Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Thank you, Nancy Pelosi

I have to thank Nancy Pelosi. What? you might ask. You? Thank Nancy Pelosi? Yes, that's right. A couple of days ago Nancy brought to my attention a Catholic warrior with whom I was not familiar prior to her mentioning him in a speech she gave in mid-May. Who was the warrior? None other than Jozsef Cardinal Mindszenty of Hungary who lived from 1892 to 1975, the year I graduated from 8th grade.

Now, it is odd to me that Ms. Pelosi would mention Cardinal Mindszenty. It is only because she was speaking to an audience in Hungary that she did so. She said that she, like other Catholics her age, prayed for the cardinal when they were growing up in Catholic school. She mentions his "struggle," but never anything about the substance of what he stood for. [Side note: Joe Biden claims to be Catholic also, and is only 3 years younger than Ms. Pelosi. I wonder if he prayed for the cardinal? Hard to say since Biden's authoritative, Wikipedia bio (sic) does not mention his education until he got to high school and attended an exclusive Catholic (Norbertine) school.]

Since Ms. Pelosi is significantly older than I am, that may account for why I have never heard of Jozsef Cardinal Mindszenty. But, thanks to Pelosi, I read about him this week and was thoroughly engrossed. In fact, I think Ms. Pelosi herself should revisit the Cardinal's story, because if she does she will either not mention him again or she will be enlightened as to what she missed all those decades ago when she presumably was an angelic child praying for the Catholic warrior. I suspect she has not read anything else about the cleric since leaving behind elementary school and her prayers for the cardinal nearly 60 years ago. And her memory of what he fought against must have faded also since she and her liberal comrades espouse everything that he fought against.

I am always amazed how Pelosi touts her claim to be a Catholic when it suits her political agenda. Remember how on the first day of Lent this year she attacked the Catholic Church because it has brought its teachings around to her way of thinking? There is so much that is wrong with what Ms. Pelosi said in that video that it would take me the rest of this week to delve into it. I am sure some will condemn me as being judgmental for what I say about Ms. Pelosi, but so be it. Ms. Pelosi either does not understand the Catholic faith in which she grew up or she has chosen to ignore it. I hope it is the former and not the latter. It may be a combination of both.

The irony in what Ms. Pelosi has brought to our attention is that Cardinal Mindszenty stood up against a communist regime and refused to bend to the laws that he recognized as being violative of religious freedom. Naturally, Hungary did not have our First Amendment right to freedom of religion, but the cardinal was a staunch vocal advocate who insisted that religious freedom is a basic natural right. He drove around the country telling Catholics not to comply with the law and not to give up their property and land to the government. Even when he was arrested by the Communists in 1948, he refused to give in to the government take-over of Catholic schools and land. For most of the rest of his life he lived in a state of arrest. But he never gave in, not even to secure his own freedom.

I noted briefly last week in a posting that 43 Catholic dioceses and organizations in the United States have filed lawsuits against the Obama administration. The basis of the cause of action is the provisions of the health care mandate requiring all employers who pay for insurance to also pay for abortifacients, birth control, and sterilization so that these are free to all women. This violates the Constitutionally guaranteed right of freedom of religion.

Liberals try to argue that this is not true. They say things like, "What if Jehovah Witnesses don't believe in blood transfusions and so they say we won't pay for blood transfusions for our employees," and "If Catholics can refuse birth control, Jehovah Witnesses can refuse blood transfusions." Some Catholics have tried courageously to distinguish the two.

The bottom line is that, like Cardinal Mindszenty, some leaders of the Catholic Church in America recognize that our religious freedoms are under attack. Unless we stand up against the attempts to secularize our country completely and erase religion from having any influence on matters, we are doomed to a society that will evolve into the ones that are the subject of books like The Hunger Games series. I for one do not want to live in a district where the inhabitant slaves do the bidding of the elite who occupy the lazy, over-the-top capital in order that they might live the good life. Sadly, that possibility is not that unimaginable any more.

As Mary Ann Glendon, a Catholic professor at Harvard, points out in a recent op ed, the Obama contraception mandate is not about protecting women's health, as Ms. Pelosi and other liberals feign. It is about drawing others who are trying to remain on the "good side" over to the "bad side." It is reminiscent of the childhood story we have all experienced, of those who steal a cookie and then give half to a friend or sibling so that they are also part of the sin and cannot tell on the thief.

Liberals know they are wrong in trying to mandate things that the Catholic Church will not condone (abortion, sterilization, contraception). But they try to draw everyone into their sin so that they can partake of their wicked ways and share the cost with those who are repulsed by their actions. This is precisely what Cardinal Mindszenty fought against.

So I thank Nancy Pelosi, and I challenge her to reflect back on what she prayed for as a child in the 40s and 50s. If we are careful, we might just get what she prayed for -- religious freedom.


  1. This is reminiscent of the childhood story we have all experienced, of a child who wants a cookie and then finding out they can't have exactly the right cookie, wants none of it.

    No one is trying to mandate abortion - no one is trying to mandate contraception. Such mandates would come from the Nazi or Communist regimes that Mindszenty fought against - not from the United States with whom Mindszenty found refuge for 15 years. Equating a bishop bringing a legal battle to keep premiums lower with Mindszenty's struggles that included his being tortured for his faith makes the bishops look ridculous - and diminishes the enemy that Mindszenty faced. Rather than mandating any action, HHS seems to be institutionalizing certain access for members of groups that are not strictly religious. This is a separate issue.

