Tom McLaughlin

A former history teacher, Tom is a columnist who lives in Lovell, Maine. His column is published in Maine and New Hampshire newspapers and on numerous web sites. Email: tommclaughlin@fairpoint.net

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Bishops Buck Up

America’s Catholic bishops have drawn a line in the sand. They aren’t going obsequiously to Kathleen Sebelius’ Department of Health and Human Services trying negotiate a broader definition of Obamacare’s conscience clause. Instead, they’re calling for open defiance - civil disobedience. They're refusing to pay for contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs. They’re invoking the legacy of the Reverend Martin Luther King and encouraging American Catholics to disobey their government in this matter. As their letter says: “It cannot be obeyed and therefore one does not seek relief from it, but rather its repeal.”

This will damage for President Obama’s reelection chances, but I don’t think he understands yet how bad it is going to be for him. Did his reelection campaign pick this fight? Did they tell George Stephanopoulos to ask Mitt Romney that contraception question out of the blue during the presidential debates to begin orchestrating the alleged Republican “war on women”? Was this a calculated threat meant to solidify the female vote in November? If so, it’s going to backfire, bigtime.

Warning the president two months ago that he had the gauntlet in hand and was about to throw it down, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York invoked another Democrat president: “President Johnson said, as an American, I look to the church — I look to religion as a beehive. If you leave them alone, they’re going to give you tons of their honey. But if you stick your head in there, you’re going to get stung bad.”

“I didn’t leave the Democrat Party. The Democrat Party left me,” said Ronald Reagan and the same applies to this writer. I left shortly after Bill Clinton was elected president, but Reagan left back in the fifties. When meeting new people and exchanging information, I sometimes say I’m a “Boston-Irish-Catholic-former Democrat.” Usually there’s a slight pause, then maybe a small chuckle, and sometimes a turning away. Some say, “Ah. A former Democrat,” and grin comprehendingly. They know I’ve separated myself from the party of my forebears and that helps them begin to understand my world view and my spiritual view.

My ancestors going back three generations were all Boston-Irish-Catholic-Democrats, members of the clan. In order of priority, the men were Irish-Catholic-Democrats from Boston. The women were Catholic-Irish-Democrats from Boston. Catholicism was first for the women, but not usually the men. The women were not as interested in politics as the men, but politicians were interested in them. Ward bosses pressed them to vote Democrat in every election and they did. Their husbands’ and sons’ jobs often depended on them turning out every vote in their family, even some who may have died already. As the quintessential Boston-Irish-Catholic-Democrat politician’s slogan went: “Vote early and often for Curley.” That would be himself: James Michael Curley - former mayor, congressman, and governor of Massachusetts. Once, he was reelected as a “guest of the state” in his jail cell.

My education was in Catholic schools in Greater Boston from the second grade through high school. I was thoroughly trained in the conservative Roman Catholicism of the age. My local diocese was headed by Richard Cardinal Cushing, great friend of the Kennedy family whose scion, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was elected congressman, then senator, then president in 1960. Those were exciting times for a member of the clan growing up. My ilk didn’t just run Boston; they ran the whole state. Democrats were pro-union, pro-life, and anti-communist. They believed homosexuality was a perversion and that government at all levels should help the poor. They didn’t change, but the Democrat Party did, not on the issues of unions and welfare - not at first - but on all the rest they just flipped.

They became the party of abortion. No Democrat president will appoint a justice to any federal court who isn’t dedicated to Roe V Wade. While not overtly pro-communist, they’re so consistently socialist in their wealth-redistribution and regulatory bureaucracies, that there are virtually no more conservatives in the party. They’re coming to resembling Sweden and Greece more than the Democrat party of my youth.

Many conservatives abandoned the Democrat Party in the 1980s and became “Reagan Democrats.” Hardcore union types, however, didn’t. They stayed on, but how many will continue now that the USCCB has thrown down that gauntlet?

Less than three years ago, Obamacare was rammed through Congress with the open support of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Now, however, the USCCB is preaches open defiance of Obama’s contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drug mandate that is part of the bill. The veil of political naivete has fallen away from the bishops’ eyes. How is this going to play out for the president?

We’ll know late into the evening of the first Tuesday in November.

Labels: , , , , ,

20 Comments:

Anonymous Paul said...

