Sunday, July 13, 2014

More Lipstick, Same Pig: Commonweal Regulars on Emergency Contraceptives as Abortifacients — The Bishops Say It, I Believe It, That Settles It

It's interesting to see how Crystal Watson's contributions to this conversation at Commonweal have been treated by several of the Commonweal regulars.* To get a sense of what I mean by the following observations, you'll have to read the thread carefully.

Crystal has been raked over the coals, talked down to, condescended to by people for whom the definition of Catholicism is clearly anything other than Ms. Crystal Watson — and they're intent on letting her know this. The very idea, one of them huffs, of waving New York Times articles or NPR programs under our noses, when we have the bishops!

And the bishops have spoken.

Fie on your attempt to establish scientific facts about whether emergency contraceptives cause abortions. The bishops have spoken.

And so who needs facts? How dare you not pay attention to the right-wing Catholics in this thread who listen to the bishops and repeat the bishops' claim (science be damned) that emergency contraceptives cause abortions? 

Listen to them, