Weekend question 11/21-22/09

weekend question.jpgIn an article entitled, "Bishops raising holy hell on abortion," the New York Post reported today:

President Obama's effort to reform the health-care system could blow up in a holy war with the nation's Catholic bishops over the historically hot-button issue of abortion.

The Catholic Church claims the Senate bill introduced by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) would permit insurance coverage for certain abortions.

By comparison, the church applauds a measure passed by the House... that calls for a blanket ban on abortion for health plans that receive federal subsidies.

Richard Doerflinger, associate director of the bishops' conference Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, said Reid's legislation was "actually the worst bill" on life issues....

The Washington Post, reporting today on the opening of the semiannual meeting of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, quoted its leader, Cardinal Francis George, as stating, "To limit our teaching or governing to what the state is not interested in would be to betray both the Constitution of our country and, much more importantly, the Lord himself."

Re: abortion in the healthcare bills, when it actually comes down to it, who do you think will win, the Bishops or pro-abort Democrats?


I'm disappointed at the way this issue is being framed in the media. As if Catholic bishops are the only ones opposed to abortion funding! A pro-life victory will come only from a strong grassroots effort, like the one that was sustained for many weeks to get the passage of Stupak-Pitts in the House.

Posted by: Kelsey at November 21, 2009 5:29 PM

Stupak leaves lots of babies behind!

Nothing to be excited about when babies whose fathers
are criminal rapists are targeted for destruction.

Posted by: Leslie Hanks at November 21, 2009 5:32 PM

The pro-abort Democrats definitely will win. They vote, the Bishops do not.

The Bishops should have made this gung-ho effort BEFORE Obama was elected. What on earth did they think would happen? Obama was a flaming pro-abort before he was elected, and touted his healthcare reform while he was campaigning.

As I recall, Obama got the majority of the Catholic vote. After this, maybe the Catholic church can change their stance on "not endorsing political candidates". In lieu of the unborn, I'm pretty sure Jesus would be OK with it! After all, alot was at stake during the campaign that we are suffering the ramifications of now.

Thanks Bishops! Too little, too late.

Posted by: Marie at November 21, 2009 5:32 PM

I think the bishops lost 233 years ago, when it was decided this country would be a democracy, not a theocracy run by the church bureaucracy. Perhaps they can find another country to run.

Posted by: Bystander at November 21, 2009 5:37 PM

it was decided this country would be a democracy

Got a source for that, bystander? Last time I checked this country was founded as a constitutional republic, not a democracy.

Posted by: Fed Up at November 21, 2009 5:41 PM

Hi FedUp 5:41PM

An excellent point. We should also remind Bystander that people and clergy of all faiths have a long history in this country of outspokeness on social and moral issues, based on their religious faith, and have helped shape social policy and laws.

Bystander, do you oppose slavery? Guess who the first people to organize against slavery were? The Quakers.

Do you support black civil rights and oppose segregation? Guess who the driving force was behind the changes in these laws? Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., ordained Baptist minister.

Posted by: Mary at November 21, 2009 6:10 PM

Thank you, Bystander, for making my point. The "Bishops vs. Democrats" narrative comes straight from Planned Parenthood and NARAL. They are using it to frame abortion as a religious issue, and push the fundamental human rights concern under the rug.

Posted by: Kelsey at November 21, 2009 6:26 PM

The Bishops have every right to speak out - as American citizens and teachers of their flock.
They are NOT trying to rule the country only protect the most vunerable (that's why they support health care reform that does not include taxpayer-funded abortion). And they certainly have the right to publicly chastise pro-abortion Democrats who claim to be practising Catholics.

The fact that most Americans agree with the Bishops that they don't want taxpayer-funded abortion should work in the Bishop's favor, for the final bill.

At least, I hope it's not just wishful thinking on my part.

Posted by: Denise at November 21, 2009 6:37 PM

If the bishops wish to be a political lobbying group, that's fine, pay your taxes, we need them!

Posted by: Bystander at November 21, 2009 6:42 PM

Fed Up. A constitutional republic is not a theocracy run by the Catholic Church. Try again.

Posted by: Bystander at November 21, 2009 6:47 PM


Do you know if Dr.King's church paid taxes? I mean he did call for the Montgomery bus boycott from the pulpit of his church.

Posted by: Mary at November 21, 2009 6:48 PM

If the bishops wish to be a political lobbying group, that's fine, pay your taxes, we need them!

That pesky 1st amendment gives the bishops their rights, bystander, no matter how much you hate it.

