Catholic Church to Amp-Up the Culture Wars
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 12:23:54 AM EST
The surprise election of Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York as the president of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops has been much in the news. Two main related points dominate the coverage. This year, the bishops deviated from a decades old tradition of elevating the sitting vice president choosing Dolan instead. Some argue that the vice president was too moderate and that Dolan is likely to use post during his three year term as a bully pulpit to further the culture wars. That interpretation seems likely. As if to underscore the intentions of the majority of bishops, they also elected as the new vice-president, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, who has led their campaign against marriage equality.

"I mean, we're in the middle of the biggest economic downturn since the Depression, and these bishops had nothing to say about that," Jesuit scholar Thomas Reese told The Los Angeles Times. "They did have a lot to say about the defense of marriage, and about their concerns about the healthcare bill funding abortion. ... I think the elections indicate that the bishops want to continue to be leaders in the culture wars."

In some respects, this is really no surprise, even though it has become fashionable not to mention the Religious Right's ongoing war of aggression against democratic pluralism. There have been plenty of signs.

Amidst the euphoria of the inauguration of president Obama, the dour prelates distinguished themselves at their 2009 annual meeting, according to the Associated Press:  

BALTIMORE - The nation's Roman Catholic bishops vowed Tuesday to forcefully confront the Obama administration over its support for abortion rights, saying the church and religious freedom could be under attack in the new presidential administration.

In an impassioned discussion on Catholics in public life, several bishops said they would accept no compromise on abortion policy. Many condemned Catholics who had argued it was morally acceptable to back President-elect Obama because he pledged to reduce abortion rates.

And several prelates promised to call out Catholic policy makers on their failures to follow church teaching. Bishop Joseph Martino of Scranton, Pa., singled out Vice President-elect Biden, a Catholic, Scranton native who supports abortion rights.

Unsurprisingly, the bishops fought the administration's health care plan because it was deemed insufficiently antiabortion, even though it was the most draconian antiabortion legislation since Roe vs. Wade (making permanent the Hyde Amendment, which banned any federal funds from being used for abortion.)  During the lengthy debate, a spokeswoman for the bishops took the administration and the Democratic Party's view on reducing the need for abortion to task. I wrote at the time:

Deirdre McQuade, assistant director of policy and communications at the "pro-life secretariat," of the Bishops' Conference told U.S. News and World Report: "The phrase `reducing the need for abortion' is not a common-ground phrase. We would say that there is no need for abortion, that abortions are signs that we have not met the needs of women. There is no authentic need for abortion."

There are, of course, many Catholics who oppose the hierarchy's approach to among other things, such matters as reproductive rights, marriage equality and separation of church and state. Because that is so, it seems likely (at least to me) that such groups as Catholics for Choice and the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice will gain increasing prominence, will play ever more important roles as the hierarchy increases its militancy, and appeals to common ground become ancient history.




Display:
Our voices tend to get drowned out by the yes-people.

by khughes1963 on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 09:13:30 PM EST
where the opposition is using bullhorns, rather than the microphone, to argue against you and your silly arguments supporting women's rights and the poor.

Funny how those bullhorns all have tiny insignias identifying the major corporations sponsoring the oppositions "voice amplifiers". Gee, if only you (and I ) had the same, overloud voices to use in our rebuttal, mebbe those outside our groups would hear us. But now, after the 'Citizen's United' decision, I expect to see even bigger bullhorns, powered by diesel generators.

Try to frame your arguments as clearly and succinctly as possible, as the corporate sponsors are holding an anti-abortion dinner after this, and the crowd is starving.

by trog69 on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 08:12:13 AM EST
Parent


is not to slam the bishops or the church (even if they richly deserve it).

Rather, all this has political implications as Dolan and his ilk hijack our national discourse and as the bishops become more adversarial towards elected officials who don't do as they say.  


by Frederick Clarkson on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 12:58:28 PM EST


This is so heavily ironic.  Painfully ironic.

While they're ramping up their attempts to force their beliefs on the rest of us, including those who aren't even Christian much less Roman Catholic, at the same time they're holding a convocation which has as a subject "Religious Freedom".

http://www.theledger.com/article/20101119/API/1011190603

I wish someone would ask them in public and so they can't help but hear:  "What about our freedom to be free of their expression of religion???"

Oh, that's right:  Freedom of Religion means free to practice theirs only, and not the freedom to be free of their imposed strictures.  Just like the rhetoric we hear from the NAR and their dominionist kin.

For years, people have been afraid of the Roman Catholics, thinking that they all marched in lock-step with the Vatican (even though this is shown to be untrue because there are RC organizations that are in opposition).  This will only reinforce those fears, except in the groups that share their penchant for autocratic top-down authoritarianism and their goals.

