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In November 2011, E.J. Dionne's book Souled Out: Reclaiming Faith and Politics after the Religious Right was released. Dionne's premise:

The religious and political winds are changing. Tens of millions of religious Americans are reclaiming faith from those who would abuse it for narrow, partisan, and ideological purposes. And more and more secular Americans are discovering common ground with believers on the great issues of social justice, peace, and the environment. In Souled Out, award-winning journalist and commentator E. J. Dionne explains why the era of the Religious Right--and the crude exploitation of faith for political advantage--is over. [Emphasis supplied.]
Maybe not E.J. A few days ago, Dionne wrote:
The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops will make an important decision this week: Do they want to defend the church’s legitimate interest in religious autonomy, or do they want to wage an election-year war against President Obama? And do the most conservative bishops want to junk the Roman Catholic Church as we have known it, with its deep commitment to both life and social justice, and turn it into the tea party at prayer?

These are the issues confronting the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ administrative committee when it begins a two-day meeting on Tuesday. The bishops should ponder how they transformed a moment of exceptional Catholic unity into an occasion for recrimination and anger. [Emphasis supplied.]

Dionne soon received his answer—a stinging rebuke to Dionne (but notably, NOT to the principle of "accommodation" of religion in our secular laws that Dionne espoused in arguing for expanding religious exemption from secular law with regard to the provision of health insurance by employers).

Dionne's arguments are untenable both as a practical matter and as a matter of principle. The Catholic Church in America will not be an ally of progressives—while they may ostensibly share certain views—against the death penalty, against unbridled capitalism, against wars; they simply do not advocate for their views on these issues in meaningful ways. To me, the more important weakness of Dionne's view remains his insistence on "accommodation" for religion in our secular laws. This violates not only central tenets of a our system of government—yes, the separation of church and state—but central and seminal principles of progressivism. Simply put, Dionne has lost his way in this debate.

(Continue reading below the fold)

First, I want to be clear about what I am NOT espousing: I am not arguing that religions have no place in the public square, debating the issues of the day. To the contrary, like everyone else, religions have an absolute right to advocate for their views, and to fight for the reflection of their views, including those based on their religion, in our secular laws.

If the Catholic bishops believe what they say about contraception, contra Dionne, I do not see how they could, in principle, not fight for removal of contraceptive coverage from the insurance mandate. Dionne argues:

The bishops have legitimate concerns about the Obama compromise, including how to deal with self-insured entities and whether the wording of the HHS rule still fails to recognize the religious character of the church’s charitable work. But before the bishops accuse Obama of being an enemy of the faith, they might look for a settlement that’s within reach—one that would give the church the accommodations it needs while offering women the health coverage they need. I don’t see any communist plots in this.
This makes no sense. The Catholic Church is fighting against the inclusion of contraception in the mandate for health insurance (at least with regard to women). It is logical and reasonable for the Church to continue to fight against contraception.

What was never logical or reasonable was Dionne's embrace of the principle of making special exemptions from our secular law for religiously affiliated institutions engaged in secular activities. Being an employer, outside of church employees, is a secular activity. Running a hospital is a secular activity. Running a school is a secular activity. When engaged in secular activities, religions (and religious persons) must abide  by our secular laws. This simple proposition should not be difficult to comprehend and accept for a progressive who believes in the separation of church and state. But Dionne has lost his way, chasing the fool's gold of religious "allies" for progressive issues.

Consider Dionne's idea of "the religious character of the church’s charitable work" and what that might mean. If the charitable work of religions, even that which is secular in nature, is considered to be a religious practice, then the government cannot support such "religious work" without running afoul of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. In the 2002 case Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, the Supreme Court upheld a Cleveland school vouchers program that provided funds to religiously affiliated schools against an Establishment Clause challenge. Writing for a 5-4 majority, Chief Justice Rehnquist stated:

The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, applied to the States through the Fourteenth Amendment, prevents a State from enacting laws that have the “purpose” or “effect” of advancing or inhibiting religion. Agostini v. Felton, 521 U.S. 203, 222—223 (1997) (“[W]e continue to ask whether the government acted with the purpose of advancing or inhibiting religion [and] whether the aid has the ‘effect’ of advancing or inhibiting religion” (citations omitted)). There is no dispute that the program challenged here was enacted for the valid secular purpose of providing educational assistance to poor children in a demonstrably failing public school system. Thus, the question presented is whether the Ohio program nonetheless has the forbidden “effect” of advancing or inhibiting religion.
It is notable that Dionne's formulation of a "religious character" of religion's secular activities has not been adopted by the Catholic Church, who instead argues in terms of religious freedom in secular life. Unlike Dionne, the Church seems aware that to argue that its secular activities are religious in character would put in jeopardy all the public funding the Church receives for its secular activities. In Zelman, the Court upheld the transfer of public funds to religiously affiliated institutions, reasoning that:
[W]here a government aid program is neutral with respect to religion, and provides assistance directly to a broad class of citizens who, in turn, direct government aid to religious schools wholly as a result of their own genuine and independent private choice, the program is not readily subject to challenge under the Establishment Clause. A program that shares these features permits government aid to reach religious institutions only by way of the deliberate choices of numerous individual recipients. The incidental advancement of a religious mission, or the perceived endorsement of a religious message, is reasonably attributable to the individual recipient, not to the government, whose role ends with the disbursement of benefits.
According to Dionne, the benefits will not be "incidental," but a primary aid to activities of a "religious character," and it will not rely on individual choices. Thus, even following the hard right view that Zelman represents regarding public funding for religious affiliated secular activities is put in jeopardy by Dionne's reasoning.

The reality is that Dionne compromises on the separation of church and state in an attempt to coopt religion on his side of certain arguments and becomes miffed when the Church does not stop precisely where he wanted it to on the issue of contraception. The sacrifice of principle by Dionne rendered no practical benefit—the very definition of a terrible "compromise."

By accepting the flawed principle of "religious liberty" from the requirement of adhering to secular laws with regard to secular activities, Dionne has made a figurative deal with the devil and has no true argument to counter the bishops' appeal to "religious liberty." The bishops' most recent statement says:

[W]e wish to clarify what this debate is—and is not—about. This is not about access to contraception [...] An unwarranted government definition of religion. The mandate includes an extremely narrow definition of what HHS deems a “religious employer” deserving exemption—employers who, among other things, must hire and serve primarily those of their own faith. We are deeply concerned about this new definition of who we are as people of faith and what constitutes our ministry. The introduction of this unprecedented defining of faith communities and their ministries has precipitated this struggle for religious freedom. Government has no place defining religion and religious ministry. HHS thus creates and enforces a new distinction—alien both to our Catholic tradition and to federal law—between our houses of worship and our great ministries of service to our neighbors, namely, the poor, the homeless, the sick, the students in our schools and universities, and others in need, of any faith community or none. Cf. Deus Caritas Est, Nos. 20-33. We are commanded both to love and to serve the Lord; laws that protect our freedom to comply with one of these commands but not the other are nothing to celebrate.
E.J. Dionne has basically made the same argument in arguing for the "accommodation" for religion in our secular government. Dionne has argued that:
The bishops have legitimate concerns about the Obama compromise, including how to deal with self-insured entities and whether the wording of the HHS rule still fails to recognize the religious character of the church’s charitable work.
No, they do not. And if they do, then Dionne cannot argue against the latest actions of the bishops on the basis of principle. Dionne wishes the bishops to cede their opposition to contraception in their secular activities, in Dionne's words, of a "religious character." There is no logic or reason in Dionne's position.

Dionne's problem remains his support for "accommodation" to religions in the secular activities. Dionne cannot muster an argument to distinguish his position in principle with that of the bishops.

The progressive position is this: (1) insure religious liberty and freedom by complete government non-interference with freedom of worship; and (2) insure religious liberty and freedom by insisting that no religion shall be exempt from our secular laws when such religions engage in secular activity.

These are the basic tenets of separation of church and state that have guided us since the founding of the republic. They were enunciated by JFK in his celebrated 1960 speech. They are a central tent of progressivism.

On a fool's errand to seek religious allies in the progressive fight, Dionne has lost his way.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Great work here (21+ / 0-)

    Thank you for this series.

    My forthcoming book Obama's America: A Transformative Vision of Our National Identity will be published in Summer 2012 by Potomac Books.

    by Ian Reifowitz on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 10:03:16 AM PDT

  •  Not just Dionne (43+ / 0-)

    but Matthews and O'Donnell as well.  

    But if the Church wants to wage a war against the vast majority of its members, it can go right ahead.  Let's see how it will affect the collection plate and the growing irreligious segment of the younger generation.  

    The GOP Primary: Purity at Work

    by Rustbelt Dem on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 10:04:19 AM PDT

    •  Already happening (17+ / 0-)

      How many young people flock to the Catholic Church?

