Remember the Monty Python court room bit?
Behold Michael Sean Winters yesterday in the National Catholic Reporter, doing a very similar bit.
President Barack Obama lost my vote yesterday when he declined to expand the exceedingly narrow conscience exemptions proposed by the Department of Health and Human Services. The issue of conscience protections is so foundational, I do not see how I ever could, in good conscience, vote for this man again.
I do not come at this issue as a Catholic special pleader, who wants only to protect my own, although it was a little bracing to realize that the president’s decision yesterday essentially told us, as Catholics, that there is no room in this great country of ours for the institutions our Church has built over the years to be Catholic in ways that are important to us. Nor, frankly, do I come at the issue as an anti-contraception zealot: I understand that many people, and good Catholics too, reach different conclusions on the matter although I must say that Humanae Vitae in its entirety reads better, and more presciently, every year.
No, I come at this issue as a liberal and a Democrat and as someone who, until yesterday, generally supported the President, as someone who saw in his vision of America a greater concern for each other, a less mean-spirited culture, someone who could, and did, remind the nation that we are our brothers’ keeper, that liberalism has a long vocation in this country of promoting freedom and protecting the interests of the average person against the combined power of the rich, and that we should learn how to disagree without being disagreeable. I defended the University of Notre Dame for honoring this man, and my heart was warmed when President Obama said at Notre Dame: “we must find a way to reconcile our ever-shrinking world with its ever-growing diversity — diversity of thought, diversity of culture, and diversity of belief. In short, we must find a way to live together as one human family.”
To borrow from Emile Zola: J’Accuse!
And so on, for 13 more throbbing paragraphs, all to upbraid Obama because, to quote the NCR’s own reportage,
Although Catholic leaders vowed to fight on, the Obama administration has turned down repeated requests from Catholic bishops, hospitals, schools and charitable organizations to revise its religious exemption to the requirement that all health plans cover contraceptives and sterilization free of charge.
It’s quite extraordinary that Winters thinks (or pretends to think) that requiring all health plans to cover contraceptives and sterilization is somehow the opposite of a greater concern for each other and of protecting the interests of the average person against the combined power of the rich. It’s quite extraordinary that he thinks it’s liberal to want to make it harder for women to use contraception. It’s quite extraordinary that he thinks it can possibly be liberal to attempt to force people to have children when they don’t want to. It’s extraordinary that he thinks the church should interfere with and mess up people’s lives in that way.
Zola, of course, wrote his famous essay in response to the Dreyfuss affair. Then, the source of injustice was anti-Semitic bigotry. Today, while I cannot believe that the President himself is an anti-Catholic bigot, he has caved to those who are. In politics, as in life, we are often known by the company we keep. Hmmmm. Sr. Carol Keehan, a woman who has dedicated her life and her ministry to help the ill and the aged or the fundraisers and the lobbyists at NARAL? Is that really a tough call?
What a disgusting bit of rhetorical bullying. Because Obama hasn’t caved to Catholic demands over insurance coverage for contraception, therefore Obama is doing something mysteriously bad to Carol Keehan?
Theocracy at work.
H/t Dan Fincke.