Posted by: Fed Up at November 21, 2009 6:52 PM

Gee, Bystander Dr. King even visited President Kennedy in the White House to "lobby" on behalf of civil rights. Sounds like Dr. King's church owes some big time back taxes!

Posted by: Mary at November 21, 2009 6:53 PM

The Bishop's are going to lose.

They really, really, really want this health care bill but they don't want tax-payer funded abortion.

So they find themselves in the akward position of wanting the bill but not wanting the bill.

They twisted arms and kicked some butts to have the Stupak amendment voted on in the House, but it might not be enough to pressure the Senate.

And then the bill goes back into Committee and out for another round of votes. How much more butt-kicking can they do?

What the Bishop's should do is come out in formal opposition to the bill. The bill will still pass, but then the abortion funding would most likely be removed at which point they can then cheer.

But they will never do that, because the desire for health care is too strong in the USCCB. They will continue to waver, and then they will lose.

Posted by: Andrew at November 21, 2009 7:04 PM

I don't see how people can look at this as a bill that would insure 31 million more Americans when it is really a bill that forces 31 million Americans to purchase a givernment health plan. What a crock.

The the bishops have alswys been and will always be pro-life. So the bishops will win as long as America chooses life. And our nation will win when the bishops open the eyes of the faithful to the truth that the unborn and their mothers deserve to be supported and protected from pro-aborts. This we will fight for in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ whose birth is celebrated every year on Christmas. May His birth bring grace and love to the hearts of all mankind and fill all of us with with the fortitude to perservere in in our struggle to keep our tax dollars from paying for the killing of unborn babies. America will have hell to pay if we lose.

Posted by: truthseeker at November 21, 2009 7:56 PM

A history lesson for Bystander about the church's role in speaking out on moral & social issues, what the formation of the IRS & LBJ have to do with the suppression of spiritual leaders' free speech:

Part One Bill Federer, Endangered Speeches

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGNsciH8x7o Part Two

The next day's broadcast continues with Mr. Federer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyd5eYkIlXU for more. Excellent, succinct analysis.

Posted by: klynn73 at November 21, 2009 9:01 PM

Maybe this is what it's going to take.

The Church voted this pro-death mob into office. The CINO's (Catholic/Christian In Name Only, take your pick) thought that the liberals and moderates would have a better economic policy and that was more important to them than saving babies' lives.

Meanwhile, the slaughter continues, by the thousands and thousands, day after day after day.

So now we're going to reap what we've sown.

I hope I'm wrong. I'm going to pray for our Congress. I'm going to humble myself, repent from my wicked ways, seek God and pray for our Country and do my duty as a responsible citizen.

But maybe we can't spend our way out of this mess. Perhaps this bill will be so taxing on small business that it will lead to a domino effect and our financial markets will collapse. I have a friend who works at a large software company that supplies the systems used by NYSE, NASDAQ, etc. He told me that we were fortunate when the government intervened halting the crash in Sept. of '08.

Does anyone think our fiscal policies are making us any more secure financially than we were 14 months ago?

Does God really hate abortion and consider it genocide? I'm convinced He does. If so, how long will He permit this abomination to continue before He brings correction? How many tens of millions of babies in the U.S. need to die? How many hundreds of millions worldwide?

Would He be a Just God if He didn't bring correction?

I think not.

God doesn't want anyone to perish. Paul made a couple of good points, Hell is hot, and Eternity is a long time (in fact, it's the absence of time). Perhaps like the children of Israel in bondage in Egypt, it will take financial hardship before we fall on our faces and truly repent.

This may be a reach but perhaps we are nearing the end of the Age. The news seems to be getting more and more wicked, like Sodom and Gomorrah. Maybe this bill will pass, send our economy into a tailspin, people will then cry out to God, and then He could respond with an outpouring of His Spirit. Perhaps we will have one last great revival in America, and then Jesus will come back for His Bride.

Wild conjecture? Maybe.

Maybe not.

He is definitely coming back. Even if it isn't in our lifetime, we are instructed to be ready, watching and praying.

Come Lord Jesus.

Posted by: Ed at November 21, 2009 9:13 PM

I guess my comment strayed a bit from the question. You know Obama bought the 60 votes he needed by committing hundreds of millions of dollars in government money (our money) to the states of the senators he needed. Now they only need 50 votes, right? So up to 10 senators from pro-life leaning states can vote against the final bill, which in all likelihood will provide for abortions using your and my money. Those senators can say to their constituents, "Hey, I voted for the bill before I was against the bill, but look at all this money I got for the state!"