      For that matter, how many head for the more liberal denominations at this point?  My mother's church, liberal Methodist, has an average age of about sixty.  There are maybe a dozen teenagers.  That's it.

      Youth of today are no less spiritual, but they seem more willing to look inside themselves for answers than they previously have, rather than rely on the Writ and Rules.  As far as I'm concerned, that's a good thing.

      Things do run in cycles.  The next Great Awakening should be around 2070-2080 at this rate, but each one has been weaker and shorter than the ones before it.

      (-6.25, -6.77) Moderate left, moderate libertarian

      by Lonely Liberal in PA on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 10:28:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Rustbelt Dem, (12+ / 0-)

      I think these men (Dionne, Matthews, O'Donnell) mean well for progressivism, but are conflicted by their loyalty to Catholicism. GreenMother says it well...

      Dionne is clearly experiencing Cognitive Dissonance.
      They should consider this from the diary, however...
      What was never logical or reasonable was Dionne's embrace of the principle of making special exemptions from our secular law for religiously affiliated institutions engaged in secular activities.
    •  Church wants to have it both ways (25+ / 0-)

      They  want to receive federal funds for their charitable works like homeless shelters, their schools and hospitals, AND they want to be able preach (or at least teach) their religious doctrines to the clients they serve in those institutions.  But they do not want to have to abide by any secular laws they don't agree with in administerig these institutions.  If they want to be free of government regulation they should not take any government money.

      But that still isn't good enough, because as institutions offering a secular service and employing people who are not members of the clergy or even of their faith, they can't avoid employment laws and tax laws that apply.  and I think it is unconscionable for them to impose their religious views in treating patients, by refusing to do certain lifesaving procedures which do not meet with the Pope and Cardinal Dolan's approval.

      The problem is that it is hard to believe that you represent the One True Faith and also believe in democratic pluralism.  It is even harder to acknowledge the immense suffering that your One  True Faith  has visited on unbelievers and people who bucked religious teachings through the ages, many of whom were women.  It is also hard to face the lies about sexuality that are at the heart of some of the institutional Church's teachings even though they were not Jesus' teachings.  It is also very hard, apparently, to disagree with a patriarchal faith if you are a man.  

      I appreciate that Dionne, Matthews and O'Donnell have a soft spot for e church in which they were nurtured and educated, but that Church has opted focus its attention and to join an unholy alliance to perpetuate it's weakest and most fallible teachings as a way to shore up its authority.  It is the Church that is making them choose between their religion and their principles.

      The scientific uncertainty doesn't mean that climate change isn't actually happening.

      by Mimikatz on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 10:56:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not usually true (11+ / 0-)
        They want to receive federal funds for their charitable works like homeless shelters, their schools and hospitals, AND they want to be able preach (or at least teach) their religious doctrines to the clients they serve in those institutions.

        I have been in private non-profit work for over 25 years (food-help related), and in my experience, the Roman Church does not make listening to homilies or teachings about that faith a prerequisite for receiving help.

        That said, it is worth noting that the US Bishops are acting under direct orders from the Pope to engage in this fight. The pope never issues suggestions to Bishops. It does seem that the current Bishop of Rome is under a lot of pressure from the Curia, and his own conservative approach to  the Church to continue to move back in a rightward direction after John XXIII and Vatican II.

        I'm certain that Rome is scandalized by the liberal direction of the US Catholic laity, and are making a (what appears to be) awkward attempt to reassert their authority through the politics of the time. Perhaps Benedict feels that if they win this battle, the laity of the US Church will be inspired and reconsider  their liberal drift.

        Just like when the Popes of the time figured that if they excommunicated Martin Luther and Henry VIII and other Reformation leaders it would slow down or stop the Protestant Reformation. We all know how that worked out, and how it ultimately led to the unspeakable cruelties of the Spanish Inquisition.

        "We will find fulfillment not in the goods that we have, but in the good we can do for each other." ~ RFK

        by paz3 on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 11:53:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, and it is not just in the USA. 60 Minutes (7+ / 0-)

          did a good piece on Ireland and showed how the Churches there only have a few old people left attending.

          The middle aged and younger people have been driven away because of the pedophile scandals according to the piece.

          I think their may also be a similar thing going on here.  We are not hearing enough about the court case in Philadelphia of Lynn and 2 pedophile priests.  This will be the first time any of these guys have a trial and may end up in jail for their crimes.  Testimony begins March 26 last I heard.

          Congressional elections have consequences!

          by Cordyc on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 12:11:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Inspired to defund the safety net (7+ / 0-)

          They are becoming inspired to become right wing scorched earth Republicans.  Where are suburban parishes spending?  Not funding Catholic Charities, funding prep schools and sports programs.

          •  And it is those, usually a place of worship built (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Loozerio

            after the school and largely as a funding organ to the school, that have some of the worst "Christian" attitudes visible. They are often cold, locally kicking out Girl Scouts, and have a drumbeat of right wing messages.

            The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

            by pelagicray on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 04:11:43 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  It comes down to control. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pengiep, historys mysteries, Loozerio

          The idea that contraception shouldn't be used had to do with growing the flock, e.g. power and money. When their power is questioned, they fight to regain it. Unfortunately, in this case they have no power. The state has the power. If they're going to receive government funding, they have to cede their power. And it has absolutely nothing to do with interfering with their religious freedom, as much as they wish to proclaim so.

          Your left is my right---Mort Sahl

          by HappyinNM on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 12:21:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  They also (12+ / 0-)

          were and still are as corrupt and political as any secular government or power.  They were the overriding western power in the dark ages. All ancient knowledge was suppressed under their reign of terror. They stopped human progress for centuries, with their doctrines of pain and superstition.

          This Church with it's bloody history of repression and anti humanism has no place in our government. the principles we embody as a democracy are in direct opposition to their core beliefs and doctrines.

          Separation of church and state is the only way we as citizens are protected from their POV that believes human activities like sex and knowledge and pursuit of happiness are evil and should be forbidden. why should they be exempt from our secular laws and yet get to dictate doctrine to our representative government?

           

          •  One only had to look at the role of the Catholic (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            shaharazade, Loozerio, mightymouse

            church in its accommodation of the protestant oppressors of the Irish. The Church actually allied itself in many respects with the conquerors to keep official access to its flock. This was described in literary detain in Leon Uris's Trinity and has stuck with me for 30 odd years since.

            "Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens," -Friedrich Schiller "Against Stupidity, the Gods themselves contend in Vain"

            by pengiep on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 01:12:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, what was that sign the Tea Party (5+ / 0-)

        displayed during their tirade against Health Care Reform?

        DON"T TREAD ON ME!

        Santorum, Bishops et al are treading on my right NOT to believe as they do about women's health issues and whether one decides to choose abortion according to each woman's belief in her religion.

        The simple solution is each to do according to their own beliefs.
        But now these zealots are insisting the federal government bends to their beliefs most emanating from the Old Testament.

        I am sick of this.  This is almost a constitutional crisis.  I do not want the church to dictate.  They do no want the Federal Government to dictate.

        The first amendment should be the guide on this.  "shall not establish a religion"

      •  Across the board as this article notes: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Loozerio

        "Komen, Catholic church have long had complicated relationship" with:

        Catholic officials say there is nothing inconsistent about criticizing Komen’s spending policies while accepting money from the charity. They argue that church-affiliated institutions can reach some of the poorest and most underserved women without spending funds in ways that conflict with Catholic teachings.

        The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

        by pelagicray on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 04:15:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Denial, pure and simple (18+ / 0-)

    To many people, what they see transpiring in this country daily with respect to this and similar issues is so terrible and so surreal that they go directly into denial.

    They are unable to cope with the impending reality at all.

    Dionne is clearly experiencing Cognitive Dissonance.

    Whereas I regularly experience Anomie. To me this existence we have no is lawlessness. These extremist religious movements that should be on the fringe with their bizarre sectarian weirdness, are calling the shots and have been for a while. When it is clear that if our laws were enforced, that would have been shut down decades ago or at least shut out of any real power within the state.

  •  Religion has no place defining government and (22+ / 0-)

    governmental functions. However, the bishops say-

    Government has no place defining religion and religious ministry
    really is a shame the bishops dont see the flip side of the coin.
    What do they teach in Catholic schools these days?
     It isnt civics, nor apparently is it tolerance

    "It's never too late to be who you might have been." -George Eliot

    by live1 on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 10:12:47 AM PDT

  •  On Accommodation (13+ / 0-)

    As a Quaker, I am glad that people of my religion can obtain conscientious objector status and therefore not be subject to the draft.

    This is a long-standing accommodation and a good one.  Call me a hypocrite if you will.  I will freely admit it.

