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.