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.

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Members have made 33 comments.

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  1. Profile photo of RB Inactive
    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.

    • #1
    • February 9, 2012 at 2:38 am
  2. Profile photo of MMPadre Inactive

    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.

    • #2
    • February 9, 2012 at 2:59 am
  3. Profile photo of James Gawron Coolidge

    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

    • #3
    • February 9, 2012 at 3:03 am
  4. Profile photo of tabula rasa Member

    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.

    • #4
    • February 9, 2012 at 3:12 am
  5. Profile photo of Alcina Inactive

     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. 

    • #5
    • February 9, 2012 at 3:15 am
  6. Profile photo of Illiniguy Member

    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.

    • #6
    • February 9, 2012 at 3:37 am
  7. Profile photo of Underground Conservative Coolidge
    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.

    • #7
    • February 9, 2012 at 3:46 am
  8. Profile photo of Anon Inactive

    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.

    • #8
    • February 9, 2012 at 4:10 am
  9. Profile photo of tabula rasa Member
    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.

    • #9
    • February 9, 2012 at 4:11 am
  10. Profile photo of Anon Inactive
    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.

    • #10
    • February 9, 2012 at 4:15 am
  11. Profile photo of tabula rasa Member

    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.

    • #11
    • February 9, 2012 at 4:22 am
  12. Profile photo of Underground Conservative Coolidge

    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.

    • #12
    • February 9, 2012 at 4:28 am
  13. Profile photo of Underground Conservative Coolidge
    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.

    • #13
    • February 9, 2012 at 4:29 am
  14. Profile photo of KC Mulville Member
    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. 

    • #14
    • February 9, 2012 at 4:33 am
  15. Profile photo of tabula rasa Member
    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]

    • #15
    • February 9, 2012 at 4:39 am
  16. Profile photo of Bill McGurn Contributor
    Bill McGurn Post author

    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.

    • #16
    • February 9, 2012 at 4:59 am
  17. Profile photo of Charles Mark Member

    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.

    • #17
    • February 9, 2012 at 5:07 am
  18. Profile photo of Instugator Thatcher
    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.

    • #18
    • February 9, 2012 at 5:24 am
  19. Profile photo of tabula rasa Member
    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?

    • #19
    • February 9, 2012 at 5:34 am
  20. Profile photo of KC Mulville Member
    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.)

    • #20
    • February 9, 2012 at 5:56 am
  21. Profile photo of BlueAnt Member

    Look, I don’t want to start the “ideological purge” wars again, but as I ranted back in 2008: this is a cut and dried test of intellectual honesty and judgement.  Given what we knew about Obama in 2008, every Catholic who backed his campaign is guilty of irredeemably bad judgement.

    They should be drummed out of whatever punditry, newspaper columns, or public liaison positions they hold.  They don’t get the benefit of the doubt; their analysis is automatically suspect.  (And that goes for the high profile conservative supporters like Christopher Buckley as well.)

    Political movements don’t need to forgive stupidity.  God forgives sins; that’s enough for Man this side of Eden.

    • #21
    • February 9, 2012 at 6:06 am
  22. Profile photo of Anon Inactive
    Bill McGurn: I don’t think Obama was going after the Catholic church.

    I’m trying hard to reconcile your comment with the effect of Obama’s edict.  Certainly there are other persons and entities other than the Catholic Church that were offended, but it all seems purposeful to me – that he was going after those who are, in any form, pro-life.  Is it possible that you think that Obama was unaware that those affected by his edict included the CC?

    • #22
    • February 9, 2012 at 6:22 am
  23. Profile photo of Inactive
    Anonymous
    BlueAnt: Look, I don’t want to start the “ideological purge” wars again, but as I ranted back in 2008: this is a cut and dried test of intellectual honesty and judgement.  Given what we knew about Obama in 2008, every Catholic who backed his campaign is guilty of irredeemably bad judgement.

    They should be drummed out of whatever punditry, newspaper columns, or public liaison positions they hold.  They don’t get the benefit of the doubt; their analysis is automatically suspect.  (And that goes for the high profile conservative supporters like Christopher Buckley as well.)

