The Bishops and me

As if all the harboring of sexual predators wasn't enough, now the Catholic Church has made it their official policy to deny health insurance (and thus decent health care!) to millions of Americans.  They might want to re-read the part of the catechism about social justice.  Tim Noah's article I just linked to in my last post, links to this latest release from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, stating their opposition to health care reform over the abortion issue.  The Bishops are not stupid (oddly morally stunted, but not stupid) and they know that the choice now is not the House Bill with the abortion language the like, or the Senate bill, with the abortion language good enough for the pro-life Democratic Senators, but not the USCCB.  The choice is the Senate Bill or nothing.  The choice is expanding access to health care for millions of Americans and, worst case, depending on how you like to do your accounting, federal dollars indirectly subsidizing abortions (which, as I've discussed, they of course already do) or no health care reform..  No insurance for millions of Americans who could desperately benefit (I'll leave aside the other good policy benefits and focus on the moral aspect, which the Bishops should presumably care about).  How they can make that choice is beyond me.  Again, I'd suggest they re-read the Church teachings on Social Justice (which Glenn Beck is so afraid of), and might actually consider the words of Jesus, who sure seemed a lot more interested in helping the poor and suffering than stopping abortions.

Of course, one can argue that the bishops job is to focus on moral teachings (i.e., abortion) and not politics, but focusing on politics is exactly what they are doing here.  They are advocating for a specific political outcome– one that, if it comes to pass, will do far more harm than good to human life.  

I've decided that I'm not giving to the Bishop's Annual Appeal this year.  That's a shame, because most of the money does support the still vital Catholic mission of social justice.  But no way am I supporting an organization that is so willfully blind to the suffering they will cause in the name of the most narrow reading of morality.  I've decided my money will go to other organizations that support a Social Justice mission in North Carolina without also fighting to stop this important legislation.  I haven't figured out what those other organizations will be yet, though.  Feel free to leave any suggestions in comments.  Ideally I'd like to support the same kind of mission that the Catholic Church actually does, just without the negative political baggage.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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