Sunday, February 26, 2012

Spitting Mad

Though as a former tomboy I will never manage to be as ladylike as my mother, I do try. And I regard spitting as disgusting. But "spitting mad" is the only way I can describe how I felt listening to the Catholic spokesperson on a radio program last week. This nun was a far better spokesperson for the President than for the Church.
     While it was somewhat shocking that Obama would trample so blatantly on the religious rights of Catholics, what is far more shocking and disturbing to me is how many people—even Catholics—are defending this HHS mandate. 
     I guess people just don't get it.
     This should be alarming to any American, no matter what their personal opinion is about contraception or the Church's teaching on it.
     It's like the French situation a year or two ago. I'm not a Muslim, but I'm outraged that the French government decided that Muslim girls could not wear head-scarves to school.
     The move they made next—to make it "more fair," I suppose—didn't
help at all: not allowing any students to wear any religious item, including crosses or crucifixes. All it did was confirm the fears of people of any faith, who had immediately wondered, "Who's next?" It simply showed that the ruling secular humanists weren't singling out the Muslims but disrespecting all religious people. Was that supposed to make the Muslims happy? So what if they spread the persecution to more people? And even so, it still wasn't fair.
     I wouldn't want my right to wear a crucifix taken away, but it's still worse for the Muslim girl. In my religion, it is not a sin not to wear a crucifix. Even my scapular—if the government tried to steal my right to wear that (though how they would know, since it's hidden, is itself troubling), I would find it intolerable, but that is a matter of personal devotion, not a commandment. I don't have to wear it; it's not a sin not to wear a scapular.
     But for the practicing Muslim girl, as far as I understand it, it is a sin for her to go out in public without a head-scarf. I personally don't regard it as a sin, but I respect her conscience. 
     What is a sin is for a government to force someone to do something against his or her conscience.The government's job is to protect our rights not strip us of them.
      It's annoying that people defend this mandate by saying that many Catholics themselves don't have any qualms about using contraception. That doesn't change the fact that other Catholics do.
      Not all Jews observe kosher laws—does that mean that the government has the right to step in and tell the kosher Jews to get with it and believe what other Jews believe?
      I was planning to draw out this analogy at length—asking if the government has the right to force kosher Jews in the food industry to serve pork—but then I found this week that a bishop already has done so, and much better than I could. 
    So I highly recommend the parable Bishop Lori presented to Congress; I especially like how he shows the meaninglessness of the President's “compromise”. Here's the link:  Testimony of Most Reverend William E. Lori.

    Everyone should be worried, to put it in Bishop Lori's words, "that, if the mandate stands, they might be the next ones forced—under threat of severe government sanction—to violate their most deeply held beliefs, especially their unpopular beliefs."
     (To write to Congress, click here: Conscience Protection)