administrators, pharmacists, obstetricians and gynecologists…all because the church insists that it’s evil for people to use birth control. A stark illustration of the evil of substituting the imagined rules of an imagined god for the needs of actual humans.