You owe it to yourself to read “The Politics of the Accomodation,” a lament by devout liberal Catholic Michael Sean Winters who has suddenly found his eyes opened to the truth about the Obama Administration and, in general, the social politics of the political Left. He concludes:
I confess I no longer understand Obama. He did not go to the mat to end the Bush tax cuts for the super-rich. He did not go to the mat for comprehensive immigration reform. He did not go to the mat to close Guantanamo Bay. He did not go to the mat for Card Check. He did not go to the mat for a public option in the health care reform. But, he went to the mat over the principle that a Catholic college or charity or hospital is not really religious.
… I am simply not interested in a Democratic Party that is so beholden to the fundraisers at Emily’s List, so consumed with lifestyle politics, that it is willing to thumb its nose at those working class voters who really do care about social justice and for whom that care is a part of their religious beliefs. And, if liberals no longer care about a robust defense of the First Amendment, well, then, we do not deserve the presidency.
… As I say, I no longer understand President Obama. I was not party to the discussions within the administration on this issue, so I don’t know who said what, or what arguments were made. But, from the outcome, we can conclude that the President never stopped the conversation to say, “We can’t do that!” By “that” I mean pick a fight with the leaders of the largest religious denomination in the country. By “that” I mean not ignore First Amendment concerns, even if it limits the reach of a policy he very much wishes to pursue. By “that” I mean decide, in effect, that the freedom of religion is now only a freedom to worship.
The essay comes by way of Deacon Greg, whose own commenters are always extremely insightful — “The Democratic Party, once the natural ally of socially aware Catholics, has now prioritized “lifestyle politics” over the traditional social justice issues.”
And there you have it. “Lifestyle politics.” The belief that individual happiness, which is to be achieved by pursuing the desires of our own mortal flesh, is the ultimate trump card in the morality debate. The belief that if you promise pleasure and self-fulfillment and further promise to make it all as free from responsibility, consequences, and plain old fashioned guilt as possible, you have carte blanche to stamp out as many other freedoms and liberties as you choose – all in the name of “fairness,” “equal access,” and “justice” of course.
Naturally this course of action is accompanied by an almost Orwellian reworking of the concepts of fairness, equal access, justice, and the greater good by the intelligentsia, promulgated through the media-entertainment complex.
I believe this is what we are seeing with regard to the current debate over whether or not the government has the power to force churches (or anyone for that matter) to pay for contraceptive and sterilization procedures that they believe violate the tenets of Scripture.
The mission of Planned Parenthood, founded by a woman whose life was dedicated to mainstreaming the use of contraception and abortion as the primary method for ending poverty and reducing the number of mentally and physically handicapped among the population, has largely been redefined in popular culture (and in the Democratic party’s populist platform) as “women’s health.”
Now most of us with common sense recognize that there are circumstances where certain drugs prescribed for women will interfere with their reproductive system. We also understand that in certain situations, pregnancy could result in a situation that is threatening to the life of the mother (a circumstance that personally affected us). No one with genuine authority, not even the Roman Catholic Church, teaches that it is “God’s will” to refrain from taking medication or using contraception in those kinds of circumstances.
However, voluntary use of contraception, particularly by single women, is an elective decision and is no more a “health” issue than cosmetic procedures or any other elective medical treatment.
But now, if you question the compulsory provision of “free” contraception imposed by government fiat, you are “opposed to women’s health” and are further denounced as an extremist who wants to “ban contraception.” More broadly, if you decline to ally yourself with the Planned Parenthood organization in any capacity, you are now branded as an enemy of women and an obstructionist to the pursuit of the public good.
I should also note the misleading language being used by supporters of the contraception rule. Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, recently summed up her support for the rule by declaring, “Nurses, janitorial staff and professors who work at colleges and universities that do not currently cover birth control will get access to contraception.” Huh? We’re really supposed to believe that employees of religiously-affiliated organizations never had access to contraceptives? We’re really supposed to believe that nurses and college professors are not bright enough to know that they can go to their doctor and, after a physical examination, ask for a prescription? Or that those with qualifying low incomes do not know that they can already receive those services from Planned Parenthood and pay as little as $9 a month for generic birth control pills?
We heard the same rhetoric during the healthcare reform debate; apparently, unless the government mandates the provision of a service for “free” or at a greatly reduced cost, the masses do not have “access” to it.
Likewise, supporting the traditional definition of marriage or supporting the right of churches and clergy to refuse to perform the sacrament of marriage in situations that violate their religious teachings is now considered “hate” on par with the Jim Crow segregation of a half-century ago.
One of the standard memes of modern liberalism is, “When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the Bible.” Obviously this is false. When fascism comes to America, it will be cloaked in “justice” and laid upon a foundation of “fairness” and “the public good.”