"There are always some people who feel that the Church is becoming partisan and political in this. But we try to point out to them that we didn’t pick the time, nor did we pick the fight. It’s something this administration chose to do, and chose to do in an election year. It really is the administration that has chosen to make this fight; we’re just trying to protect the status quo." —Archbishop Naumann
I saw this on an acquaintance's status, and it bothered me. I couldn't quite put my finger on why exactly it bothers me, and I've been thinking about it all afternoon. (And why do I keep imagining Archbishop Naumann as a 2 year old in miniaturized bishop clothes and a skullcap?)
The "status quo" portion of the statement especially rankles me. Status quo? Well, slavery was the status quo for ages, too, wasn't it? The status quo between the British Empire and the American Colonies was untenable. Denying women the right to vote was another status quo. And it has been the status quo for ages for insurance companies to deny health insurance to many people. All of these status quos are hurtful, and all of them needed to be changed.
Apologies to Naumann, but he's assuming that "status quo" is the ideal place to be. Obviously, it's rarely ideal to stick with the status quo. Essentially, the archbishop is basing his entire argument on a false assumption.
That makes the rest of his argument quite shaky. "Don't blame us for our involvement in politics; he started it!"
Oh....I guess that's why I'm imagining him as a toddler. So, it's the President's fault that the bishops are trying to mix religion and politics? It's the President's fault that the bishops want so desperately to impose their morality on others, who don't share their own beliefs?
No. The Catholic bishops had a full range of choices in how they could have responded. They started out fairly reasonably by saying that Catholic institutions shouldn't have to pay for women's birth control. The Obama administration conceded to them, by developing a way for women to get coverage for birth control directly from the insurers without the Catholic employers' money getting involved. There--all fixed! Right?
Nope. The bishops then declared that unacceptable, moved the goal posts, and started blaming the President for his "pro-abortion" stance, and clamored for NO birth control coverage whatsoever for any employees of Catholic institutions. And then they, along with a few of the faithful, started holding fasts and rallies to try to uphold their way as the only right way. Strangely, they also started crying about being persecuted.
All because they want to strike down the entirety of the health insurance reform, even though the vast majority was morally okay, simply because they're not getting their way on one tiny portion of it. And they're not getting their way because the way they want would impose religious beliefs on others. Which, you know, infringes on others' religious freedoms...
It seems to me that the Catholic bishops chose the fight against health care reform and they chose to fight during election year as an effort to try to paint President Obama as evil, in order to prevent him from being re-elected.
That is precisely why so many people are decrying the Catholic bishops' involvement in politics and partisanship, Archbishop Naumann.
Filed under: Becoming Episcopalian