Today I was poised (poised I tell you) to write a scathing article about reporters and editorialists who never took (or have completely forgotten or ignore) a theology class, a philosophy class, or an ethics class that dealt with the Catholic faith (which is a significant part of the population – more than half of all Christians are Catholic after all so this is no small matter) and then imagine they can think over an issue in the shower and come up with a sensible solution with which the Catholic Church, if it were in its right mind, should agree. The problem being is that their level of competence is rarely up to the task. This is not to say that they may not be extremely knowledgeable people in other fields, but sometimes I despair that it is obvious that a reporter has failed to even ask what an orthodox, faithful, and knowledgeable Catholic might have to say on a topic.
But then, Kevin O’Brien wrote an editorial in today’s Plain Dealer, E3 (January 8, 2014) concerning the health care mandate and the Little Sisters of the Poor entitled “Even the Little Sisters of the Poor are subject to Big Brother’s bullying.” (On a side note, I am not sure why capitalization for titles is no longer in use in newspapers, but perhaps the rules have changed.) I will grant that the article is a tinsy wincy bit acidic, but of course I like it because I agree with him. But he nailed the issues that so many other news sources have not grasped, cared about, or have ignored for other motivations. Read the article here.
It’s sad to see how much money the government is wasting defending desire to provide every man, woman, and child with contraceptives, abortifacients, and sterilizations. It is interesting to note that many of these very things have been offered for free from clinics for decades and others at very minimal cost. Considering the vast amount of extremely expensive exemptions that have already been granted (government, you don’t have to participate – unions, you don’t have to participate) why is there such an effort to have the Catholic Church submit to this comparatively inexpensive item? We are not opting out like the government itself is doing or unions, we just want this one exception. (Not that I am recommending it, but it would be interesting to see how many decades the government could have supplied these services for free through clinics with the money they would have saved by just granting the exemption instead of having these expensive court battles that seem will continue well into the future.)
Of course, maybe it isn’t really about contraception or (an already very un-) level playing field. Could it be that Catholics are not as worthy citizens as those who work for unions or in the government? Is there another agenda at work here? (Okay, maybe I am becoming jaded.) But this seemingly little crack in religious freedom could be a hole in the damn. Unless the Little Sisters stick their thumb in the hole, what will happen when another issue comes up effecting another matter or another faith and we look at precedent and decide, “Well, it was constitutional, for government interests, to force the Catholic Church to act against its core beliefs, therefore we may turn on you next.”
In this light, this is no small matter.