Can the bishops and the rest of the Pro-life community bring enough pressure to bear to get 11 pro-death democrats to flip on their party and president. I doubt it.

Hold on, looks like we're in for some rough economic times.

Posted by: Ed at November 21, 2009 10:46 PM

You know, the Bishops might be able to fire up enough of Stupak's Blue Dogs in the House to kill the whole thing.

That would be great. This is a bad bill.

Posted by: Ed at November 21, 2009 11:14 PM

"Re: abortion in the healthcare bills, when it actually comes down to it, who do you think will win, the Bishops or pro-abort Democrats?"


This is a rhetorical question........right?

yor bro ken

Posted by: kbhvac at November 21, 2009 11:46 PM

The bishops, the bishops.

Dude, where are the protestants? The evangelicals? Why aren't they coming out en masse and fighting the good fight?

Where's the Southern Baptist convention when you need them?

Posted by: carder at November 22, 2009 12:37 AM

Thank you to Leslie @5:32-

I thought the Stupak amendment was a good idea to the extent that it placed abortion and government abortion funding in the forefront of the debate for healthcare coverage reform. Including the amendment also could have a secondary positive impact by helping derail the government takeover of the healthcare industry. I never thought of the amendment as Pro Life, as it does not defend all life or prevent taxpayer funding of all abortions. The wording is not far removed from the language of abortion laws since 1973, since it allows for abortion "exceptions" and uses taxpayer dollars to pay for them to make matters worse. It also does not protect conscience rights and ignores other life issues.
I do understand that a portion of the fight to end abortion is waged on the political/governmental battlefield. I wish all elected officials and candidates who consider themselves Pro Life would have the courage to reject abortion in all cases and understand that anything less is not Pro Life. Perhaps they feel they would be unelectable if they go all the way and reject the exceptions. Maybe they are right in some cases and they would lose an election. I realize this is an old article about Sam Brownback, but it demonstrates courage and consistency: http://www.lifenews.com/nat3178.html
Those of us who are rape/incest conceived find extremely offensive the continued devaluation of our lives implied by the widespread acceptance of abortion exceptions. We strive to bring our stories to the mainstream and attempt to change the minds and hearts of people who see us as expendable.

It's probably 50-50 at best for the Bishops. Behind closed doors, I don't think the the pro abortion Congressmen and women are too worried about the Catholic Bishops since there was a significant Catholic voting block for Obama. Should a reform bill pass with taxpayer funded abortion coverage intact, what will happen at Catholic hospitals?

Posted by: jsable at November 22, 2009 2:54 AM

Even if there isn't a huge, public presence with us the way there is with the Catholic leadership, the Protestants are still in this fight.

I'm one of them. :-)

I do have to agree, however, that the CINOs need to wake up and really smell the coffee here. Really think about what they're supporting (either actively or by their silence).

Posted by: army_wife at November 22, 2009 7:03 AM

Dude, where are the protestants? The evangelicals? Why aren't they coming out en masse and fighting the good fight?

Where's the Southern Baptist convention when you need them?

Posted by: carder at November 22, 2009 12:37 AM

What a great question. What a great question.

Where the heck are they?

Joel Osteen? Just checked his blog, nothing about abortion. When does a Christian mature to the point where their life isn't just about thinking nice thoughts and they attempt to impact their generation as salt and light?

Joyce Meyer? I love Joyce Meyer. Just checked her site, nothing. Rick Warren? Nothing.

Here we are, the Christian Church, living in 21st Century America, children being slaughtered by the thousands every day in our neighborhoods, and what do we do?

Zzzzzzzz. Zzzzzzzz. Zzzzzzzz.

“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.  Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Re 3:14-22

There just seems to be this huge blind spot with respect to the Christian leadership in this country.

There is a remnant though, just look at 40 Days for Life.

I believe all of their prayer is bearing much fruit. And the Bishop's boldness is just one of the many answers to their prayer.

They are answering the call big time.

Posted by: Ed at November 22, 2009 7:17 AM

Dude, where are the protestants? The evangelicals?
Posted by: carder at November 22, 2009 12:37 AM

Hi Carder. Many have signed on to the Manhattan Declaration. You can read the document and view signatures here.

Posted by: Fed Up at November 22, 2009 8:09 AM


"...the IRS has been using “very vague criteria” to “intimidate” churches, non-profits and ministries into “silence” on controversial moral issues.

“The intimidation has become so bad that nowadays, most churches and non-profits in America are scared to death even to talk about moral issues that are deemed ‘political' (such as abortion).”

