It’s looking more and more like the Catholic Church hierarchy in America should register with the government as a Republican lobbying organization: Yesterday, more than a dozen Catholic groups –– including the Fort Worth diocese –– filed lawsuits in federal court to “protect religious liberties.” This is an election year ruse by right-wing Catholic bishops. Their consciences and religious liberties, in fact, are not being violated by the Affordable Care Act a.k.a Obamacare. In the compromise offered by Obama, religious institutions would not be required to pay for contraceptive options for their employees; insurance companies would offer them directly to the women they cover, bypassing churches. So these lawsuits are, in reality, campaign efforts to help get Mitt Romney elected in November.
Particularly nauseating is Fort Worth Bishop Kevin Vann’s contention that the diocese is being prevented from helping the poor and the needy by women receiving contraceptives via their insurance. Luckily, there is a difference between the Church’s nakedly partisan bureaucracy and its membership, which overwhelmingly supports both contraceptive access to those who want it and helping the poor and needy. There is zero contradiction between the two. Between this debacle and the Vatican mugging American nuns, the church seems hellbent on getting as much awful publicity as it can.