Photo by Nicole Grimes
For the last month, the media have been filled with a conflict which is usually framed as a conflict between the Catholic bishops and the Obama Administration. Three of the Republican candidates picked this up and accused the Obama administration of waging war on the Catholic Church. We are certainly witnessing a clash in values on this issue between the Administration and the Roman Catholic moral traditions but calling the differences “a war” is a cheap political shot.
The Administration made a terrible political blunder and lately is trying to correct it. The issue is that new directives are demanding that all employers must provide insurance that would cover contraceptives and some form of abortion. The bishops are not the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is a faith community of approximately 65 million members divided into every imaginable subgroup, but what unifies most of them is the appreciation that the United States has always guaranteed them and all others freedom of religion. Millions of those Catholics are now very angry and unless the present impasse is adequately corrected, it will have a measurable effect on the November election.
An editorial of the National Catholic Reporter said it well. “Catholics of all stripes have voiced their deep concerns. The opposition to the decision runs across all the usual divides – left and right, conservative and liberal, orthodox and progressive – all have made it clear: we might disagree with our bishops and each other over the issue of contraception but this ruling seeks to force our church to violate its conscience on a serious matter. Some of the voices that spoke the strongest words and risked the most on advocating healthcare reform now see a threat to the church inherent in the roll out of the reform.”
I understand that.
Share on Facebook
Photo from EthicsDaily.com
My heartfelt congratulations to Bishop Anthony Taylor, the Bishop of Little Rock, Arkansas.
He has just joined with the Methodists and the Baptists in his state in an intiative called Gospel Without Borders. It is a documentary produced by a divisive of the Baptist Center for Ethics and funded by a grant from the United Methodist Foundation of Arkansas. The documentary portrays how members of these three churches are trying to help immigrants who are all victims of the same injustice. We see all this together and will accomplish far more if they work together. The video focuses on the Scriptural mandate of Jesus common to all Christians.
The bishop has sent a copy of Gospel Without Borders to all the parishes in Arkansas. Regretfully, I have not seen the documentary myself yet, but I feel confident that it will produce a great deal of good across the State of Arkansas. What excites me even more than the production of this useful tool on behalf of justice is the bringing together, in a very concrete and organized way, of the religious leaders across the state in order to speak with one voice on the retractable issue that is not about to go away in the near future.
We constantly hear the figure that there are 12 million illegal people living in the United States at the present time. The largest portion of them are Hispanics from Central and South America. These workers are obviously needed for many sectors of our economy. There is, at the same time, an increasing hostility towards undocumented immigrants as manifested by the recent enactment in Alabama of the most restrictive law to date on the question of immigration. Happily, Archbishop Thomas Rodi, of Mobile, has joined the U.S. Department of Justice in opposing this law.
The United States has a right to make every effort to control its own borders, but once people are here, settled in, are productive and needed in the economy we need to be very careful on how we attempt to resolve this situation.
Share on Facebook