Institutions and organizations do change over time and not always for the better. Tradition is hard to overcome. If your parents believed strongly in a political party, its hard to reject their chosen path. Contrary to popular opinion outside of the South, this conundrum is still being played out with Southern white males. Like your experience, almost everyone reared (we say "raised) in North Carolina used to be Democrats. As you point out, Ronaldus Magnus motivated, gave permission or cover one might say, for many to overcome the sacred history of their parents formed, in this part of the world, from the unpleasantness of the mid-1800s, to change their party affiliation. Others, however, have yet to make the mature break justified by all that you point out in your article. Some people just can not so far reject their traditions. My opinion is that this is changing.

5/2/12, 12:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“Sadism dominates the culture. It runs like an electric current through reality television and trash-talk programs, is at the core of pornography, and fuels the compliant, corporate collective. Corporatism is about crushing the capacity for moral choice and diminishing the individual to force him or her into an ostensibly harmonious collective. This hypermasculinity has its logical fruition in Abu Ghraib, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and our lack of compassion for our homeless, our poor, the mentally ill, the unemployed, and the sick. ... We accept the system handed to us and seek to find a comfortable place within it. We retreat into the narrow, confined ghettos created for us and shut our eyes to the deadly superstructure of the corporate state.”
― Chris Hedges, Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle

5/2/12, 6:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It is hard to muster much sympathy over the implosion of the Catholic Church, traditional Protestant denominations or Jewish synagogues. These institutions were passive as the Christian right, which peddles magical thinking and a Jesus-as-warrior philosophy, hijacked the language and iconography of traditional Christianity. They have busied themselves with the boutique activism of the culture wars. They have failed to unequivocally denounce unfettered capitalism, globalization and pre-emptive war. The obsession with personal piety and “How-is-it-with-me?” spirituality that permeates most congregations is narcissism. And while the Protestant church and reformed Judaism have not replicated the perfidiousness of the Catholic bishops, who protect child-molesting priests, they have little to say in an age when we desperately need moral guidance.

I grew up in the church and graduated from a seminary. It is an institution whose cruelty, inflicted on my father, who was a Presbyterian minister, I know intimately. I do not attend church. The cloying, feel-your-pain language of the average clergy member makes me run for the door. The debates in most churches—whether revolving around homosexuality or biblical interpretation—are a waste of energy. I have no desire to belong to any organization, religious or otherwise, which discriminates, nor will I spend my time trying to convince someone that the raw anti-Semitism in the Gospel of John might not be the word of God. It makes no difference to me if Jesus existed or not. There is no historical evidence that he did. Fairy tales about heaven and hell, angels, miracles, saints, divine intervention and God’s beneficent plan for us are repeatedly mocked in the brutality and indiscriminate killing in war zones, where I witnessed children murdered for sport and psychopathic gangsters elevated to demigods. The Bible works only as metaphor...."

There is more at truthdig.com
"After religion Fizzles, We're stuck with Nietzsche"
CHris Hedges
---Chris Hedges

5/2/12, 6:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, exactly. Thanks anonymous

"The debates in most churches—whether revolving around homosexuality or biblical interpretation—are a waste of energy. I have no desire to belong to any organization, religious or otherwise, which discriminates, nor will I spend my time trying to convince someone that the raw anti-Semitism in the Gospel of John might not be the word of God. It makes no difference to me if Jesus existed or not. There is no historical evidence that he did. Fairy tales about heaven and hell, angels, miracles, saints, divine intervention and God’s beneficent plan for us are repeatedly mocked in the brutality and indiscriminate killing in war zones, where I witnessed children murdered for sport and psychopathic gangsters elevated to demigods...."

5/3/12, 12:38 AM  
Blogger Tom McLaughlin said...

First Hedges writes about the
"perfidiousness of the Catholic bishops, who protect child-molesting priests."

Then he says: "The debates in most churches—whether revolving around homosexuality or biblical interpretation—are a waste of energy."

Children were molested because at least 40% of Catholic priests were homosexuals.

Hedges is an angry man who focuses on capitalism. He may have gone to seminary, but he's not Christian if he says: "It makes no difference to me if Jesus existed or not. There is no historical evidence that he did."

Fine Chris, you reject Christianity. Go ahead and live your life in reaction to it. Anonymous: you may do the same.

I am a believer.

5/3/12, 8:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not surprising to hear the cries of homosexuality when it comes to priests raping boys. However, it just isn't true. Convenient, yes. True? No. It is a much more serious, evil, and complicated issue.

Hedges point being the bishops betrayed their faith, and their god, by being complicit in the cover up.

