Dumbest column ever?

I generally make a point of not blogging too much about stupid Op-Ed columns.  If I did I wouldn’t have time to write about anything else.  That said, I’m still annoyed by Kathleen Parker’s column from yesterday, so here goes.  Basically, Parker makes just a ridiculous defense of Komen:

The more compelling questions concern a person’s or an institution’s freedom of conscience and the right to act upon one’s moral beliefs without fear of intimidation and/or government coercion.

Both cases — one involving the Catholic Church and the other, Susan G. Komen for the Cure — deal with the ongoing conflict between the pro-life and pro-choice camps. And both are exposing the dangerous extent to which some pro-choice advocates, including the president of the United States, are willing to tread on fundamental freedoms in order to impose and secure ideological purity…

Whatever one believes about the motivation behind its decision, the larger point is that Komen has no binding responsibility to allocate any part of its $93 million in grants to any organization. Komen is a nonprofit, free agent, and the good it has performed for millions of underserved women around the world is staggering.

Nevertheless, given the rabid response from abortion-rights supporters, you’d think that Brinker and her organization were running puppy mills for soup vendors. Even if their real reason for ending funding is because they no longer want to be associated with an organization as politically controversial as Planned Parenthood — or even if because some of their potential donors want the relationship severed — it is inarguably their right to change course.

Don’t like it? Don’t run in Komen’s fundraising races. Don’t buy a pink blender. Give directly to Planned Parenthood. In fact, both organizations have enjoyed a surge in donations since news of the break erupted. Note to fundraisers: Create an enemy, enjoy a bonanza.

I’ve read a lot about this issue and I don’t recall a single person– not even a random facebook commenter– suggesting that Komen didn’t have the right to do this.  Yet, that’s essentially what Parker is saying has happened.  In fact, the vast majority of responses I saw were exactly what Parker said they should be.  Parker has not created a straw man, but a straw abominable snow man.

She may not be quite as extreme on the whole Catholic hospitals being required to offer birth control to employees on their health plan issue, but she has a similar penchant for over statement.  My favorite:

Essentially, the new law forces them either to forfeit their most fundamental beliefs [emphasis mine] or to face prohibitive penalties

Wow.  I’m sure there’s a lot of Catholics who would be surprised to learn that the prohibition against birth control is among the Church’s most fundamental beliefs.  And, of course, if this is among the Catholic Church’s most fundamental beliefs, I’d certainly argue their priorities are in the wrong place (didn’t Jesus say a thing or two about helping the less fortunate).

Anyway.  Horrible column.  Felt good to get that out of my system.

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

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