    This aggression will not stand, man.

    by kaleidescope on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 10:13:25 AM PDT

    •  your beliefs as a quaker do not trump (11+ / 0-)

      my beliefs as a woman. The minute they do I will let you know!
      I like accommodation. I do not like one religion telling me I am worthless. This is how I see the catholic church view on women
      An the RCC is actively lobbying this view

      "It's never too late to be who you might have been." -George Eliot

      by live1 on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 10:19:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  So you are saying Quaker C.O. has to go? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gchaucer2, wishingwell

        Your point is the country must stop allowing Quakers to cite their religion for  conscientious objector status? I ask because I honestly do not understand if this is your meaning or not.

        •  Render unto Caesar that which is (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          live1

          Caesar's.... But if your taxes are paying for the war machinery and the criminal injustice system, it rather weakens the force of your objection.

          The power of the Occupy movement is that it ....realizes a fundamental truth about American politics… there is no way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs.

          by orson on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 10:34:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I have no idea what this means. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Rogneid

            Honestly, I have no idea what you intend to communicate here.

            It is a simple question. Quaker CO accommodation [should / should not] be allowed in the USA.

            No one has to answer of course, but since you did decide to post an answer, why not actually answer the simple question?

            •  CO yes (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              BPARTR, WheninRome, Rogneid

              but not because you're a Quaker.

              The power of the Occupy movement is that it ....realizes a fundamental truth about American politics… there is no way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs.

              by orson on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 10:50:03 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  So no more Yom Kippur vacations for Jewish kids (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Clem Yeobright, old possum, Rogneid

                You Jewish kids stay in school because it is a school day right? The School board has made out the schedule, so attend or get marked down.

                You want to eat this Friday Catholic kid? Well then you eat that Salisbury Steak. There's not much meat in it.

                You do draw the line consistently at "nothing" right. Just want to be sure.

                •  This country has made accommodations to many (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  dfe, Quicklund, Brooke In Seattle

                  religions, including not requiring a conscientiously objecting Quaker to serve in the military. In this case, the government has made an accommodation to churches (and only churches) that object to the use of contraceptives. It has been determined long ago that these accommodations aren't contrary to the precept of separation of church and state. Now the bishops want to push the goal line a little further, and HHS won't let them. Your premise is correct.

                  Your left is my right---Mort Sahl

                  by HappyinNM on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 12:32:40 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  This is not an accurate parallel. Most schools (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  orson

                  (I don't know, maybe all) will allow children to miss school for serious reasons, including observing their religion.  Also the miitary will allow for conscientious objection if it's a seroius, established belief of that person, and being Quaker certainly helps establish credibility -- but non-Quaker pacifists have also been granted exemptions.

                  All of this has to do with the government allowing space for people with non-majority beliefs to live by their own beliefs.  In a pluralistic democracy, we should do that as much as possible.

                  On the other hand, the Bishops want to be able to affect the behavior of people who do NOT share their beliefs.  They want to deny a Baptist or atheist secretary working for a Catholic university the right to choose insurnace that will cover birth control or (if she ever needs it) abortion.  So it's a matter of the Bishops controlling be choices of non-Catholics.  That is fundamentally different from letting a Quaker do their Quaker thing, or letting a Jewish or Catholic school kid do their particular religious/cultural thing.

                  This all seems straightforward to me.  When civil rights laws were passed, conservative protestant church organizations had to be willing to hire black people -- not in the chuch itself, but in any secular institution run by the church.  The Catholics didn't object to that, as they agreed.  Now we've hit an issue they disagree with, and they're going nuts.

                  The only place I might see an issue is when a Catholic institution is self-insured.  THat means they're much more directly creating and providing a service (insurance) that woudl be required to facilitate behavior they consider gravely immoral.  I need to think about that some more.  Maybe it means they have to provide more than one choice for their employees, including a insurance provider who will cover bc and abortion.

                  The bottom line is, choices for themselves are okay; but they can't impose Catholic rules on non-Catholic employees that deprive them of access to normal, legal, available health-care.

                  "Every part of you belongs to you." -- from a story of Virginia under the Personhood law. Read it here.

                  by Fiona West on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 04:47:06 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Jewish kids get Yom Kippur (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  BYw

                  vacation?  Who knew? Maybe in Queens. Seriously! Taking a long weekend from  school is not really analogous to a dispensation from military service.  What about religious use of peyote by native Americans? If a bishop can put his head up a woman's skirt in the name of religion, why can't the Navaho get high? We can pick nits all day and this dog will still have fleas.

                  The power of the Occupy movement is that it ....realizes a fundamental truth about American politics… there is no way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs.

                  by orson on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 07:21:15 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Seems to me like the difference is (32+ / 0-)

          the Quakers have an accommodation for their own behavior. The catholic church is trying to get an accommodation to enforce behavior on someone else.

        •  the Quakers aren't supposed to fight but (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          skohayes

          they do most definitely serve. There are many ways to serve that don't involve carrying a gun and many of those ways require more courage than wielding a weapon.

          "Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens," -Friedrich Schiller "Against Stupidity, the Gods themselves contend in Vain"

          by pengiep on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 02:23:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Isnt this saying, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Quicklund, Americantrueandblue

        "Accomodations of others' beliefs are good, so long as they are beliefs I agree with"?

    •  Glad I am not the only one (4+ / 0-)

      I amnot sure how much I agree or disagree with this essay because I honestly don't know what point it attempts to make. However I do understand your point and I do agree your view is the one Americans traditionally embrace.

      > As well as letting Jewish kids out of school for Yom Kippur,

      > As well as making sure there are meatless lunch alternatives in school on Fridays.

      These things are so usual in life we sometimes forget these "accommodations" exist. Hmm.

      It is both unrealistic and anti-democratic to think a democratic society cannot accommodate religious concerns. Religious people are no more second-class citizens than are government employees, as GOP union-busters would have us believe.

    •  Accommodation is not an issue at all (16+ / 0-)

      It's only an issue when that accommodation means that somebody else's rights get trampled on.

      I don't see that CO status for your beliefs are doing anybody else any harm.  I suppose an extremist could argue that since you'd never volunteer you'd be accelerating the necessity of a draft, but that's weak tea at best.

      If, for instance, Quakers believed that women should be in the kitchen, not have the right to vote, and that gays should sit down, shut up, and give up the equal rights thing, I'd be disapproving.  If Quakers then worked to legislate that belief, you'd have a mortal enemy on your hands in me.

      You don't.  Quite the opposite.  Quakerism seems to always be trending in the direction of greater acceptance of the diversity of God and the multitudes of voices.  I can work with that without any conflict.

      (-6.25, -6.77) Moderate left, moderate libertarian

      by Lonely Liberal in PA on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 10:32:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The "accomodation" (11+ / 0-)

      is not to the Quaker church.  It is to concientious objection to killing.  There is an enormous difference.  To be a concientious objector does not require one to be a Quaker- and to be a Qaker does not automatically qualify one for concientious objector status.

      An accomodation would  be to say that no Quaker need serve in the military during a time of conscription.  (Neither is simply claiming membership in that sect sufficient for concientious objectior status, nor  does concientious objector status release one from the obligation for national service.) That would  be like saying no Catholic need to be a member of the military, regardless of their actual individual belief.

      Note also , that the accomodation does not permit concientious objectors to impose their beliefs on others.  In other words, just because one person or religious cult is a concientious objector does not require that we disband the military- or that no government ( tax) money go to support it.

      As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

      by BPARTR on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 10:33:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But, the US does recognize Quakerism as valid (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        old possum

        Under the point made by the diarist, there is no room in American life for religious accommodations. Yet under US law, a service member can justify a CO request on the grounds of his Quaker religion. under the diarist's definitions, the US could not have such a law. Yet she does.

        •  The state has no power to "recognize" diddly or (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BPARTR

          squat.

          If it did, we wouldn't have the Universal Life Church spitting out credentials for people's pets to become reverends.

          And minority sects certainly wouldn't be able to declare themselves 5013cs.

        •  NO. Concientious objector status (0+ / 0-)

          is not

          on the grounds of his Quaker religion
          .  It is on the grounds of opposition to killing- and the effect that would have on the life and safety, not to mention effectiveness of the military.  Claiming membership in the Quaker sect does NOT make one a concientious objector- it is merely one piece of evidence of a concientious objection to killing.

          Most important, "accomodation" to that personal belief- since it is also in the interest of the military not to have soldiers who will not kill, is in no way similar to the "religious Freedom tm" which allows people whose church heirarchy opposes birth control to try to prohibit others from using it.

          As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

          by BPARTR on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 12:28:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That is not what I said but thanks anyway (0+ / 0-)

            I did not say being a Quaker was an automatic anything. Quakerismt is recognized officially by the guovernment as one of the accepted rationales that document one's pacifism.