Where on earth do you get this 40 percent "were" gay? Come on.....Please....

ANd the part about discrimination? You consider yourself christian yet you discriminate? Wow...So, Jesus would hate the gays? IS that it?

Hedges can certainly maintain christian values and morals without believing in the creation myth characters (Jesus). This is where you all fail miserably. Biblical literalism? Come on...

And, having graduated from Harvard Divinity School I'm guessing he may know a bit more a bout religion than you?

Indeed he is pissed about unfettered capitalism. If you aren't than you simply have no idea what the hell is going on. ANd that's why he and Noam Chomsky, et al, are suing Obama over NDAA.

If you'd focus more on the international banking cartel that is ruining this country---and things like NDAA, CISPA, Fast and Furious, etc. rather then Jesus then maybe we'd expose some real evil.

5/3/12, 4:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could you be more irrelevant?

Listen to the above posts! Please!
Do you even get the horror that NDAA allows? Cispa?
Do you know our president ran guns in Mexico?
Or that war room photos from the OBL raid were staged?
How about the federal reserve? It's unconstitutional! And the single reason for our collapse.
Libya? The fake left vs right paradigm? Ron Paul getting ignored by the media, and delegates stolen and lied about? Come on....these are pressing, real issues.

And, the priest ring boys thing has more to do with power and a sick and twisted ego than homosexuality.
I'm curious----what would Jesus say about homosexuals?

5/3/12, 5:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

More from that hedges article:

"The institutional church, when it does speak, mutters pious non-statements that mean nothing. “Given the complexity of factors involved, many of which understandably remain confidential, it is altogether appropriate for members of our armed forces to presume the integrity of our leadership and its judgments, and therefore to carry out their military duties in good conscience,” Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien, head of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, wrote about the Iraq war. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, on the eve of the invasion, told believers that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was a menace, and that reasonable people could disagree about the necessity of using force to overthrow him. It assured those who supported the war that God would not object.

B’nai B’rith supported a congressional resolution to authorize the 2003 attack on Iraq. The Union of American Hebrew Congregations, which represents Reform Judaism, agreed it would back unilateral action, as long as Congress approved and the president sought support from other nations. The National Council of Churches, which represents 36 different faith groups, in a typical bromide, urged President George W. Bush to “do all possible” to avoid war with Iraq and to stop “demonizing adversaries or enemies” with good-versus-evil rhetoric, but, like the other liberal religious institutions, did not condemn the war. 

A Gallup poll in 2006 found that “the more frequently an American attends church, the less likely he or she is to say the war was a mistake.” Given that Jesus was a pacifist, and given that all of us who graduated from seminary rigorously studied Just War doctrine, which was flagrantly violated by the invasion of Iraq, this is a rather startling statistic.

But I cannot rejoice in the collapse of these institutions. We are not going to be saved by faith in reason, science and technology, which the dead zone of oil forming in the Gulf of Mexico and our production of costly and redundant weapons systems illustrate. Frederick Nietzsche’s Übermensch, or “Superman”—our secular religion—is as fantasy-driven as religious magical thinking.
There remain, in spite of the leaders of these institutions, religiously motivated people toiling in the inner city and the slums of the developing world. They remain true to the core religious and moral values ignored by these institutions. The essential teachings of the monotheistic traditions are now lost in the muck of church dogma, hollow creeds and the banal bureaucracy of institutional religion. These teachings helped create the concept of the individual. The belief that we can exist as distinct beings from the tribe, or the crowd, and that we are called on as individuals to make moral decisions that can defy the clamor of the nation is one of the gifts of religious thought. This call for individual responsibility is coupled with the constant injunctions in Islam, Judaism and Christianity for compassion, especially for the weak, the impoverished, the sick and the outcast."

5/3/12, 5:59 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

Mr. McLaughlin, when you write "Children were molested because at least 40% of Catholic priests were homosexuals." you make it sound like you consider their true crime/offense to be homosexuality and not pedophilia. Your well-documented disfavor of homosexuality aside, if a grown man forces himself on an underaged girl, is he just a heterosexual?

5/3/12, 9:32 PM  
Blogger Tom McLaughlin said...

Homosexuals claim there is no overlap between homosexuality and pedophilia. Anyone, like me for instance, who doesn't buy that is set up for attack. I'm used to it.

It's true that most pedophiles are heterosexual. While not all homosexuals are pedophiles, there's a much higher percentage of them who are pedophiles than is the case with heterosexuals.

