Saturday, February 18, 2012

Because I Can't Just Let it Go

Today I'm going to irritate everyone.  I'm going to talk about politics AND religion.

The media would have us believe there are no women opposed to the HHS policy. It's a harder lie to sell than usual because most of us actually KNOW someone who is opposed to the HHS policy and some of those people we know are female.   But they keep stumping it.

So I'm putting up today some links to good reads which 1) lay out what the HHS policy is and 2) lay out what the Church's position is not (a religious attempt to impose a theocracy). As far as I know, even the day before the HHS policy was imposed, artificial birth control was cheap, legal and available.  To hear the screechings of those in favor of this gross overreach of the government, you'ld think a tsunami of babies was threatening to flood the streets and drown all the women if the Federal Health and Human Services hadn't stepped in to save the day.  

Michael Novak lays it out nicely here.
Archbishop Chaput as usual is speaking strong truth with charity.
and Deacon Bickerstaff outlines a good course of action here.

The power to by executive/bureaucratic mandate determine the extent to which we MAY practice our beliefs (where they stop binding us), is a direct threat to our religious liberty and anyone who thinks this is the limit, is wilfully blind, deliberately obtuse, wants this curbing of religious expression to assuage their own unwillingness to live out their faith life or is just a partisan hack.

Yes. I'm angry today. 


Because I do see the assaults on all sides.  When Komen decided simply not to continue to award grants to Planned Parenthood because it was under Federal investigation for not reporting sex trafficking, statutory rapes and having unsafe conditions for medical procedures (which go unpoliced and unchecked as a benefit of being protected by one political party that sees abortion so necessary and so noble as to warrant no scrutiny whatsoever), Planned Parenthood squealed like a stuck pig.

 I'd say a stuck fetus but they wouldn't acknowledge the reality of such pain. 

They were going to loose  a whopping .058 % of their budget --and they went postal.  Komen jumped back into line.  Message to other corporations received.  Don't cut our funding or we will destroy you online.  All the good you've done for 30 years doesn't count for squat. 

The same was done to Catholic Charities.  You've helped with adoptions for years. You've done loads of good, feeding the poor, helping the homeless, you've been a living breathing outreach of the beatitudes, faith in action in all the communities.  Drop your opposition to gay adoptions or you're gone.  Some of the Catholic Charities --Massachusetts and Illinois, were gone.  Other places weighed what they do, and bowed their heads and said, "By your command." I know they still do good, but the state forcing an organization to surrender one tenet they hold dear, can force another.  Catholic Health Association is only too happy to dispense birth control, sterilization and abortion drugs, now that it's mandatory. 

At some point, when you keep surrendering values, you cease to have them. 
And that I suspect is the point, to swap faith for politics and make our Government our God. All knowing, all encompassing, all reaching...infinite in appetite and control...but it does not love us.

To the "Oh, you're overreacting." crowd.  I present the following link: Humanae Vitae Prophetic.
Also the Guttenmacher Institute's helpful memo: (Emphasis mine).
"The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, drawing on these recommendations, requires new private health plans written on or after August 1, 2012 to cover contraceptive counseling and services and all FDA-approved methods without out-of-pocket costs to patients. However, existing plans are exempt from the requirement so long as no significant negative changes, such as cutting benefits or raising cost-sharing, are made to them; DHHS has said that most of these plans will likely lose this protected status within a few years. "

And then, there is the little noted (we must not speak of it) process of Same Sex marriage becoming the default new unspeakable of other than as good. Like Planned Parenthood, thuggery of thought abounds.  (If you do not hail it for the benefactor it is to all of humanity, you are a close minded dope who hates poor people).  So also, if you oppose same sex marriages for any reason, you are a bigot. Pure and simple. 

Yesterday, Maryland legislature passed by the narrowest of margins,  the "Civil Marriage Protection Act."  Barring a change of conscience by the Governor himself, (O'Malley proposed it) Maryland will become the 8th state to decide marriage is a contract between two people regardless of gender, but with restrictions on inbreeding.  I read the bill.

