Smelling menstrual blood in the air - as opposed to, say, the frankincense-laced aroma of nervous altar boys - Cardinal Francis George of Chicago is jumping into America's contentious contraception debate.
You remember Cardinal George. He recently compared equality advocates to the KKK. Now his focus, such as it is, has shifted elsewhere. Michael Sneed reports for the Sun-Times: In a letter earmarked to be read this weekend at all Catholic churches in the Archdiocese of Chicago, Cardinal George is throwing the gauntlet down at the Obama administration for denying Catholics religious liberty. “We cannot and will not comply with this unjust law,” states the cardinal, who is vehemently opposed to the new Obama administration rule requiring religious organizations to include contraceptive health insurance coverage. “People of faith cannot be made second-class citizens because of their religious beliefs." (Please, Your Worshipful, give us a fucking break. Has the Roman Church started paying taxes?)
The only thing Catholic leaders obsess about more than gay couples tying the knot is women's vaginas.
Sorry humanity, but Pope Benedict and his bejewelled minions are too busy funding anti-LGBT causes and anti-choice activists to feed hungry children in Third World countries. And now there's another political cause célèbre upon which church prelates can squander their time and energy (not to mention the faithful's money).
Like social conservatives, the Vatican believes that the national debate over abortion has been won - in the court of public opinion, anyway. Perhaps it has. So now these Princes of the Church and their evangelical counterparts are working diligently to enact "personhood" amendments and ban certain contraceptive pills and devices. Birth control and family planning, it seems, is the nouveau no-no.
Laurie Goodsteing at the New York Times applies foundation: (T)he nation’s Roman Catholic bishops were fully prepared for battle. Seven months earlier, they had started laying the groundwork for a major new campaign to combat what they saw as the growing threat to religious liberty, including the legalization of same-sex marriage. But the birth control mandate, issued on Jan. 20, was their Pearl Harbor. Hours after President Obama phoned to share his decision with Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York, who is president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the bishops’ headquarters in Washington posted on its Web site a video of Archbishop Dolan, which had been recorded the day before. “Never before,” Archbishop Dolan said, setting the tone, “has the federal government forced individuals and organizations to go out into the marketplace and buy a product that violates their conscience. This shouldn’t happen in a land where free exercise of religion ranks first in the Bill of Rights.” The speed and passion behind the bishops’ response reflects their growing sense of siege, and their belief that the space the Catholic church once occupied in American society and the deference it was given are gradually being curtailed by an increasingly secular culture.
It has frequently been noted that if men had to suffer the pains of childbirth, issues such as this would be, well, non-issues. Tacitus correctly observed: Experientia docet.
UPDATE: As is his wont, President Obama has offered the Religious Right a compromise. As is their wont, ultraconservatives are bitching about it. (Pictured: Cardinal Francis George, Woody Allen as Sperm)