Commentary following the announcement of the U.S. Catholic bishops two days ago that we most certainly do intend to keep fighting that old war the rest of you imagined we'd lost (I'm talking about the contraception war, by the way, not the war the Mississippians interviewed in the video about which I've just posted are talking about):
Sarah Posner at Salon notes that though the bishops have chosen to draw the line in the sand about contraceptive coverage, among the items really driving their hidden agenda is their intent to keep arguing for their "right," grounded in religious liberty, to keep discrimination against gay and lesbian citizens (and gay and lesbians employed by Catholic institutions alive):
Among other things, they’ve signaled their intent to demand exemptions from federal contracting requirements that their services to sex trafficking victims or HIV/AIDS patients not include full reproductive care, and have consistently raised, even in the face of exemptions for houses of worship, religious freedom objections to same-sex marriage laws.
Kudos to Posner, too, for naming the Catholic centrists who continue shamelessly to shill for the bishops and this "religious liberty" crusade that is all about denying rights to others. I appreciate that she puts Michael Sean Winters, who might as well be writing p-r copy for the bishops, right out on Front Street with her comments.
And at Huffington Post, Laura Bassett, carefully unravels the less than honest arguments the bishops keep pushing to fight their anti-contraception war. As she notes,
The bishops' statement is somewhat misleading. The new federal rule does not cover any drug that causes an abortion. It does cover emergency contraception, which prevents pregnancy.
Meanwhile, a new (and well-conducted and carefully worded, in contrast to some others recently administered) poll by Public Religion Research Institute contains bad news for the bishops, their shameless centrist Catholic co-belligerents, and the Republicans trying to ride this particular "values-based" horse to victory in the fall elections: only 6% of Americans see the HHS contraception guidelines as a threat to religious freedom.
And speaking of freedom of conscience and religious freedom for anyone except the religious right and the Catholic bishops, who are now one and the same: guess who was behind the Komen actions to defund Planned Parenthood and make the healthcare needs of poor and minority women a political bargaining chip in the 2012 elections?
I'll give you three guesses: the initials start with U.S.C.C.B.