            Like it or not, the US government recognizes and respects Quarkerism (in this particular example) on some level. It respects and respects many religions through many accommodations in public life.

            Life in the USA is not and has never been as this diary claims. American democracy is not about exterminating all recognition of religion in government. Religion exists, American citizens are religions. Their rights are as valid as anyone's. Their opinions therefore naturally make up the democratic brew called American society.

            •  I apologise. (0+ / 0-)

              I was only responding to what you wrote (that the concientious objector status was given "on the grounds of his Quaker Religion (sic)", not what you were apparently thinking.

               

              US government recognizes and respects Quarkerism
              only to the extent that it "respects" all religions, including, supposedly, Islam.

              I stand by my comment that it is not Quakerism per se which grants one the status of concientious objector.  It is not automatic for anyone who claims to be a member of the Society of Friends.

              And yes, some or even most, but  most assuredly not all Americans are religious.  - Which is all the more reason that the wall of separation between church and State exists.  Jefferson's letter to the  Dansborough Baptists was to reassure them that they would not be under the thumb of Congregationalists.  The BC controversy would have us all under the thumb of the Catholics.

              The whole point of this discussion is that the views of some (but not all) Catholics and Evangelicals should not dictate to the rest of us.  As several people have pointed out, the fact that Quakers abhor violence and take alternate service is not used as a basis to prevent others from serving in the military- and their taxes continue to go to support foreign wars- even ones of primary agression like Iraq.  Somehow, the religious views of some are used to prevent everyone's taxes from supporting women's health and the right to choose.

              As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

              by BPARTR on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 03:26:36 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I never said it was Quakerism per se (0+ / 0-)

                We never disagreed on that. My point has nothing to do with the Quakerism EXAMPLE at all. Pick another EXAMPLE if this one is getting in the way of understanding. There are any number of such examples.

                The point is outlined in the very first post of this thread. The laws in America do in point of fact accommodate religious sensibilities.

                The diarist who wrote this essay claims this is not the case. This thread challenged that claim.

                Has this 15th or so repetition of the context of this particular thread been sufficient?

      •  And as I said in another post, during Vietnam, my (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Quicklund, Heart of the Rockies

        ex was told he had to do alternate service to military service when he was drafted. He was a Quaker so he got it approved that he could do a year or two working in a nursing home for Quakers in another state. He left the family business for almost 2 years and worked fulltime in a nursing home. The government approved that as Alternate Duty.

    •  Not equivalent (6+ / 0-)

      At all.  There are good reasons why there is a conscientious objector status -- how effective a soldier would such a person be?  How likely would they be to desert?  How much of a liability would they be to a unit in combat, when the others do not know if the soldier will perform his duties as expected?

      Conscientious objector status has a logical rationale behind it.

      And, more importantly, your conscientious objector status ONLY APPLIES TO YOU.  You cannot say to the government "I do not want anyone to serve in the military because it violates my religious beliefs".

      The contraception issue is the same.  You can choose not to use contraception.  Bully for you for exercising that choice in either direction.  But you cannot choose for someone else whether they have that choice.

    •  I'm glad you admit it, because it's true. :) (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BPARTR, GreenMother

      Conscientious objections are no more defensible when they are based on religion than when they are not based on religion.

      In fact, I'd argue that religious-based objections are LESS defensible, because they are most likely based on religious dogma than on rational reflection, and thus have LESS to do with conscience than with blind obedience.

      •  So you are against CO entirely? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Clem Yeobright

        Current law allows for both religious and non-religious justification for CO status. I assume you abject to all CO justifications?

        •  All I see in your posts is this (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          zizi

          You want to preserve your personal right to Conscientious objection even if it means depriving women of their unalienable right to control their own bodies.

          Wow.

          I doubt you have much to worry about with respect to that.

          Women's rights are under assault, not Conscientious Objectors.

          I dont see anyone trying to blow up your churches or send snipers to get you.

          But they do that to family planning clinics and to medical personnel who perform abortions.

          I don't see anyone harassing or stalking you or your kind for Objecting or being a pacifist. But women are slut shamed daily in the national media for simply requesting BC pills.

          If you don't want women to have equal rights then just spit it out and say it already.

          It would be more honest.

      •  Yes and no... (0+ / 0-)
        Conscientious objections are no more defensible when they are based on religion than when they are not based on religion.

        In fact, I'd argue that religious-based objections are LESS defensible, because they are most likely based on religious dogma than on rational reflection, and thus have LESS to do with conscience than with blind obedience.

        Agreed with your point on religion as a CO defense, but does current law only allow CO status for Quakers?

        But, about conscience, what if one's acceptance of religious dogma in one's particular faith tradition is an act of conscience? What if obedience is not "blind," but is an act of conscience based on acceptance of the teachings of one's faith?

        Do you see where this goes? All Roman Catholic clergy take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, out of a conscience-based decision that the faith tradition is correct in this teaching.

        "We will find fulfillment not in the goods that we have, but in the good we can do for each other." ~ RFK

        by paz3 on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 01:09:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I was once engaged to a Quaker who during (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Quicklund, Friend of the court

      Vietnam , he was able to avoid the draft only if he did community service fulltime for a year and he had to submit documentation of that.  So he went to a Quaker Nursing Home and he worked there fulltime. He left the Family Farm and Orchard and went out of state to the Quaker Retirement Village and Nursing Home.

      He said most people think Quakers were able to just escape the draft but in reality, they had to do approved community service fulltime for at least a year. That was his experience in 1968. ( interestingly he was a Republican, I wonder if he still is.). We used to have debates about whether Nixon was a crook. You can imagine what side I took on the issue..LOL.

    •  There is a big difference between (5+ / 0-)

      accommodation to an individual's religious beliefs and using the government to enforce one religion's doctrines on non believers of those doctrines.  

      Using the birth control parallel, if Roman Catholics believe that all able bodied men should be drafted, then all are drafted regardless of the Quaker beliefs.  

      Once you cross the threshold out of strictly religion institutions, then secular laws need to apply for the common good and individual religious beliefs should only be accommodated for that individual.  People are free to follow their own beliefs, not to impose them on others.

      “when Democrats don’t vote, Democrats don’t win.” Alan Grayson

      by ahumbleopinion on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 11:06:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That is a different debate. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RockyMtnLib

        This thread started to counter the diarist's claim that there is no room for religious accommodations in the USA, full stop.

        Yet countless such accommodations do exist in law. most people are used to them and find them quite natural. And yes that includes non-religious people.

        •  I have nothing against accomodations (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Quicklund, a2nite, RockyMtnLib, skohayes

          when they are choices that do not harm others, when they are not forced on non believers, and when they are available to all religions.  

          “when Democrats don’t vote, Democrats don’t win.” Alan Grayson

          by ahumbleopinion on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 11:23:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think that is what kalidioscope was working at. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Americantrueandblue

            Religious accommodation is not bad for America. False accommodations are bad. Accommodations which are really impositions in practice are bad.

            Which represents, I think, a different philosophy than the one held by the diarist.

          •  I fear that that this sounds awefully close to, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Quicklund

            "Accoomodations are great when they're accomodating beliefs I agree with.  They're bad when I their for beliefs I don't agree with."

            When it comes to the contraception compromise that is at issue -- the arrangement arrived at does not prevent anybody from acquiring birth control.  It just makes the church pay for it in a less direct way.  Does that arrangement still "harm others"?

            •  Yes, it harms others because it puts the (0+ / 0-)

              burden of paying for birth control, either for contraceptive or medical use on poor women who are least able to manage the expense of the medication or an unintended pregnancy.

              It increases the overall cost of health care that we all end up paying more for either in higher premiums or higher taxes.  It increases the federal deficit and local health care spending because the costs of unintended pregnancies or untreated medical conditions often are covered by government programs.

              It increases the heavy burden on American workers who are already struggling with lower wages and benefits.

              It increases the number of abortions which are expensive, difficult to obtain, and not without medical risks and causes unneeded suffering even in families who believe that they must make that choice.

              No one is forcing anyone to use birth control so the church and its members who believe in the ban are not being harmed at any where near the level of the families that are being harmed by making these medications more difficult and more costly for the patients who need them.

              What if the church doctrine was opposed to mental health drugs? Or vaccinations?  Would you support a ban on these treatments for anyone who had the misfortune to work for a person who did not believe in it?

              The employee or student is paying for the insurance either directly or as part of their total compensation.  Why should the coverage that they are paying for be subject to arbitrary limitations by their employer?

              “when Democrats don’t vote, Democrats don’t win.” Alan Grayson

              by ahumbleopinion on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 03:27:33 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  I didn't get that at all (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ladyjames

          I felt like the diarist was addressing the abuse of religious accommodation in order to impose religious hegemony on other citizens.

    •  Accommodation would be moot... (0+ / 0-)

      ...if we had a non-military option for national service.