There's a double-standard when it comes to intimidtion tactics by means of congressional and IRS investigations between Protestant churches and the Catholic church. Think about it... the Catholic church is sooooooo huge, it would be opening up Pandora's box to do an investigation on the RCC. However, not too difficult to use these tactics on the mega-churches that Ed mentioned in his post.

Posted by: Marie at November 22, 2009 8:27 AM

Good points Fedup and Marie. I remember when Focus on the Family had their non-profit status threatened which caused them to create their legally seperate Focus on the Family Action organization.

It's a shame because we really need some strong voices confronting the darkness in our society.

I'm sure they looked at paying taxes and at 25%-30% or whatever it would be, that's a big chunk of change for a ministry.

Posted by: Ed at November 22, 2009 9:04 AM

There is a simple way for 'churches' to get out from under the thumb of the state/IRS.

Surrender their 501c3 tax exempt status.

The members of said congregations will loose the government granted tax deductions for their contributions to their state sanctioned church and the church properties will be subject to the same property taxes to which every other privately owned individual or corporation in america is subject.

Then pastors and congregations will have the freedom to be as partisanly active as they wish.

The difference on most 'christians' individual tax burden will be negligible.

Then the 'church' (catholic and protestant and any other permutation thereof) might start to 'think outside the box' and actually begin to behave like the body of Christ.

But if your motive is to preserve the institutional church system and save a few bucks on your taxes, then your heart and your treasure will occupy the same stale spot.

Our responsibility, the body of Christ, of whom we all were baptized into by the Holy Spirit and became a funtioning member when we believed in, on and through Jesus the Christ, is to walk in the Spirit and act and speak as HE is doing and saying.

This is NOT a novel concept.

It is in the 'book'.

Ask the LORD to disabuse you of false knowledge and you will be amazed at how uncomfortable the familiar will become.

The TRUTH will set you free, but you have to walk out of the prison when the door swings open, trusting in the GOD who really sees to direct your steps.

Thats in the 'book' as well.

As the apostle Paul once wrote, "It is written somewhere....[in the 'book']"

yor bro ken

Posted by: kbhvac at November 22, 2009 9:26 AM

Jesus paid taxes right Ken? I believe they were provided for through one of His gilled, finned friends.

Posted by: Ed at November 22, 2009 9:42 AM

There is a simple way for 'churches' to get out from under the thumb of the state

What would forfeiting tax exempt status accomplish when it's first amendment freedoms that are under attack? They'll just find other ways (like hate speech and hate crime laws) to try to silence Christians.

Ed & Ken, have you checked out the Manhattan Declaration? I like the idea of various denominations banding together in support of life and each other.

Posted by: Fed Up at November 22, 2009 10:10 AM

The Catholic Church sees defending life as vital to the well-being of the faithful's conscience. Following and teaching the Church's doctrine on life is not a political choice, is not viewed as a politicl decions by the Catholic Church. It is not Democrat or Republcan. It is about saving and protecting the souls of the faithful.

Posted by: truthseeker at November 22, 2009 10:17 AM

But don;t misunderstand. It is not the Catholic Church that has the power tgo save souls. Any power they have comes from Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. Rather, the Catholic Church and the Devil are at enmity with one another.

St. Michael the archangel,
defend us in the battle.
Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of evil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray.
And may thou oh prince of the heavenly host,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell satan and all the other evil spirits who would roam through this world seeking the destruction of souls. Amen

Posted by: truthseeker at November 22, 2009 10:34 AM

The nation's Catholic bishops have regained their resolve to address the abortion issue even when it is not easy in recent years. For many years most of these bishops were willing to speak sound theology from the pulpit but scared to put the pedal to the metal in the civic sphere on abortion. They may well have feared being deemed irrelavant by their own flocks, a fear they have had on a number of issues since alienating many Catholics on several issues in the late 1960's.

When they enter the public policy arena on moral issues they are by no means perfect, and never have been. The Stupak-Pitts ban on federal funding of most elective abortions, despite the tragic and unnecesary exceptions, has the potential to either bring down the health care reform effort or to extend Hyde-type abortion funding restrictions to the plan. The latter would be anathema to President Obama and several of his key constituencies, creating a significant dilemna for him politically.

It remains to be seen whether Stupak-Pitts was smart politics on the part of the bishops, the sponsors, and many right to life groups on November 6th and 7th. One cannot assume that the Pelosi bill would have gone down without Stupak-Pitts; with at least 24 hours to work with there certainly would have been some other language or a public relations effort that never developed once the faux-compromise espoused by Pelosi was exposed.

