The Fighting Irish

Here’s a twofer today — terrific editorial in WSJ today on HHS mandate, which I didn’t write, so I’m free to praise it. The other is this post in National Review, which takes off from the WSJ editorial to note that many of President Obama’s Catholic supporters now accusing him of betrayal were party to the bill of goods he was selling the public about his being a new style Democrat more respectful of faith.

Here’s a taste of the NR post by publisher Jack Fowler:

A number of embarrassed, fellow-traveling Catholic liberals — from E. J. Dionne and Michael Sean Winters to the Jesuit America magazine and Doug (ugh!) Kmiec and Sr. Carol Keenan of the Catholic Health Association — have all called the president to task for this betrayal. Too little and too late, Kathy Dahlkemper, one of the pro-life Democrats in Congress who ended up providing one of the critical votes for Obamacare (and lost her seat as a result), now says she never would have voted for the bill if she knew this would happen….

Father Jenkins bears a particular burden. It wasn’t enough for him to give President Obama perhaps the most visible Catholic platform in America when he invited him to be the university’s commencement speaker in 2009. He also bestowed on President Obama an honorary doctorate of law — all while flipping the bird to the dozens of bishops who asked him not to so honor a man whose commitment to the culture of death included fighting any limit on partial-birth abortion. Indeed, in his introduction of the president, Father Jenkins assured the nation that talking to those of different views to find common ground was a “principle we share.”

Read the rest here. For one progressive Catholic who has remained firm, read Michael Sean Winters. He took the lead on this issue with a post called J’Accuse, and posted this today as a follow-up. Another taste:

Mr. Obama and his advisors decided to walk out on this limb, I didn’t. They chose to punch us Catholics in the nose. If they are now feeling the heat of a backlash they were warned about, that’s how politics works. Their political predicament was foreseeable and they made their choice. I do not want to sit down to negotiations with them unless and until there is a little blood coming from their nose too.

  1. RB

    Well, some folks like me and others here saw BHO for what he is, right from the start. As I am fond of saying, ‘ a thin resume and a huge ego combined make for trouble.’

    For others, it’s been a learning process. I guess there’s a whole group of people who really believed in him, and now wonder why.

  2. MMPadre

    There’s more to be learned from pop fiction than any newspaper editorial and most university courses.  The Catholic left lives for validation by the secular left.  But the political class is the vampire class, and even E. J. Dionne –simply by watching any old Dracula movie– should have known what happens to a Renfield in the end.

  3. James Gawron

    Bill,

    He has just given a huge number of intelligent committed people in this country a reason to vote for his opponent or not to vote at all or just not work as hard for him as they would have.

    Hey, It works for me.

    Regards,

    Jim

  4. tabula rasa

    This is primarily aimed at the Catholic Church, but it is indirectly an attack on all religions in the United States.  This is a time we should stand as one.

    Writing at NRO a couple of years ago, George Weigel, the biographer of Pope John Paul II, said:

     

    “[I]t is a matter of both political common sense and democratic etiquette that Catholics in public life should make our arguments in ways that our fellow citizens, who may not share our theological premises, can engage and understand — which is to say, in our particular case, that Catholics should bring to bear in public life the moral truths we hold through arguments framed by the grammar and vocabulary of the natural moral law.”

     

    Substitute “Mormons” for “Catholics,” and Weigel has perfectly expressed how I feel as a Mormon.  This is an unconscionable attack on the consciences of all religious Americans.  On this issue, we’re all Catholics.

  5. Alcina

     Wow.  Fowler is on fire. However, Obama’s record on abortion is even worse than his editorial states.  Obama also actively worked to defeat legislation in Illinois that would have protected infants born alive following an attempted abortion.  Santorum has pointed this out; it makes me want to see a Santorum/Obama debate where Obama tries to call Santorium an extremist or a radical on abortion. 

  6. Illiniguy

    From the WSJ editorial:

    “The decision has roused the Catholic bishops from their health-care naivete, but they’ve been joined by people of all faiths and even no faith, as it becomes clear that their own deepest moral beliefs may be thrown over eventually.”

    When morality is no longer used as a means for placing limits on one’s actions in society, how can we hope that there will be enough people who will look in the mirror and say that the moral life begins with them, and that what’s being done here will eventually have consequences to them? I fear that too many will merely yawn and roll over.