      When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 11:34:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You aren't an organized religion. You are free (0+ / 0-)

      to believe or not and practice your beliefs as you choose.  The Church is not acting as a person with rights here but as a business (corporation) and contrary to SCOTUS must follow the law.  Following the Church's logic they should have veto power over how an employee spends her paycheck because it come out of their coffers.  And it pains me to have to deny my offering to my local parish where my daughter got a wonderful, progressive and compassion centered education.  I will however contribute to the gentle Sisters who do the work while the men in cassocks and funny hats piously take the self-righteous credit.

    •  Not only for Quakers (0+ / 0-)

      Conscientious Objector's are not all Quakers and some have no religious beliefs what so ever. The idea of objection to violence as an acceptable solution is well-reasoned and accepted and not based merely on ones religious faith saying you have to accommodate my random belief because my deity says so.  I am an atheist and I am fairly close to the position that finds all violence unacceptable.

      My point is that a religion has a right to argue for or against anything based upon their faith. If they convince enough other people of the rightness of their position then they win. If the only argument they can bring to the table is "My faith said this is the way it has to be," they are not likely to convince many people outside of their faith.

  •  American Catholics Becoming Calvinist Protestants (25+ / 0-)

    It's no accident that Cardinal Cardinal Richelieu was using Catholicism to terrorize France at the same time Oliver Cromwell's Puritans were rampaging all over the UK.

    As Catholic extremism swept France and anti-Catholic extremism swept the UK, both countries ended up being run by religious nuts with remarkably similar agendas.

    Extremist authoritarians tend to converge on the same sorts of behaviors.

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 10:13:31 AM PDT

  •  If we allow (17+ / 0-)

    religious exemptions to civil law, that ultimately means allowing people to fly airplanes into buildings, provided that they do so for religious reasons.

    Isn't it funny how those folks who have their panties in such a wad over Sharia law coming here would be the first to impose their own version of it if only they could.

    Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

    by drewfromct on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 10:14:27 AM PDT

  •  If a diary is from Armando.... (8+ / 0-)

    ...it is always worth the time to read it.

  •  What is your complaint again? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat

    He supports a health care plan that gives women the insurance coverage they need. Do you oppose the compromise reached by the Obama administration?

    He warns his American Catholic church not to abandon faith for politics. His premise states his opinion that religious influence in American politics is about to ebb.

    •  I do actually oppose the compormise (11+ / 0-)

      I think that civil alw trumps religious "law" at all  times, since one is a reflection of representative government, and the other is a mandate imposed upon people by a few privileged few who claim, with no evidence, to represent a supposedly divine being who is suposed to have dominion over us.

      As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

      by BPARTR on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 10:36:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What do you oppose (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        old possum

        The law prior to the compromise provided the needed services to the people who need them.

        The law after the compromise provided the needed services to the people who need them.

        The goal of health care law is to deliver health care. So I can only conclude your opposition is based entirely upon your personal disgust for religion. This is simply the other side of the coin of those who personally revere their religion. Neither opinion trumps the other.

        For me a good compromise is one which allows the health care law to deliver the health care requested. But thanks for answering. I have no idea what the diarist means.

  •  This issue is a farce, IMHO. (31+ / 0-)

    Health insurance benefits are earned compensation. The money spent on premiums is thus NOT the employer's money, it is the worker's money. An employer might as well object, on some moral or religious ground, to what a worker does with his paycheck.

    Everyone accepts that it's none of my employer's business if I want to spend my paycheck on hookers and porn, or drop it in the collection plate on Sunday. To say that an employer should be allowed to interfere with the insurance options of the people whose money is being spent--that would be the worker--is ridiculous.

    "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

    by happy camper on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 10:17:16 AM PDT

    •  and considering that women pay about 30-50% (9+ / 0-)

      more on health ins. than men do, I really am mad. Supposedly hcr will address this issue

      "It's never too late to be who you might have been." -George Eliot

      by live1 on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 10:23:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Except they do. (6+ / 0-)

      I have seen help wanted ads that specify non-smokers only.  That's something a person chooses to do with their paycheck, on their own time that an employer feels is their business.  And their excuse is that it raises the cost of health insurance premiums. So, yeah, employers feel they CAN control their employees' lives.

      I work for a non-profit with a religious affiliation and currently they are attempting to impose a policy that says if I make a comment here, on my own time, that is not supportive of a policy of that religion, they can fire me for a 'policy violation.'  Regardless if I am a member of that religion.

      •  Yep, saw that coming (6+ / 0-)

        Non-Religious businesses are trying to do the same.

        At which point I would be ready for a National Strike of Everyone.

        Reality Check.

        No Freedom?
        No Workie!

      •  Yes about the smoking thing as my husband;s (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Rogneid, ladyjames

        job in retail , the benefits package states that a nonsmoker can get a lower rate on their health insurance. A nonsmoker will pay a lower premium.  And it states ....

        Ex smokers can also get a reduction on their health insurance but only if they go through our approved smoking cesssation course and complete it to the satisfaction of their smoking cessation assigned counselor.  
        Then it states....
        An employee or dependents who states they have stopped smoking and completed the smoking cessation program can be randomly tested and it is discovered that they are still smoking, the employee can be terminated.
        We found out that the employee could be a nonsmoker but say their spouse who does not work there but is on the company health insurance plan as a Dependent smokes.  HR told us...
        Yes, even if the employee is a nonsmoker and the dependent is a smoker, neither of you are eligible to receive the health insuirance Non smoking discount. All dependents must be tobacco free and YES the employee can be fired if it is discovered the Spouse is Smoking and tests positive if they falsely claim they are all Non smokers.
        We think it is fine if they fire employees for lying about smoking and test positive as they would be receiving lower cost health insurance and the bonus for a falsehood. We were just shocked that a spouse NOT working there could be tested and if they tested positive, the employee could be fired because of the spouse..YIkes.

        If it is happening at this major retailer, this will become more common.

    •  Then why isn't it on your W-2? (0+ / 0-)

      Am I right, or am I right? - The Singing Detective

      by Clem Yeobright on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 11:01:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Because the employer reports it and takes a (0+ / 0-)

        deduction for it as a business expense.  But it is part of total compensation.

        The scientific uncertainty doesn't mean that climate change isn't actually happening.

        by Mimikatz on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 11:27:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Employer provided health insurance (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        offgrid

        began as a way of getting around WWII era wage and price controls. The IRS ruled at the time that such amounts were not taxable to the employee.

        It is compensation for work performed, though, not a gift from the employer.

        "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

        by happy camper on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 12:37:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sure hope you're not one of those who criticizes (0+ / 0-)

          the catholic church for justifying itself on the basis of some obscure council in the 5th century ...

          If it's compensation for work performed, then liberals ought to be demanding it be taxed as compensation, doncha think?

          Am I right, or am I right? - The Singing Detective

          by Clem Yeobright on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 03:32:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Good job. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    live1, Aunt Pat

    "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed." General Buck Turgidson

    by muledriver on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 10:17:23 AM PDT

  •  When "The Church" becomes nothing more than... (15+ / 0-)

    a wing of the Republican Party, it has allowed itself to become a tool of manipulative politicians who are willing to do anything at all to gain and retain power.  OTOH, maybe the religious right are determined to gain political power, using the cloak of the church to do so.  Do any of these "religious" right "leaders" support any Democrats, or any of the Democratic agenda?  

    What church, and what belief system will be the ones dictating the laws to all the people of the land?  The Catholic church?  The fundamentalist evangelicals?  The Mormon church?  

    Or other will other, non-Christian religions, gain the power to dictate the laws of the land, as the demographics of the nation change?  

    Religious freedom doesn't mean the freedom to shove one's religion down the throats of people who don't share the same narrow-minded, tyrannical views.

    We can be a Democracy--or we can be ruled by religious tyrants who are becoming more and more bullying, like the Ayatollas of Iran and the Taliban--but we can't be both.

     

  •  Obama should stop saying how "Christian" he is. (6+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, xaxnar, GreenMother, varii, pitbullgirl65, sonorelli
    Hidden by:
    zizi

    Obama is just as bad, trotting out how Christian he is as though that qualifies him to be president.  We have not heard JFK's speech from Obama, just Obama's version of the religious rights speech on how faithful he is and they are.

    "I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute" JFK

    Obama, equivocator in chief will never make that statement.

    If someone puts their religious beliefs first then they are disqualified to be president of this secular democratic republic.

    That should be the real message and debate, people like Santorum and all the other pseudo religiosity types should be disqualified from office in government since they must put their religious beliefs above adherence to US Constitution..

  •  The real cognitive dissonance here is really (14+ / 0-)

    being experienced by the RC Bishops. Increasingly, rank-and-file RCs are in near total disagreement with the teachings of the Church on birth control AND abortion. On the other end of the spectrum, they tend to be out of line with teachings against the death penalty. There is an enormous disconnect between how many RCs practice both their faith and their politics and the official teachings of the Church. So who prevails here?