Abortion ALONE is apparently not going to bring down health care reform in the Senate; broad pro-life efforts have less support there than in the House. However, when all the objections are taken into account the 50 votes for passage may not be any more secure than the 60 votes for cloture were two or three days ago. Pro-lifers, especially those in and with serious connections to the states of pro-life Democrats (few that they are in the Senate) and including the Catholic bishops and their representatives, need to continue to work to convince their Senators that this bill is not an answer, whether directly on the abortion issue or on all sorts of peripheral questions that might get a hearing with their Senators.

Even if the bill passes the Senate, why do so many assume a bill without meaningful abortin restrictions can not be defeated in the House? The Catholic bishops' strategists and those of the major pro-life groups are not perfect but they are professionals who certainly hashed out the likelyhood of Stupak-Pitts language being stripped off in the Senate, with and separate from the sponsors, and believed that role of the dice was a better shot than gambling that a line in the sand in the House would either kill the bill or bring about acceptable language from the leadership; an unacceptable but unbeatable "compromise," probably a repackaging of the Capps language being a highly likely possibility.

The bishops may well carry the day (even going beyond the life issues to their hope for some kind of health care reform that respects life, addresses true cost containment and cnscience issues, and provides access to care for immigrants) by -- along with many concerned citizens and interests -- taking down the current false effort to address their concerns in the House. About thirty Democrats lobbied heavily for Stupak-Pitts, voted for the amendment, and voted for the bill. It would only take a net reduction of support from the original House bill of three to kill the bill. At least one supporter of Stupak-Pitts and the bill has said he will not support the bill in the end with a public option that would kill private health insurance over time and the same representative has hinted strongly that he would not support the bill if Stupak-Pitts is stripped off.

Much work remains, but the bishops, and all citizens of the republic, may yet win this battle.

Posted by: John-in-Oak Lawn at November 22, 2009 11:57 AM

That's my hope to as well John, that this thing gets killed in the House.

Hey FedUp, I saw the Manhattan Declaration and like it. I'm just not sure how much punch it will have politically. Not saying it won't, just that I don't see how yet.

Dobson was a major force before the IRS dogged him. Whenever key votes were in Congress, he'd just get on the radio and tell his listeners what was going down and they'd inundate Washington with phone calls. It was powerful. So the left characterized this activity as non-religious lobbying and not deserving of tax-exempt status. In the case of abortion, they didn't object to the free speech, just that it was tax exempt. Actually they did object to the speech and like you said used this excuse to block it.

And you're right, if they were talking about gay marriage, they'd definitely play the hate crime card.

It seems like it all comes down to political capital, i.e. how many votes can you deliver.

We must inundate Stupak and the Blue Dogs and embolden them to vote for Life and kill the bill.

Posted by: Ed at November 22, 2009 2:01 PM

Hi Ed, thanks for your comment. What appeals to me about the Manhattan Declaration is solidarity with respect to civil disobedience. There is strength in numbers, even if that strength comes in the form of personal courage and not political capital.

Posted by: Fed Up at November 22, 2009 2:17 PM


Don't count the Senate out, yet, either. As Jill, along with Doug Johnson of NRLC, has commented today there certainly is work to be done in the debate in the Senate. While pro-life forces have not had the votes in the Senate to initiate much in recent years the pro-abortion forces have not had the votes to scuttle basic House initiatives such as the Hyde Amendment either.

Health care reform is an unusual type of legislation given the number of lobbies with lines in the sand, both pro and con, depending on the inclusion of certain provisions. Combined with other concerns is it possible that 3, 2, or even 1 Democrat Senator standing for life would bring down the bill as long as the leadership and the White House insist on abortion funding in the program?

Posted by: John-in-Oak Lawn at November 22, 2009 2:58 PM

Fed Up,

The Manhattan Declaration indeed opens up a new horizon for ecumenical cooperation to counter the anti-life/culture of death influences in our society and in our government. There has been so much solid thought among those commenting on this weekend poll! There was a day many years back in the progression of the Catholic Church from hiding from its own shadow to standing up for justice in the public square again and before the IRS persecution of stand-alone ministries and smaller denominations when it was conservative mainline Protestant denominations and Evangelical associations -- most notably Dr. Dobson and Focus on the Family -- that were the most visible allies of the secular pro-life movement on Capitol Hill.

Posted by: John-in-Oak Lawn at November 22, 2009 3:23 PM