  7. Underground Conservative
    tabula rasa: This is primarily aimed at the Catholic Church, but it is indirectly an attack on all religions in the United States.  This is a time we should stand as one.

    …George Weigel, the biographer of Pope John Paul II, said:

    “[I]t is a matter of both political common sense and democratic etiquette that Catholics in public life should make our arguments in ways that our fellow citizens, who may not share our theological premises, can engage and understand — which is to say, in our particular case, that Catholics should bring to bear in public life the moral truths we hold through arguments framed by the grammar and vocabulary of the natural moral law.”

    Substitute “Mormons” for “Catholics,” and Weigel has perfectly expressed how I feel as a Mormon.  This is an unconscionable attack on the consciences of all religious Americans.  On this issue, we’re all Catholics.

    TR, I’ve been reading all this mandate stuff everywhere and someone asked, “What’s the difference between this and when the U.S. forced the Mormons to give up polygamy?” I didn’t really have an answer. It’d be interesting to get your thoughts.

  8. Anon

    Doing good because it feels good is a disaster waiting to happen.  Explore the issue. Think.  Think again. and then take a stand.

    Buying pigs in pokes is a frustrating business.

  9. tabula rasa
    Dave 

    “What’s the difference between this and when the U.S. forced the Mormons to give up polygamy?” . . . It’d be interesting to get your thoughts.

    I make no pretense of knowing all the details of my Church’s decision to give up polygamy in the 1890s. As a believing Mormon, I feel that Wilford Woodruff, the Church President at the time, was responding to inspiration from God. 

    At the same time, the federal government was pressuring the Church to end its official practice polygamy, but the pressure exerted was very different from the HHS mandate. It came in two primary forms: (1) enforcing laws against bigamy and (2) withholding statehood from Utah. Enforcing bigamy laws did not single out Mormons (since bigamy has long been unlawful in the United States) and when and under what circumstances to admit a state into the union are prerogatives of Congress. In other words, the pressure came via legitimate acts of government.

    That’s very different from mandating that a church provide an insurance product to its employees that violates the Church’s lawful beliefs. Here we have unlawful methods used to force changes to lawful religious behavior.

    Hope that makes sense.

  10. Anon
    Dave Molinari

    TR, I’ve been reading all this mandate stuff everywhere and someone asked, “What’s the difference between this and when the U.S. forced the Mormons to give up polygamy?” I didn’t really have an answer. It’d be interesting to get your thoughts. · 25 minutes ago

    Polygamy, and personal mandates to buy something or else, are both contrary to the founding principles of this country – but for different reasons, and both reasons quite obvious.

  11. tabula rasa

    Dave:  200 words doesn’t allow much explanation, so here are a couple of other extraneous thoughts.

    First, like Mitt, I have some ancestors who practiced polygamy–but I’m very glad the LDS Church ended the practice 115 years ago.

    Second, if the rationale of the Ninth Circuit’s Proposition 8 decision is upheld by the Supreme Court, those who wish to practice polygamy (and it won’t be me) have a bunch of new arguments to support them. If a gay couple’s dignity demands their relationship be treated as marriage, who is to say that the dignity of a man and two women who wish to practice polygamy is any less worthy? Very slippery slope.

  12. Underground Conservative

    Thanks TR, yes, it makes sense. The bigamy law helps and these requirements for statehood were lawful. It seems that if you want to join a club, you have to obey the rules to get into it.

    As for the slippery slope, yes, I’m sure there will be some fascinating cases to be made for all sorts of things in the future.

    Thanks for the feedback.

  13. Underground Conservative
    Anon

    Polygamy, and personal mandates to buy something or else, are both contrary to the founding principles of this country – but for different reasons, and both reasons quite obvious. · 13 minutes ago

    Obvious to us, but not obvious to a huge chunk of our country. We’re fighting battles where obvious doesn’t seem to work anymore.

  14. KC Mulville
    tabula rasa: This is a time we should stand as one.

    Agreed. I also think it’s just a pure old fashioned power grab, and religions are just the first step. 

    I’m not entirely convinced that the Obama Gang planned a deliberate attack on the Catholic Church specifically. They’re not that bright. And, I think it’s much more dangerous than that. 