I just wonder if this is considered a good thing or a bad thing in dominionist circles, because it does seem that the more dominionist/fundamentalist a group is, the more vocally hostile they are to the Roman Catholic church.

by ArchaeoBob on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 09:45:38 AM EST



WWW Talk To Action


Book Report: Yes, Politicians, We Know You Love The Bible. What Else Have You Read?
Real estate magnate Donald Trump says lots of outrageous stuff, but none of it seems to slow him down. His latest gaffe, however, ought......
By Rob Boston (3 comments)
American Renewal Project
On my journey to the American Renewal Project in Austin, Texas, I listened to hard right talk radio out of Houston.  There was an......
By wilkyjr (7 comments)
`Just Go Somewhere Else!': A Cavalier Dismissal Of A Serious Concern
A few years ago, I took part in a panel discussion on church-state issues at a Seventh-day Adventist church in Takoma Park, Md. During......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
John Dorhauer Puts Christian Right on Notice
Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer was a front pager here at Talk to Action years before he was elected General Minister and President of the......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Father Of Falsehoods: Why Ted Cruz's Dad Is Wrong About Prayer In Schools
Many misconceptions abound about the issue of prayer in schools, and some people persist in believing a lot of myths. One of the most......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
A Texas Size Conspiracy
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has recently been indicted by a grand jury for an illegal investment scheme.  He faces felony charges. Word has......
By wilkyjr (1 comment)
Are the Anti-Planned Parenthood Smear Videos... Investigative Journalism?
I have been glad to see journalism catching up with the anti-Planned Parenthood scam videos. From The Huffington Post to the New England Journal......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Liberty's Latest Ploy: What's Up With The Sanders Invite?
The announcement that U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will speak at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., Sept. 14 has left a lot of people......
By Rob Boston (4 comments)
Creeping Christian Rightism in the Democratic Party
The executive director of a DC group with deep roots in the Democratic faith outreach schemes of a decade ago, has a regular column......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Ghosts Over Mississippi
     Clinton, Mississippi is home to historic Mississippi College.  The Southern Baptist school is owned by the state Baptist convention in the Magnolia......
By wilkyjr (0 comments)
The Cardinal's Gasbag: Catholic League Leader Rushes To Defend Dolan From AU Criticism
There is a thing called Godwin's Law on the internet. It holds that if an online argument goes on long enough, someone will drag......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
The Theocratic Politics of Raphael Cruz
"There's a relationship there that's unlike any in American history to my knowledge. We've just never seen anything remotely like this...   I believe......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
An Assassin's Motivation?
On June 17, 2015, Dylann Roof quietly sat in the prayer meeting at African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina before he shot......
By wilkyjr (2 comments)
Christian Right Turns to Nullification to Counter Marriage Equality
Last year in The Public Eye magazine, Rachel Tabachnick and Frank L. Cocozzelli warned of the trend on the religious and political Right toward......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Historian Gerald Horne on Charleston, Church, & Slave Resistance
Professor Gerald Horne of the University of Houston notes the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church was at the center of Black resistance to slavery......
By Chip Berlet (1 comment)

Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (2 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (2 comments)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (0 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (0 comments)
Evangelicals Seduced By Ayn Rand Worship Crypto-Satanism, Suggest Scholars
[update: also see my closely related stories, "Crypto-Cultists" and "Cranks": The Video Paul Ryan Hoped Would Go Away, and The Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand/Satanism Connection Made Simple] "I give people Ayn Rand with trappings" -......
Bruce Wilson (10 comments)
Ted Cruz Anointed By Pastor Who Says Jesus Opposed Minimum Wage, and Constitution Based on the Bible
In the video below, from a July 19-20th, 2013 pastor's rally at a Marriott Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, Tea Party potentate Ted Cruz is blessed by religious right leader David Barton, who claims......
Bruce Wilson (1 comment)
Galt and God: Ayn Randians and Christian Rightists Expand Ties
Ayn Rand's followers find themselves sharing a lot of common ground with the Christian Right these days. The Tea Party, with its stress on righteous liberty and a robust form of capitalism, has been......
JSanford (4 comments)
Witchhunts in Africa and the U.S.A.
Nigerian human rights activist Leo Igwe has recently written at least two blog posts about how some African Pentecostal churches are sending missionaries to Europe and the U.S.A. in an attempt to "re-evangelize the......
Diane Vera (2 comments)
Charles Taze Russell and John Hagee
No doubt exists that Texas mega-church Pastor John Hagee would be loathe to be associated with the theology of Pastor C.T. Russell (wrongly credited with founding the Jehovah's Witnesses) but their theological orbits, while......
COinMS (0 comments)
A death among the common people ... imagination.
Or maybe my title would better fit as “Laws, Books, where to find, and the people who trust them.”What a society we've become!The wise ones tell us over and over how the more things......
Arthur Ruger (1 comment)
Deconstructing the Dominionists, Part VI
This is part 6 of a series by guest front pager Mahanoy, originally dated November 15, 2007 which I had to delete and repost for technical reasons. It is referred to in this post,......
Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (5 comments)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (4 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (4 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (4 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.