Feb 08 2012

A Case Of Catholic Privilege

With all of the bluster a bishop could wish up
The Catholic clergy are making some noise
We hear them defending their privilege with snivelage,
With moaning, and tears, and complete lack of poise
Their habit of unfettered spending was ending
(“Our money, our rules”, as the White House explained)
When strings are attached to a dollar, they holler—
They’d much rather work with their funds unconstrained

Though priests wish to ban birth-controlling, the polling
Says people in pews are a whole different sort;
The people are more contraceptive-receptive—
Most Catholics use them, by latest report;
The bishops’ control has been shrinking, I’m thinking,
They’re aching for relevance now, you’re aware;
But sadly, their days in the clover are over…
I’m trying real hard, but I’m failing to care.

Bit of a rant, after the jump:

It’s all over the news, in one spin or another. The bishops are crying “religious persecution”, and at least some people are buying it, or appearing to. Like Cranston, and Big Mountain, and the Camp Pendleton Cross, the forces of secularism are attacking those pure-hearted religious people again and again. Except that it’s not an attack at all. It is nothing more, nor nothing less, than the very sight reeling in of privilege–the beginnings of treating religious groups like any other groups, when they are acting in the guise of those groups.

They have special privileges when acting as churches. Ok, so long as any other belief category is given equal privileges when acting in equal capacity. But if they are acting as schools, hospitals, adoption agencies? If they want government money, they should be expected to follow government rules. Government money is all of ours, not just theirs.

This does not impinge on their rights to do what they will with their own money. If they want to claim that some of the government money is theirs, they might want to give up their tax-exempt status first. And as long as the data show that rank-and-file Catholics are overwhelmingly using birth control, the bishops cannot claim to speak with the voice of their flock. They are wanting it both ways–exempt from paying taxes, but free to apply their religious restrictions when spending ours. This is not fairness; this is privilege. It is wrong.

More here, and here.


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  1. 1

    I wonder if they are getting worried about a growing murmur that maybe they should be paying taxes–at least property taxes. With the growing number of Nones there is a chance that people will start to notice how much tax money disappears down that particular rat hole with the result that we all pay more property taxes to make up for it. so they are screaming for every bit of privilege they can hang on to make sure people will leave the tax thing alone.

    They should be worried.

  2. 2
    Craig Pennington

    It’s not even that much of a reeling in of privilege — that horse has left the barn. See the 2004 California Supreme Court decision in CATHOLIC CHARITIES v. The SUPERIOR COURT


    Perfectly Constitutional to set a standard for health insurance. The US Supreme Court turned down the appeal.

    I’d say rather than a government reeling in of privilege, the Bishops are looking to re-extend their privilege.

  3. 3

    The catholic church violates the terms of its tax exempt status on a daily basis. Evangelical churches are worse. Why don’t they loose their tax exempt status (I mean other than the completely illegal historical privilege they enjoy)?

  4. 4

    The Catholic Church does not have freedom of religion. American Catholics do, as individuals.

    And most of them exercise that freedom of religion by ignoring what the church says about artificial birth control.

    The bishops want to take that freedom away.

  5. 5

    Every time I happen by a catholic church, I imagine a big, flashing sign over the church that reads “Pederasts R Us”. Over vatican city the sign reads “World’s Largest Closet For Gays and Lesbians in Denial”.

  6. 6
    Gvlgeologist, FCD


    I “devoutly” hope you are not implying that gays and lesbians are pederophiles. This is a typical claim of the right, and it is not borne out by the data. Most pedophiles are heterosexual. It’s about power, not sex.

  7. 7

    The Government has no business enforcing church law. 98% of Catholics use contraceptives against the church’s teaching so if the church can force people to pay for it out of pocket then more people will be in line with the church rules because they can’t afford the insurance or the contraceptive­s.

    Notice that the church is not complaining that they have to pay for insurance their members will never use. It’s because they don’t allow their members to use it. Again, The Government has no business enforcing church law.

  1. 8
    Missing From The Picture » The Digital Cuttlefish

    […] requirement that public businesses not be allowed to discriminate! What the rest of us recognize as the reeling in of privilege, this article saw as an attack on the God-given rights of the church. It’s a real war… […]

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