    I think the Obamacare law was created when pompous, ignorant politicians dumped the details off on twenty-something staffers, who were simply too shallow and inexperienced to grasp the ramifications of what they were creating. These Democrat staffers were easy prey to be manipulated by liberal pressure groups that suddenly had a blank check. The result was an obnoxious mess, with bulls in dozens of different China shops. 

    The whole law was an exercise in what happens when you put huge, unaccountable power in the custody of young people who want to “make a difference.” The liberal powerhouses (Planned Parenthood, unions, teachers, etc.) exploited the mess to steal every power they can. And soon, they’ll label those thefts as “rights,” so they can’t be revoked.

    This is undisciplined power at its worst. 

  15. tabula rasa
    KC Mulville

    This is undisciplined power at its worst.  · 1 minute ago

    Amen.

    “If you are going to sin, sin against God, not the bureaucracy.  God will forgive you but the bureaucracy won’t.”  [Hyman Rickover]

    “Bureaucracy is a giant mechanism operated by pygmies.”  [Honore de Balzac]

  16. Bill McGurn
    C

    I don’t think Obama was going after the Catholic church. I do believe, however, that the liberal enterprise is about removing pesky organizations that get in their one-size-fits-all federal ways — and the peskiest institutions on our public squares are often, as Justice Kagan noted in her recent SC decision, religious groups or private organizations. Ask the Boy Scouts.

  17. Charles Mark

    Take it from me, when it comes to social issues, the native Irish are fighting viciously, on no issue more than abortion. As in America, the mainstream media are overwhelmingly “liberal.” And the most common line of attack is to paint all social conservatives as “religious loons” (one of the milder phrases). The Catholic Church is mostly snookered by reason of child-abuse scandals which are appalling but have been leapt upon gleefully by “liberals” as the definitive proof that all principles of the Church are evil. Childish but effective. My concern is that the overwhelming secular case for conservative principles,on life issues, traditional marriage, or as the case may be is being clouded here and over there by association with religion. I don’t for a moment suggest our Churches should be thrown under the bus, but it is essential that the secular case be made loudly and clearly, over and over again.

  18. Instugator
    Bill McGurn: What they didn’t realize is that this directly affects how Catholic institutions function, in a way that legal abortion doesn’t. And they could have avoided it all and still gained most of what they wanted had they just granted a religious exemption. · 7 hours ago

    Sadly, this is too true – it bears repeating.

    Bill McGurn: And they could have avoided it all and still gained most of what they wanted had they just granted a religious exemption. · 7 hours ago

    Because granting a religious exemption to organizations based on religious foundation (which is what was asked for) would have still compelled individual businesses (not granted an exemption) to perhaps violate their conscience – and this backlash over religious liberty would not have occurred.

    Case in point, Elane Photography vs Willock. There doesn’t seem to be much uproar over this infringement of religious freedom (or infringement on freedom of expression, or even association for that matter).

    I am glad for Obama’s overreach – hopefully the outcome will strengthen religious liberty for all.

  19. tabula rasa
    Bill McGurn: I don’t think Obama was going after the Catholic church. I do believe, however, that the liberal enterprise is about removing pesky organizations that get in their one-size-fits-all federal ways — and the peskiest institutions on our public squares are often, as Justice Kagan noted in her recent SC decision, religious groups or private organizations. Ask the Boy Scouts. · 10 minutes ago

    If so, then doesn’t this mean that the administration has an astonishing level of cluelessness about the Catholic Church and other religious Americans?  Do you think they’re surprised that everyone didn’t just quietly do what they were told?

  20. KC Mulville
    tabula rasa  If so, then doesn’t this mean that the administration has an astonishing level of cluelessness about the Catholic Church and other religious Americans?  Do you think they’re surprised that everyone didn’t just quietly do what they were told? 

    Not directed to me, but I can’t help but answer:  The Obama Gang has never had to pay a real penalty for anything. They’ve had a cushy ride from the first day of Obama’s political life. 

    And indeed, the press has done almost everything they can to smother, deflect, hide, and sidestep the story. They still are. 

    I don’t think the Obama Gang has been smacked in the face on this. They figure it’ll pass in a couple days, maybe a week, and they haven’t confronted the backlash that the rest of us see building. (And are helping to build.)