New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan has been a harsh critic of the Obama administration, but he is blessing Democrats and Republicans equally by giving the closing prayer at both parties’ conventions. The Republicans invited him first, and his acceptance raised questions about whether Dolan, the head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, was lending the authority of the Catholic hierarchy to the GOP. But then the Democrats shrewdly invited him to pray at their convention too. Dolan shrewdly accepted.
First the bishops sought an expanded exemption. Now they claim the contraception mandate itself violates religious liberty. It doesn't.
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.
In a response to complaints from Catholic leaders, last week the Obama administration revised its rule requiring some religious institutions to include birth control in health insurance. The new stance was welcomed by some Catholic organizations, including the Catholic Health Association but was firmly rejected by the Catholic bishops--who in doing so shifted the ground of their own argument.
Are Protestants more in line with the Catholic bishops on contraception than Catholics are? Or is it just that there's some correlation between being Protestant and being politically inclined to oppose most any proposal that starts with "Employers should be required..."?
We disagree with the Catholic bishops' stance on birth control. Nevertheless, we think HHS should offer a broader religious exemption.
The Catholic bishops' media-relations director: "While the general population has debated whether it's nurture or nature that leads to a homosexual inclination, the church has not posed any theory in that regard."