    Political movements don’t need to forgive stupidity.  God forgives sins; that’s enough for Man this side of Eden. · 13 hours ago

    Same with Republican politicians/pundits-they should know better. When Obama first came on the scene I almost immediately labeled him: Baby Killing (not just prochoice), thug, socialist. I immediately saw the AGW scam, too. I don’t forgive the ‘professionals’ for not seeing it, and if they did see it, not speaking it.

    • #23
    • February 9, 2012 at 6:48 am
  24. Profile photo of BKelley14 Inactive

    What I find disturbing is the comment sections following some articles in major newspapers re: this topic. For example, check out the comments directly following Kathleen Parker’s denouncing this Obama move in The Washington Post. Is this what we are up against? Dear God.

    • #24
    • February 9, 2012 at 7:14 am
  25. Profile photo of ConservativeFred Member

    It is difficult not too feel some sense of schadenfreude with the HHS rulemaking. During the 2008 elections and the 2009 health care debate, I encountered many Roman Catholics (too many) and people of other faiths that assured me I was paranoid about the potential loss of religious freedom.  I have yet to determine whether they were willfully naive or generally accepting of the idea that the government should dictate one’s faith. 

    In the case of columnists Parker, Buckley, and Noonan, I have not ruled out evil in their motives.

    In any event, this is a very sad day, but an inevitable result of the 2008 election.

    • #25
    • February 9, 2012 at 7:57 am
  26. Profile photo of Instugator Thatcher
    Bill McGurn: …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.

     · 6 hours ago

    Gee Mr Winters must never have seen The Empire Strikes Back. It has the best line ever for what happens once you give the Government a little power. The youtube is here, but the resident Ricochet Geeks here will recognize the sentiment.

    “I am altering the deal, pray I do not alter it further…”

    This happened with Social Security in 1960 (Fleming v Nestor which states there is no contractual right to Social Security).

    Why would these brilliant liberal Catholics think such would not apply to them?

    • #26
    • February 9, 2012 at 8:08 am
  27. Profile photo of Western Chauvinist Member

    I’m letting on to my ignorance, but would a more knowledgeable Catholic please explain what Michael Winters is referring to?

     As Catholics, we need to be honest and admit that, three hundred years ago, the defense of conscience was not high on the agenda of Holy Mother Church.

    His timing is too recent for the typical litany of the Church’s sins. What am I missing?

    • #27
    • February 9, 2012 at 9:00 am
  28. Profile photo of Bill McGurn Contributor
    Bill McGurn Post author

    Tabula Rasa, et al: Actually I do think the Obama rule reflects cluelessness about the Catholic church, and that they *did* just expect people to obey. I think they reckoned the bishops are unpopular, American Catholics ignore church teaching, and contraception is less controversial than, say, the argument over whether abortion funding is part of Obamacare (which they won). 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.

    • #28
    • February 9, 2012 at 9:37 am
  29. Profile photo of Grendel Member
    Western Chauvinist: I’m letting on to my ignorance, but would a more knowledgeable Catholic please explain what Michael Winters is referring to?

     As Catholics, we need to be honest and admit that, three hundred years ago, the defense of conscience was not high on the agenda of Holy Mother Church.

    His timing is too recent for the typical litany of the Church’s sins. What am I missing? · Feb. 8 at 8:00pm

    You aren’t missing anything.  He’s just reaching back into Enlightenment Liberal mythology that just about everything bad that happened before 1789 was the fault of a uniquely repressive Roman Catholic Church. The vagueness is part of the point.  Everyone knows it’s so.

    As you suspected, it’s the common Liberal Fascist technique of using guilt by association to change the subject and seize the moral high ground.  It works only one way.  E.g., whites today are guilty for slavery, but radical egalitarians and socialists don’t have to answer for the murders committed by French and Communist revolutionaries.

    • #29
    • February 10, 2012 at 2:52 am
  30. Profile photo of Bill McGurn Contributor
    Bill McGurn Post author

    Instugator, your point is wise but so many people miss that part: Even with a religious exemption, this law would be a huge imposition on individual employers and insurers. Also, it has nothing to do with taking federal dollars. Brave and independent Hillsdale College will be affected too, and would not qualify for a religious exemption even if one existed.

    It is just a microcosm of the larger problem with Obamacare and the Obama project: it’s based on giving federal government more and more control over our decisions.

    • #30
    • February 10, 2012 at 3:39 am
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