The Church teaches that homosexuality is "intrinsically disordered" and I believe that. Soon, if present trends continue, it will become a "hate crime" to even say that, but for now at least I'm still free to write it here.

More than 85% of the victims of priestly molestations were pubescent males. This was a homosexual priest scandal, covered up by homosexual bishops and then spun by homosexual activists at the Boston Globe which initially broke the story. The Globe's intent was to trash the Church while not hampering their agenda in the process.

The Church hasn't gone far enough to purge itself of that liberal, homosexual element, but it's making progress under Pope Benedict.

5/4/12, 8:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blame blame blame. We are all responsible for our own actions.

5/4/12, 10:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it a coincidence that your column shows up as SPAM in my mail box?

5/4/12, 10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And you consider yourself educated?
Homosexuality has very little to do with
pedaephelia. Jerry Sandusky? you know, the big strapping football player and coach? He is Married. Not gay. Just got off raping little boys.

"While not all homosexuals are pedophiles, there's a much higher percentage of them who are pedophiles than is the case with heterosexuals."---------- really? I'll wait for you to cite your data. I mean, I realize you wish that were true, but the facts exist in reality. How can you throw around such non sense as fact? You insult all the little boys who have suffered as victims. Shame on you.

Freud had you and your kind pretty easily pegged.

5/4/12, 10:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your counterparts, the satanists, engage in peadophelia because they believe it gives them special energy to rape a boy. No joke. And no, they aren't gay.

5/4/12, 10:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait, did you say the " liberal homosexual element"? Hahaha!

I love that one. Yet, it's the GOP that constantly gets caught in homosexual scandals...Minneapolis airport toe tapping. Handsome young pages. Etc. etc.
But hey, why acknowledge reality???

Hahahahahahaha!!!!

5/4/12, 10:55 AM  
Anonymous Winston Smith said...

"For the present discussion, the important point is that many child molesters cannot be meaningfully described as homosexuals, heterosexuals, or bisexuals (in the usual sense of those terms) because they are not really capable of a relationship with an adult man or woman. Instead of gender, their sexual attractions are based primarily on age. These individuals – who are often characterized as fixated – are attracted to children, not to men or women.

Using the fixated-regressed distinction, Groth and Birnbaum (1978) studied 175 adult males who were convicted in Massachusetts of sexual assault against a child. None of the men had an exclusively homosexual adult sexual orientation. 83 (47%) were classified as "fixated;" 70 others (40%) were classified as regressed adult heterosexuals; the remaining 22 (13%) were classified as regressed adult bisexuals. Of the last group, Groth and Birnbaum observed that "in their adult relationships they engaged in sex on occasion with men as well as with women. However, in no case did this attraction to men exceed their preference for women....There were no men who were primarily sexually attracted to other adult males..." (p.180). "

The least you could do is attempt professionalism.
You have not a clue what you rant and rave about.

5/4/12, 11:01 AM  
Anonymous Winston Smith said...

"Other researchers have taken different approaches, but have similarly failed to find a connection between homosexuality and child molestation. Dr. Carole Jenny and her colleagues reviewed 352 medical charts, representing all of the sexually abused children seen in the emergency room or child abuse clinic of a Denver children's hospital during a one-year period (from July 1, 1991 to June 30, 1992). The molester was a gay or lesbian adult in fewer than 1% in which an adult molester could be identified – only 2 of the 269 cases (Jenny et al., 1994)."

Maybe, oh I don't know, study your subject before ranting about it?

5/4/12, 11:04 AM  
Anonymous Paul said...

Interesting, Tom, that your article has generated such strong, bitter and negative reaction from people whose judgment, I guess, has been clouded by life's experiences. I take it from your article you are encouraging us to overcome these negative and distructive "experiences" and "traditions" to move positively forward in life towards acceptance in faith the good for us all. You seem, also, to encourage the reader to correct the errors found in institutions that are supposed to be facilitators of this path. I feel for these responding people who are off in the weeds. Its possible change can come for them in the future. Unfortunately, we have to bear with them in Christian love until that time comes.

5/4/12, 3:32 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

"Homosexuals claim there is no overlap between homosexuality and pedophilia. Anyone, like me for instance, who doesn't buy that is set up for attack. I'm used to it."
Disagreement is not attack. To every conservative who claims liberals play the victim card: physician, heal thyself.

5/4/12, 5:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Facts leave ya speechless?
Pesky aren't they? The facts.

5/8/12, 6:48 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home