I had just published my rant on The Other Blog, "Catholic or American? Why must we choose?", and was trolling Twitter looking for another topic when this tweet came in from Marcel LeJeune: "Dumbest & most illogical article I've ever read. Don't break anything if you read it."
How could I resist?
So I pull up the link, which is to an op-ed in the Boston Globe by Joan Vennochi, "The Catholic Church's unfair attack against Obama". And I didn't break anything ... except the land speed record for getting pissed off.
Four paragraphs into the column, the intellectual dishonesty starts:
But not all employees of Catholic institutions are Catholics. Why should their employers impose their religious beliefs on them and deny coverage for birth control and other medical care? As long as those Catholic institutions are getting taxpayer money, they should follow secular rules. [Put another way: As long as the government buys Vaseline, you should submit without complaint to rape.] That’s the Obama administration’s argument, and it makes sense.
Very simple: because your taking money out of my pocket to fund your inability to keep it in your pants is an imposition on my religious beliefs — not the other way around. Vennochi gets the injustice exactly backwards. Contraceptives and sterilization are no more medically necessary than are boob jobs or "gender reassignment" procedures, and therefore pose no honest ad misericordiam claim let alone a right to funds from the unwilling.
As Bp. David Zubik of Pittsburgh explains it:
This mandate has nothing to do with the Church “taking” federal money. Rather, this mandate is about Church money, the money of citizens, being used against their will, against their conscience, against their beliefs. This mandate is being imposed on everyone — on every employer, even if they have never taken a dime of government funds. Everyone — Catholics and non-Catholics, believers and nonbelievers alike — will be forced to pay for this as an employer or as an employee, and sometimes through their free-will contributions to the Church and Catholic social service agencies. In particular, this mandate will be imposed on us as Catholics and bought and paid for by us as Catholics. [Bold font mine.—TL]
As Truth and Charity tweeted it: "Keep your rosaries off my ovaries ... unless of course it's to pay for my contraception." Who's imposing their morality on whom now?
Second, the "getting taxpayer money" argument doesn't fly because the institutions are now being required by law to offer insurance ... it's not an option, so the situation is not analogous to a university acting as a defense contractor who refuses to have a ROTC program. The argument essentially boils down to: "The government is providing the Vaseline, so you must allow yourself to be violated in any manner the government wishes."
On the larger health care reform issue, this president has the moral high ground, if only he would take it. A church that is supposedly dedicated to feeding the hungry and clothing the naked wouldn’t want to leave it to insurance companies and free markets to decide who gets to see a doctor and who gets care — would it?
That's even more dishonest than the previous paragraph. Vennochi knows damn well the issue isn't "national health care vs. free market health care" or "preferred provider vs. HMO", so this paragraph is completely uncalled-for, an accusation of hypocrisy not warranted by the facts of the issue.
The bulk of the article does some credible work in analyzing the influence of the Catholic vote in the last three presidential election cycles. But how this analysis backs up Vennochi's belief that non-Catholics have a valid claim on Catholic health-care dollars to fund their pills, condoms and tubule ligations is as much a mystery as the Obamination's belief that pregnancy is a disease to be treated and cured.
And that's the key right there: PREGNANCY IS NOT A DISEASE. Not even metaphorically. It's the natural consequence of sex, the outcome your body is striving to produce from the second you get "that special feeling" for your lover — not an unpleasant "occasional side-effect".
Allow me to quote the Steel City Ordinary again:
The truth be told, the Catholic Church throughout this country virtually created health care in the United States. In Pittsburgh, the first hospital, Mercy Hospital, was opened under Church auspices within a year of the founding of our diocese and long before the government responded. The Church’s health care ministry was built primarily by Catholic women and has served women of all faiths and no faith from its inception. What we don’t do, can’t do, won’t do is consider pregnancy a disease equivalent to the flu. Or to be “cured” by death.
Let me sum it up:
Your inability to keep it in your pants doesn't give you a right to my tax or insurance dollars!