    I frankly think that the entire situation is out of control. It's a shame we have pulled religion so far into the public square that nearly everything must be seen--so people tend to think--through the light of religious beliefs even very secular issues.

    Santorum: Man on Dog; Romney: Dog on Car. Ren and Stimpy: Dog on Cat equalitymaine.org

    by commonmass on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 10:28:56 AM PDT

  •  Whatever your religious beliefs (6+ / 0-)

    you have no right to impose them on me. I'm willing to concede the Beatitudes. Beyond that, put a sock in it.

    The power of the Occupy movement is that it ....realizes a fundamental truth about American politics… there is no way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs.

    by orson on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 10:29:34 AM PDT

    •  But just talking about religion (3+ / 0-)

      isn't the same thing as "imposing" it.

      An armed society is... a society in which a lot of people get shot.

      by lungfish on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 10:44:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nope. But witholding access to birth control, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lungfish

        especially to the many, many non-RC staff at Catholic universities and hospitals IS imposing religion on people. That's part of my problem with the Bishop's position.

        Of course, they don't see it that way. I guess I'm more of a "if you don't like birth control or abortion, don't use it/have one, but what I do is not your business".  The line that's getting blurred here, IMO, is the difference between the authority the that Church has over Catholics and secular law. They can compel a Catholic woman not to have an abortion under threat of excommunication and refuse to provide it to Catholic employees, but can they do that to the Presbyterian nurse who works in the ward? People forget that many of the staff in Catholic hospitals and schools are NOT Catholic themselves.

        I would think the Bishops would respect the conscience of their non-Catholic employees, rather than attempt to evangelize them by subjecting them to Church law. Canon law does not, last time I checked, trump secular law.

        Santorum: Man on Dog; Romney: Dog on Car. Ren and Stimpy: Dog on Cat equalitymaine.org

        by commonmass on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 11:02:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  As opposed to imposing your secular beliefs? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      old possum

      Truth is, any time you seek to make legislation, you seek to have laws of the nation reflect your beliefs.

      •  Hopefully your secular beliefs will (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ahumbleopinion, ladyjames

        be guided by sweet reason rather than your interpretation of divine will. That was most definitely what Madison, Franklin and Jefferson had in mind,

        The power of the Occupy movement is that it ....realizes a fundamental truth about American politics… there is no way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs.

        by orson on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 10:53:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Access means an option, not an edict. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ladyjames

        What the Church and other religious institutions are doing here is in violation of our labor laws. They are trying way to skirt it.

        We withhold Job which equales money-food-shelter-comfort until you toe our line.

        Sounds like hostage taking to me.

    •  Actually I prefer an alternative Golden Rule (0+ / 0-)

      "Do not do unto others what you would not want  them to do unto you" rather  than the usual formulation because not everyone likes the same things but more tend to dislike the same kinds of treatment.  That is in Matthew (and Luke) as well and is reflected in some other religions.  Pretty basic.

      The scientific uncertainty doesn't mean that climate change isn't actually happening.

      by Mimikatz on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 11:18:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Similar? (7+ / 0-)

    Dionne's work here reminds me of another pundit, Thomas Friedman, who is always seeking a middle ground occupied by people just like himself, critical of the people who take principled stands on either side of an issue. As a practical matter, Dionne, like Friedman, concedes most of the substance to the right-wing argument: it's the appearance of compromise, not the substance of the result, which is important. Both seem unable to understand why everyone can't just give up their deeply-held beliefs and do it their way. Then there would be no fighting and everyone would be happy.

    •  Sure they can (3+ / 0-)

      If you pay your taxes and follow the law--then more power to you. I don't care if you dance with snakes and drink kerosene or kill chickens under the full moon.

      If you come into my house, however and attempt to make me adhere to your personal beliefs, stand by to receive my holy boot in your ass.

      We are a nation of laws.

      We are not a theocracy, we are not run by lugals or god-kings, or alien overlords.

  •  I agree with Dionne, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ma2004

    and disagree with this diary; I would argue that the Catholic church has lobbied against the death penalty and the other things mentioned in a meaningful way.  

    An armed society is... a society in which a lot of people get shot.

    by lungfish on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 10:39:13 AM PDT

  •  As I watched the video of JFK and the separation (14+ / 0-)

    of church and state, I started to weep.

    What is happening in this country is so messed up.

    When we lost Kennedy, we really lost.
    Really really lost.

    Nearly 1/2 century later, and the effects are so powerful.

    As an aside, I am reading Stephen King's amazing book about Kennedy "11/22/63". Just makes this video all the more painful.

    I was in grade school when he was shot. I remember my fear. At the time, I felt I had lost someone as close as my father. I was so afraid that our country was going to be in turmoil like a family is when the mom or dad die.

    I didn't realize that my fear was an early warning, something subconscious, that it was actually a premonition of the destruction of the progressive country and lifestyle and belief structure that Kennedy was envisioning for us.

    sad times indeed

    “Quickly, bring me a beaker of wine, so that I may wet my mind and say something clever.”-Aristophanes

    by karma13612 on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 10:40:05 AM PDT

    •  Ah, another member of the "Kennedy cult" (0+ / 0-)

      Evidently, there's a move underway by the establishment to smear JFK.

      That op-ed piece is as deceitful as anything that appears in the NY Times. It doesn't mention that getting the Nuclear Test Ban treaty passed was a tremendous personal achievement of Kennedy's, or his NSAM 263, which ordered disengagement from Vietnam. Johnson countermanded that after Kennedy's assassination. Instead of looking at the actual history, that NY Times hack blames JFK for the Vietnam War.

      •  how sad. (0+ / 0-)

        Although I don't consider myself a blind follower of Kennedy, because I was so young, and never interested in politics until 4 years ago actually. But, there was such a palpable sense of loss. I could never put my finger on it, but maybe it was the collective unconscious around me that I was feeling. There was a real sense of loss that seems to have stayed with me all these years.

        I was not aware of any smear movement, yet i am not surprised. "They" seem to want to set us back centuries. Take away women's rights, turn our government into a theocracy, and destroy our symbols of freedom and sanity and descency.

        Every day, I get a little sadder.

        I think the country is going to start to come together into small groups, communities if you will, that are like minded. We will have to rely on each other, and just live the best we can within our common values and resources and future visions for the area we inhabit.  I don't think our country can survive on a national scale any longer. Even at state level it is so corrupt.  You can't trust the people you vote for because once they are out of eye contact with their constituents, they do whatever the hell they want. They don't feel responsible or answerable to the people who put them in office. So, how does government expect to work?

        I know these are late-evening, naive thoughts. But, I just don't see it ever getting better.

        “Quickly, bring me a beaker of wine, so that I may wet my mind and say something clever.”-Aristophanes

        by karma13612 on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 07:14:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  TPM, Santorum, and Porn - and Ezekial 23:20 (6+ / 0-)

    Over at TPM, they've got a look at Santorum charging the Obama Justice Department is Pro-Porn.

    Asked to defend this odd claim, Santorum argued Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union that the Justice Department is not enforcing pornography laws as rigorously as President George W. Bush’s DOJ did.

    “Well you have to look at the proof that’s in the prosecution. Under the Bush administration, pornographers were prosecuted much more rigorously under existing law than they are under the Obama administration,” Santorum said. “My conclusion is they have not put a priority on prosecuting these cases, and in doing so, they are exposing children to a tremendous amount of harm. And that to me says they’re putting the un-enforcement of this law and putting children at risk as a result of that.”

    It’s not clear what data there is to back up Santorum’s claim, and his spokesman did not immediately return TPM’s inquiry for evidence. A Justice Department spokesperson also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    Santorum is probably trying to use Cokie's Law here - if it's out there, there must be something to it. It ties in with the GOP anti-woman, anti-sex crusade, not to mention Santorum's extreme Christianist base.

    In comments, TheHereticalEconomist points out Santorum's little porn problem - if you know where to look, the Bible is pretty explicit.

    Look it up:
    There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses - Ezekiel 23:20

    I certainly didn't believe it until I looked it up on bible.com.

    Religion is a bit like the Force, (and Duct Tape) in that it has a light side and a dark side. You can use religion for Salvation or Damnation.  It's pretty clear where the Irreligious Right is going with this. The American Taliban are alive and well.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 10:41:00 AM PDT

    •  Republican Taliban, please. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite

      Do not insult innocent Americans by including us in with the Republican Taliban.

      “when Democrats don’t vote, Democrats don’t win.” Alan Grayson

      by ahumbleopinion on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 11:19:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But it's bipartisan, alas (0+ / 0-)

        Consider this item picked up by Digby

        That's right, it's a tough election fight and the last thing Democrats need is to look like all they care about is a bunch of whiny bitches. Let's not lose our heads here.