(No aunt/uncle/cousin/brother/mother/father/sister/son/daughter stuff is specified so we have some standards).

Given that there are already lawsuits and established precedents for the suing of businesses that refused service for gay couples seeking marriage, how long before the Church is hit on this front or simply Christians or Catholics who don't want to promote a sinful act via providing a venue?  So far, the answer is the photographer gets sued, the B&B gets sued, anyone who speaks or even simply says "No." gets sued. Saying anything other than "Great, here's the contract." will get you sued.  Saying anything other than "Why didn't we create this law sooner?" will be tantamount to hate speech.  
I understand how hard it is to address, because really, rallying around "status quo" of over 2000 years seems goofy.  Also, the forces in support of this proposition are well organized and have the media and the existing government power structures on their side.  Just as abortion was rewritten by Roe vs. Wade by Judicial fiat, when state regulations made up a patchwork quilt of contradictory policies, so also a patchwork currently exists for Same sex marriages and those contradictions will inevitably be presented to the nine judges in DC. 
The Full Faith and Credit of contracts across state lines will demand resolution at the Supreme Court.  We can't avoid discussing it forever just to avoid being called names. By not thinking about this or addressing it, we're sputtering to come up with arguments because we haven't wanted to think about this. That constitutes a poor defense. We lose. 
Even voting against such things in a referendum has been insufficient.  Look at California. The law as expressed by the people's will was irrelevant to the state supreme court. Also Federal Government has refused to support the "In Defense of Marriage Act" that is on the books. 
Everywhere, secular tyranny is on the march. It goes unacknowledged as such by those who agree with its policies or at the very least, think it won't affect them.  But our capacity to live out or even acknowledge the tenets of our faith is being slowly boiled to death. 
So consider writing a letter or contacting the Governor. He's Catholic and as such, might be moved by good apologetics or reasoned defense.  At the very least, he'll have to knowingly decide to ignore his own faith to sign it.
 An example from a new blogger on the block: The Paladin's Best Friend.  Yes he sent it to the Governor. Yes he signed his real name. Go over. Say Hi.  He's just starting up.
The thing is, I note a touch of discouragement and despair in the tone and tenor of the world right now.  Those that voted for our current administration are frustrated and I think feel slightly shocked and betrayed that the promise held out, isn't.  Those that are voting differently, aren't so enthused either. We've created this Leviathan of a government.  We've created this Leviathan of debt. We've got all these intractable seemingly impossible problems and there doesn't seem to be an answer, or at least not an easy answer.  Like stepping on the scale and knowing you must diet or opening a bill and knowing you must cut back expenses, everything seems earth shatteringly beyond our will, beyond our capacity, just beyond.   We are struggling to summon the will.

There is not one institution of government that still holds our trust.  There is too much money, too much bloat, too many back room smoke filled deals, too much favoritism, too much politics, too little truth, too many partisan hacks, too many moments of hurt and broken promises, personal failures, corruption and cover up for us to easily allow ourselves to hope that someone, anyone can par back the weeds, the mess, the massive piles of regulations and laws.  Too many free fall shouting voices to be able to sift through the facts.  We have all of the earth at our finger tips and it overwhelms.  We cannot take in everything and thus long for a touch of peace, a touch of genuine quiet of the soul and that is the one thing not available via MasterCard, the government, the Internet or the world.

So we aren't hoping for much, we certainly aren't expecting or demanding much, because we don't think much can be done.

Still Gandalf himself knows, we shouldn't despair. "For even the wise cannot see all ends."
So the object is to press on. To do right. To speak bravely. To speak true. To speak from the heart. To pray for everyone and....if I may close with a different but equally favorite movie,

Inigo.....What?  I hope we win!


MaryJenniferSanders said...

Have fun stormin' the castle!

Karen said...

Count me among the "wilfully blind, deliberately obtuse, wants this curbing of religious expression to assuage their own unwillingness to live out their faith life or is just a partisan hack."

Take a breath.


Move on.

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