Tuesday, February 07, 2012

The Catholic Vote

I've had MSNBC on this morning in the background and they keep coming back to the Obama Administration's decision to say that employees of religious affiliated are accorded the same health care protections as those in the secular workforce.  The assumption is that, somehow, people who might normally vote for a pro-choice Democrat, a prospect which some in the Catholic leadership say will put your immortal soul in peril, will now rally around a Republican all because some Catholic affiliated hospital won't be able to carve out exclusions in health care insurance policies so that the pill is not covered?

This is utterly and fantastically absurd.  Yes, there are some Catholics who might otherwise vote for Democrats but for social issues...but those are already either voting Republican or not voting at all.  It would take the exceptional person in the electorate to have this odd cognitive dissonance wherein they are fine voting for a candidate who supports a woman's right to an abortion, but oh God, if a catholic affiliated corporation, who competes within a secular workforce, isn't allowed to proactively tell insurance companies what their employees can do with their insurance...well, that is just going too far.

And, really, besides the Talkerazzi, who the hell is complaining about this?  That clown Bill Donohue and his organization The Catholic League?  The self-appointed slander policeman who goes after any perceived slight against Catholicism, no matter how convoluted?  Like he was on the verge of backing the President?  Or some right-wing Bishop or Cardinal somewhere who has almost zero connection or influence to the Catholic laity?

Now I'm not saying I have a great deep insight into the mind of the Catholic voter.  Yes, I was baptized by a Catholic priest and I am preferable to the Catholic tradition over those wannabe hippies who go around playing acoustic guitars and singing about how much they want to make love to Jesus...but all the same, it seems like a pretty simple logical argument to make, that few people who make their voting choices on the basis of reproductive rights are going to be swayed in one way or another on the basis of this policy.  Perhaps if this ruling were that Catholic churches would have to set a bowl of Plan B next to the holy water...then I could see this being an issue, but otherwise, this is just thugs like Donohue trying to use their status to intimidate the White House into rolling back rights for the religiously affiliated, but ultimately secular, workforce.


Adam Groves said...

Sean -- you're missing a few points. A) Don't you see how the lack of conscience exemption will cause the end to the incredible good that Catholic charities do for the poor? The Church is not going to violate Her own precept, so the only other choice will be to shut her doors. The mandate will have a ripple effect in ending all kinds of charitable services, Catholic hospitals and other unintended consequences. B) It's not on every issue that all the Bishops order every parish to be read an article calling for civil disobedience to this mandate. I can't remember the last time the Bishops were so unified on a political issue and it was so emphatically pushed to the parish level. A lot is at stake.

Sean Braisted said...


I would be amazed to see the Catholic Church shut down charitable activity within the United States all because their employees would have the option to get birth control covered by an insurance policy. It would be a perversion of the Gospels to stop participating in charitable acts simply to spite the female employees of those charities.

Second, abortion. Abortion, abortion, abortion. The Catholic church is unequivocal in their opposition to legalized abortion and yet, in 2008, Catholic voters gave their support to President Obama. If the church tries to force this issue to an extreme point, their biggest success will be in further bloodletting of Catholics towards protestantism.

Now, in all likelihood, the Obama administration will buckle to some degree on this. However, I think there needs to be a discussion about whether churches can set up billion dollar corporations that are shielded from the same worker protections that secular institutions are required to adhere to.