        Believe me, this is not an uncommon reaction. How do I know this? Because I've been watching this go down for my entire adult life. Any time "women's issues" start to become prominent, a certain kind of liberal male gets very nervous. The stuff I heard during the 1992 "year of the woman" election was enough to curl my hair. And I see no reason to believe anything's changed. I've already seen plenty of evidence that it hasn't.

        I'll be looking for a major Stanley Greenberg poll any day now showing that allowing all these women's issues to dominate is alienating the American Holy Grail --- the white male. We'll be back to fetishizing NASCAR and fightinterrists with our bare hands right quick.

        You don't have to belong to the Taliban to be an enabler.

        "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

        by xaxnar on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 03:25:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Try the Song of Solomon (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      xaxnar

      Aka Song of Songs.

      There's more in the Bible than you can imagine.

      The scientific uncertainty doesn't mean that climate change isn't actually happening.

      by Mimikatz on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 11:31:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  ahhh the irony..... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      xaxnar
      Santorum said. “My conclusion is they have not put a priority on prosecuting these cases, and in doing so, they are exposing children to a tremendous amount of harm. And that to me says they’re putting the un-enforcement of this law and putting children at risk as a result of that.”
      Meanwhile back in "real life" the Bishops are protecting pedophile priests.  WHO did do real harm to children.  sigh gotta love the irony.
    •  A stretch (0+ / 0-)
      Santorum is probably trying to use Cokie's Law here - if it's out there, there must be something to it.

      In comments, TheHereticalEconomist points out Santorum's little porn problem - if you know where to look, the Bible is pretty explicit.

      There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses - Ezekiel 23:20
      I certainly didn't believe it until I looked it up on bible.com.
      Good grief! This is an allegory: The prophet Ezekiel is referring to the sins of Jerusalem, the "she" is named as Oholibah (i.e., "my tent is in her," meaning God's dwelling place or tent) and Ezekiel is describing how Jerusalem had been whoring herself out, and using a graphic example - no doubt drawn from real life examples that had occurred in Ezekiel's reference.

      Look, I don't care for porn, and Santorum has a sexual fixation issue that none of the Trad Media have the cojones to call him out on, but it's a stretch to tie this passage to porn and society - unless one believes that the US is the modern-day Whore of Babylon (originally the Roman Empire under Nero, and after)!

      "We will find fulfillment not in the goods that we have, but in the good we can do for each other." ~ RFK

      by paz3 on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 02:22:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  So you're saying Ezekiel called Jerusalem a slut? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gsenski

        Funny how the right wing keeps recycling it's material. ;-)

        Don't tell Rush about the Allegory defense, please!

        "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

        by xaxnar on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 03:21:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Having Peggy Noonan appear (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    on the same shows (Eat the Press) and dueling in their papers, is confusing the sh*t out of him... He might as well pull up next to Pat Buchanan.   Like our Dem Pols, the pundits are becoming too old to be relevant anymore...

    Obams wins 2012.  Who the heck do we have for 2016?  Anyone?

    Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.

    by EdMass on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 10:42:09 AM PDT

  •  Is it not true (3+ / 0-)

    that this:

    (1) insure religious liberty and freedom by complete government non-interference with freedom of worship; and (2) insure religious liberty and freedom by insisting that no religion shall be exempt from our secular laws when such religions engage in secular activity.
    is not only the progressive position, but also the position of the law, and supported by the courts? Particularly when Justice Scalia wrote:
    Conscientious scruples have not, in the course of the long struggle for religious toleration, relieved the individual from obedience to a general law not aimed at the promotion or restriction of religious beliefs. The mere possession of religious convictions which contradict the relevant concerns of a political society does not relieve the citizen from the discharge of political responsibilities.
    (emphasis added)
  •  The problem is with the Bishops themselves. (11+ / 0-)

    Whatever legal argument you can come up with to counter the bishops, this is their starting point:

    (1) I want you to accept my definition of religious liberty;
    (2) I don't care what you are interested in.

    Have you ever heard from any bishop who is thinking about the needs/rights of women?
    Me neither.

    •  I have (0+ / 0-)
      Have you ever heard from any bishop who is thinking about the needs/rights of women?
      Me neither.
      How about the Most Reverend Katherine Jefferts-Schori? How about his grace the Right Reverend Eugene Robinson? I could go on...

      "We will find fulfillment not in the goods that we have, but in the good we can do for each other." ~ RFK

      by paz3 on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 02:26:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Dionne is a Beltway poodle (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    varii, Ron Thompson

    Why make him an important part of the discussion? He's one of the star "liberal" guys trotted out at Beltway gang parties. C'mon, he's in the inner stable of the WaPo! Nuff' said.

  •  Church + State = Heresy + Treason nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Friend of the court

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 10:51:46 AM PDT

  •  Speaking of Extremist Religious Nutbags (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Friend of the court, gsenski

    Atheists Wash Florida Road Christians Anointed With Oil

    “This anointment ritual was to call out the angels to check each car that entered the county, to make sure they were Christian, and if they weren’t Christian, they would either follow Christian beliefs or get put in jail,” Wachs told ABC News.
    One things for certain, these folks, and have been for a long time, are far worse then the newer religious, of another faith, sect called the 'Taliban', and frankly through our much shorter history have been just as destructive as to killings etc.!

    Vets On FLOTUS and SLOTUS, "Best - Ever": "We haven't had this kind of visibility from the White House—ever." Joyce Raezer - Dec. 30, 2011

    by jimstaro on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 10:59:20 AM PDT

  •  HST talked about the way (0+ / 0-)

    the Reagan admin. and the religious right fused The Book of Revelations with American foreign policy.

    They certainly fucking did! I was a child then with fears of the Cold War, nuclear bombs, The Rapture and Armageddon all rolled into one nice little mindfuck burrito and fed to me...by the religious right. Their propaganda..how it reached me, I can't recall. Probably because I was a poor kid.

    Then I got older and read books. Now I'm thinking like HST. Rapture dumbasses are still waiting to be returned to Jesus. I've been loooong freed from that mind prison. Long before the 90s even. WTF is wrong with them?

    Privilege. Has to be.

    "It's not enough to acknowledge privilege. You have to resist." -soothsayer

    by GenXangster on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 11:00:05 AM PDT

  •  What a very strange piece. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mimikatz
    The Catholic Church in America will not be an ally of progressives
    I have a hard time with anybody who says something like that.

    Yes, the Catholic Church will not agree with man progressives on some issues, especially with regard to birth control and abortion, but...

    I'm old enough to remember the Berrigan brothers and their involvement in the anti-war movement.

    I don't have to be very old at all to remember (don't need to remember, either -- he's still there) Chicago's own Father Pfleger.

    Anti-war, anti-death penalty, pro-social justice.

    Yeah, these people can't possibly be progressive allies.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 11:00:57 AM PDT

    •  The Berrigans were not supported by (0+ / 0-)

      the hierarchy of the Church and it was only after the public
      opposition to war became impossible to ignore did the Church jump on the anti-war bandwagon.  The Church followed the Brothers, not the other way around.  The Church is a political organization as well as a 'religious' one (and when I say 'Church' I mean the hierarchy) and will evolve or die just as the hard right will.

      •  Ahem, "The Church followed the Brothers" (0+ / 0-)

        Following or leading, they went to the right place.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 04:57:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Come to think of it... (0+ / 0-)

          I used to be pretty active in support of the United Farm Workers and their boycotts of lettuce and grapes back in the 70s -- seems to me the local Catholic church was de facto headquarters for the local effort and certainly a major source of support.

          My suspicion is that progressives are unhappy that the Church stands by its religious principles even when actively engaging the secular world.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 05:00:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Secular State and Federal government didn't reach (5+ / 0-)

    "accommodation" with the LDS Church regarding its long-standing position on polygamy.  So, why must our government seek an accommodation with the Catholic  Church regarding insurance coverage for legal and widely-accepted women's healthcare?

    "What's next?" - President Josiah Bartlet, The West Wing

    by shaf on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 11:05:51 AM PDT

  •  Incisive, insightful and thought-provoking... (5+ / 0-)

    But you had it and you lost it when you went too far:

    "...When engaged in secular activities, religions (and religious persons) must abide by our secular laws. This simple proposition should not be difficult to comprehend and accept...."
    full stop!

    It isn't a 'proposition.'  It is a defining principle of democracy!!

    Twenty-eight states had already 'infringed upon Roman Catholic religious freedom' when - for a decade or more - they had  insisted on the very same rules that Obama's DHHS sought to codify.  

    More plausibly, this is only the Bishops' wet kiss to the Republican party.  Italy has the right idea: The Church ought to be taxed on all its commercial properties and profit-making ventures.