    Again, HHS is not mandating that Catholics use chemical birth control. Catholics are free to not use contraceptives. Whether these features are used or not, insurance premiums will still be higher. Including these features in a healthcare plan raises premiums and everyone likes lower premiums. The judgment by certain catholic groups to remove people's access to affordable healthcare rather than pay higher premiums is curious. Affordable healthcare in the US is precious and employee benefit plan is the sole source of healthcare for many. Removing affordable healthcare for employees and their families rather than offering an imperfect plan is sacrifices lives of those who have no other source of affordable care. These certain Catholic groups who drop employee plans without offering alternatives appear to not be pro-live - but peculiarly only pro-birth.

  2. I have to break this repsponse into two comments as it is too long for one. If you are using the cookie analogy in reference to the Bishops and health care, I would have to agree with your basic premise. The Bishops should NEVER have sought a cookie from the government in the first place! For reasons I will never understand, they thought the government (Obama) actually would live up to its promises that it would not make taxpayers pay for other people's abortions. Instead, the Bishops fell hook, line, and sinker for the smooth talking cookie salesman. He promised chocolate chip macadamia cookies, then pulled the old bait and switch and there was noting but gingerbread (obviously, not my favorite flavor) in the package he delivered.

    Those of us who oppose the HHS mandate are not saying it forces Catholics to use birth control or to have abortions. That would be universally rejected by even radical feminists (I hope). The basis of our opposition is that it requires an employer with a firm religious belief to violate a fundamental premise. Whether you understand it or not, paying for someone else's abortion, contraception or sterilization is as repulsive to me as the thought of doing it myself. Those without a firm belief system, particularly the Catholic faith, may not understand how that those things are equal in my mind. It is one thing to know the tenets and dogmas and teachings on an academic level. But to espouse them in your heart, to embrace them as divinely inspired, and to LOVE them as as part of who you are is a different can of worms.

    Obviously no one is saying that the mandate requires that someone get an abortion or that contraception be used. But the government IS mandating that the employer PAY FOR them. This is the crux of the argument. I don't see how anyone can deny that. It is what it is -- it mandates employers to pay for abortifacients, contraception, and sterilizations. This is objectionable not just for religious employers but for me as a Catholic who, if I own a business, am told that I MUST pay for these things for my female employees.

    The other piece that is sad in what you say is that this is a matter of saving money by not paying higher premiums. This issue is not a matter of cost. It is the mere fact that if I am an employer I have to violate my consciense by paying for something that I sincerely and wholeheartedly believe is wrong and against my faith. (cont.)

  3. (cont.) When you say that Catholic groups want to "remove people's access to affordable healthcare," this is another "talking point" of Democrats. Nothing that Catholic groups or employers say has any effect on ACCESS to these services. It does affect whether women get them FREE or have to pay for them themselves. I have access to buying a Lamborghini, but the fact that I cannot afford it does not mean it is not accessible to me. Birth control, sterilization, and abortfacients are and will still be available and plentiful (this week's Planned Parenthood videos confirm that) without this mandate.

    If Congress wants to force the makers of these products and services to give them away for free, so be it. That's a better solution all around. Why burden the employer with this? Why not burden the maker? To require the employer to foot the bill for employees' (and only FEMALES at that) morning-after pills and birth control pills and sterilization procedures because it reduces the cost of health care is saying that WOMEN's sex lives in general trump EVERYONE ELSE's religious liberty in general.

    This is the administration pandering to the women's base. They are Obama's only hope for re-election, so he is giving some of them what they want. What's sad is that they try to make it look like ALL women want this, whne in fact that is a complete fallacy.

    I know this is an issue on which we will never see eye-to-eye. I have worked almost my entire adult life with Catholic co-workers who endorse and support these types of causes, and I have learned to simply be silent. But when the government and a small group of vocal women try to implement a law that could force me violate my conscience, then I have to speak up and fight for what I believe in, just as they are fighting for the freebies that they want.

  4. First, the original posting above clearly states that "Liberals know they are wrong in trying to mandate things that the Catholic Church will not condone (abortion, sterilization, contraception).' This premise was used to support the conclusion that a particular group is trying to draw everyone into their sin. If the original premise is now being denied, i.e. "Obviously no one is saying that the mandate requires that someone get an abortion or that contraception be used." Then it seems the unsupported conclusion is just as wrong.

    Second, it is incorrect to say that this is not about money. Read the notice produced by Ave Maria University . It mentions the increased cost of insurance as a major factor in their decision to drop healthcare for their employees and students. Franciscan University in Stubenville dropped all healthcare for employees and students rather than pay for the option to have contraception. Yes, i agree that contraception may be easily available outside of a healthplan -- but healthcare necessary to live is not so easily available. These groups should have found another way to stay true to their beliefs than to eliminate the affordable healthcare they provided for their community.

  5. "These groups should have found another way to stay true to their beliefs than to eliminate the affordable healthcare they provided for their community." Any suggestions? ;)

  6. Yes, I suggest these individuals and groups make a different decision and do something different. These people who profess a pro-life stance could accept that access to affordable healthcare is a right and not a luxury. They could also agree that some healthcare is better than no healthcare. That would be a start. But, they didn't - and we know they won't. The decision-makers had an opportunity to do something different - and they didn't. Where the bottom line is about control over money - and the individuals and groups hide behind bishop's robes and invoke moral indignation at any cost - I dont see a reasonable and viable path forward for the affected communities.