Friday, November 9, 2007

Baffle them with B.S.

A professor of theology from Boston College [no surprise here] has written a column in the Philadelphia Inquirer, done in the time-honored style of "leave them more confused than you found them" dealing with next week's meeting of the U.S. Catholic Bishops.

More than 200 bishops will gather in Baltimore next week for a national meeting to vote on a political-responsibility statement released before every presidential election. In the past, this statement has been drafted behind closed doors. For the first time, it will be debated and amended in public. The final product will be closely read by Catholic voters and public officials who take their faith and political life seriously, and scrutinized by media sniffing the wind for another election-year tussle between the hierarchy and a Catholic presidential candidate. Since Catholics will again be key "swing voters" who could play a decisive role in the outcome, the bishops must be careful to avoid injecting themselves into national partisan politics or even giving the appearance of favoring one party over another. They also have an important opportunity to remind Catholic voters that their faith does not view abortion as the only life issue on which to judge a candidate.

Catholic teaching is clear that seeking peace and ending war, caring for the poor and most vulnerable, "promoting the common good in all its forms" - in the words of Pope Benedict XVI - are all nonnegotiable. The Catholic Church does not view abortion in isolation, but promotes a consistent ethic of life in all stages. Access to quality health care, fighting global poverty, addressing the AIDS pandemic, and taking seriously the threats of climate change are all fundamental life issues. Can public officials who support a reckless doctrine of preventive war, turn a blind eye to poverty in the world's richest country, justify torture in the name of national security, or vote against health insurance for poor children really be called pro-life? Capital punishment, economic injustice, and the growing militarization of our world are also grave affronts to the sanctity of human life that candidates must answer to before they tout their pro-life bona fides. When was the last time you heard a bishop publicly taking to task a presidential candidate for supporting an unjust war or slashing welfare programs?

For more than three decades, abortion has been the grand battle in our nation's culture wars. Liberals and conservatives defend ideological turf. Bumper stickers bark out slogans. None of this has promoted common-ground public policies that would make it easier for women to choose life. Many politicians talk a big game about ending abortion, but do nothing to actually help women by promoting quality pre-natal care, access to health insurance, jobs that pay living wages, and a safety net of social services. In contrast, there are legislators who don't believe in criminalizing abortion (throwing women and doctors in jail), but who are committed to reducing abortions through policies that research tells us make it easier for women to carry a pregnancy to term and support their children. In fact, pro-life and pro-choice members of Congress have been working together on the "Reducing the Need for Abortions and Supporting Parents Act" that will do just this by seeking to prevent unintended pregnancies by expanding health-care services for low-income women and beefing up adoption programs.

She really doesn't want to come out and admit that she is "pro-abortion, through and through", so she whipped up this little screed that intends to confuse Catholics who otherwise might vote for a pro-life candidate next year.

You have to understand one thing about college professors. They want to have their field of specialty be as precise as mathematics, physics and chemistry, etc. But then they ignore such things as the numbers of abortion victims in the U.S. each year (1,300,000) and the numbers of capital punishment victims in the U.S. each year (53 in 2006). By doing so, the Catholic who seriously studies on how to cast a vote isn't given the facts. Just the philosophy.

Similarly, "Access to quality health care, fighting global poverty, addressing the AIDS pandemic, and taking seriously the threats of climate change are all fundamental life issues." But when it is proposed that DDT be authorized to kill mosquitoes in the tropics that kill millions by malaria, the fate of bird eggs trumps human life.

When she cites "torture" as an abhorrent policy, she neglects to mention that "causing embarrassment" in her eyes is torture. She neglects to mention that cutting off limbs or shoving electric cattle prods into human openings is the technique preferred by our opponents.

She proudly collected her fee from the "Inky" and dashed on down to the BC Faculty Lounge and bought a round for the house with no thought given to the utter lack of integrity in her column. Tip O' the Hat to Gerald

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