  •  Excellent. (0+ / 0-)

    I'd rather have a buntle afrota-me than a frottle a bunta-me.

    by David54 on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 11:19:11 AM PDT

  •  We'll win this battle and then win the battle (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eXtina

    to make them fund abortions.  

    Rick Perry is George Bush without brains.

    by thestructureguy on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 11:21:10 AM PDT

  •  Unfortunate title, though (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eXtina

    If religion influenced our government it could be a good thing--for example, do unto others, etc.

    The actual problem is how "religion" is being used as a Trojan Horse to insert exclusive, partisan, economic and political influence on our government.

    If I could wave a magic wand....if I had my own vast media empire, I would capture the religious movement and overwhelm it with what should have been its highest aim:

    VIRTUE

    Go back to fundamentals of The American Revolution.
    Founding Father.
    Classic Virtues
    Render unto Ceaser...separation of church and state.

    I'd also LOVE to be able to influence religions who are trying to impinge on government.....Hold them up to their own supposed standards.

    SCORECARD?

    Who did more good lately? Religion or Government?
    How many lives saved, poor fed and clothed, widows and orphans protected?

  •  Progressive Christians DO exist (0+ / 0-)

    I guess you haven't heard of Jim Wallis and Sojourners.

    So you are simply wrong when you claim that "seek[ing] religious allies in the progressive fight" is "a fool's errand". That position only makes sense if you take the Roman Catholic church to stand for all of Christianity, which evidently you do.

    •  They have had all this time to fight back (0+ / 0-)

      And yet nothing.

      Or is that there is only 2 or 5 or something?

      •  Drowned out (0+ / 0-)
        They have had all this time to fight back. And yet nothing.

        Or is that there is only 2 or 5 or something?

        Why don't you look up the life and struggles of Bishop Eugene Robinson, and then get back to me. They are fighting back; you must be distracted by bright, shiny objects, or only getting your news from the Trad Media.

        "We will find fulfillment not in the goods that we have, but in the good we can do for each other." ~ RFK

        by paz3 on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 02:46:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks Armando (5+ / 0-)

    best thing I've read on the front page for days weeks months?? I am currently reading Swerve a history book about the roots of modern humanism. It is the story of how western civilization came out of the Dark Ages, starting with the beginning of the Renaissance, when people started contesting the Church's laws. Even curiosity was a sin, all progress was heretical.

    The Declaration of Independence came out of the the 'enlightenment'. Church doctrine/dogma is not compatible with secular government and it certainly does not trump human and civil rights. It also it's very nature is not progressive or democratic.

    I cannot believe at this point in history an Medieval cult like the Church can hold power and sway over our laws and democratic principles, not to mention science and self evident truths. What a mind blow to watch this darkness evolving and getting a hold, in a nation that was founded on the principle's of humanism including separation of church and state.

    I for one think the Catholic church should not get public funding or tax exemptions, they have over stepped the lines and need to have no power over our policies and laws. Progress is not going back to the the time when the church's law kept people in a state of darkness. simply insane to see this unfolding in our politics and democratic republic. Why are having to do this again?            

  •  What surprises me about Catholics (5+ / 0-)

    is that they go to church, go to communion, go to confession, celebrate the religious holidays, believe in Jesus, etc., but still take contraception and do other things that go against their own religion.  I don't understand that mentality.

    I was brought up Catholic.  When I could not follow church doctrine, I left the church, period.

    I completely agree that if a religious organization wants to engage in secular activities (making money for the church, after all, is important), they should abide by secular laws or get out of the business. period.

    But, of course, that's just my opinion.

    love the fetus, hate the child

    by Raggedy Ann on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 11:34:27 AM PDT

    •  It's cultural (0+ / 0-)

      Somewhat like being a Jew in many families particularly when it is closely associated with ethnicity.  I couldn't count how many times my Dad told me I was an Irish Catholic.  I don't recall him telling me I was an American.

    •  All I know (4+ / 0-)

      is that I don't believe in anyone's religion (I believe in their right to believe in their religion).  And I don't believe anyone's religion should be mandating whether or not I can get healthcare coverage by my insurance.  

      Right this minute TCM is showing Elmer Gantry from 1960 and it is astounding that, for a movie made 50 years ago, I've already heard Burt Lancaster (Elmer Gantry) spew many of the same sorry religious tenets that are being bandied about by 21st Century rightwing Republicans and religious leaders.

      NOTHING about their message has changed for 50 YEARS!

      But I have changed.

      As of 02/22/2012 in Washington State pharmacists can exercise their "religious freedom" by denying women access to Plan B because the judge thinks there aren't any bigots in this state.

      by FlamingoGrrl on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 11:58:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Come on, we are 'Cafeteria Catholics' (0+ / 0-)

      It's a great American tradition.  This is how organizations evolve.

    •  Yes they should, but (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladyjames

      While Bush was still in office our courts found that it was totally acceptable for organizations in Faith Based Initiatives to discriminate in their hiring. The test case involved THE Salvation Army, and the ruling stated that the Salvation Army can discriminate against homosexuals in hiring and firing and still receive federal monies.

      That was the camel's nose in the door, but people were too busy with something else. It made little tiny flash in the news, and then disappeared.

      NOW after it has time to grow, it comes back to haunt us in entirely new frightening forms.

  •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

    Enroachment is mild; there's been a hostile takeover because of the unholy alliance of evil 1%, evil RW religion, evil war mongers. Doesn't look 2 b getting better. Looks like the founders were more liberal except 4 excluding everyone who wasn't white, male, over 21, rich..... Oops never mind.

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 12:00:42 PM PDT

  •  EJ [and others] seem to have lost the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PAbluestater, KathleenM1, ladyjames

    ability to analyze honestly. It used to be commentary didn't have to be qualified as a partisan/personal viewpoint enterprise. Dionne is vested in his own Catholicism and can't see his way clear to analyze the situation honestly.

    Logic has flown out the window and has been replaced by desperate emotion and longing for that place where things are neatly categorized and stretched to fit ones own personal comfort zone.

    I don't want to accommodate religion. It's simple really, no one forced the Church to engage in secular money making enterprises, but since they are presently engaged in them, they want an unreasonable carve-out for purely ridiculous reasons. And/Or they're cheap bastards and want to take a swipe at legislating their morality on the rest of us. Screw that.

    Dionne, Matthews, O'Donnell= Intellectual FAIL

  •  Hey (0+ / 0-)

    maybe women ought to start mailing him their feminine refuse- used of course.

  •  Catholic Church and Public Access TV (0+ / 0-)

    I one time had the experience of discussion whether a commission I was on, (a small body appointed by a city council to send time bothering with such stuff) should grant an access channel to be managed by a Catholic Diocese.

    They had taken the trouble to form up a partnership with the larger Baptist churches and went to far as to expand the concept of Freedom of Religion to those established traditions based on the Bible or the Torah.  

    When I pointed out that Native American spiritual practices never were written down, the question I was asked was whether they could prohibit Wicca from participation.  

    I pointed out that both Wicca and Native American practices were part of the history of the Church to stamp out heresies and burn people at the stake for differing with authorized views.  The very foundation of Freedom of Religion was in a better way and that any establishment of a state religion, by whatever definition was not something that public money could be spent on.

    There was not a way around that.  Various lawyers and the Mayor, as I recall, spent some time going around and around, but it came out nowhere.  

    The thing is, once you understand history and why the 1st Amendment is what it is, these questions cease to be so complex.  

    The founding fathers wrote a good contract.  "Congress shall make no law..."  No weasel words there.  Following that into present circumstances should not be an intellectual strain either.

    If Dionne is attempting to promote  Catholic view that is about establishment of religious control over secular tax monies and administration, he has crossed a line and he should have known better.  Good journalist normally, but this is apparently his Achilles' heel.  

    The Catholic Church and other religious institutional enterprises keep trying to find a way around the 1st Amendment and they will do so until eternity.  

    That is why Jefferson said "eternal vigilance is the price of freedom."  He didn't mean it as a Defense Dept. slogan.

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 04:34:57 PM PDT

  •  Inevitable conflict (0+ / 0-)

    It's not a good idea to seek an alliance with any church in politics. After all, in the end, the main goal of a religion is to convert the populace to a strict set of religious rules - after all, flexibility would eventually create two separate religions with separate leaders. If we want to work with any religion, it would be necessary to find one that has absolutely no conflict with liberal points of view.

    Pastafarianism, perhaps?

  •  We are NOT Iran. (0+ / 0-)

    We are a secular nation in the Western tradition that respects religious autonomy by keeping it separate from the government.  Anyone who disagrees with that literally advocates for theocracy.

    Bold Progressive. Deal with it.

    by novenator on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 02:45:38 AM PDT

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