Who would have thought that contraception would become such a
major issue in this election year?
Or is it?
The U.S. Catholic bishops stress that the issue
is not really contraception but religious liberty--the right of Catholics, and
by extension any group of religious people, to practice and live out their
faith. That's a plausible argument, as the Century
editors acknowledged a few weeks ago, and
it is certainly one designed to gain allies among other religious people.
Ralph Wood, who calls himself a Bapto-Catholic, is certainly qualified
to write on the militant Catholic Chesterton, who seldom withheld his
fire and fury except when he settled for expressing disdain for
Protestantism and other "unorthodox" versions of Christianity.
Given the talk about the decline of Christian identity in the United States, Marilynne Robinson suggests a standard is needed to define this change. She proposes that a marker is the general fearfulness in our culture, which is revealed by the obsession with and purchase of guns. “Contemporary America is full of fear,” Robinson says, but “fear is not a Christian habit of mind.” One of the markers of people who forget God is “that they make irrational responses to irrational fears” (New York Review of Books, September 24).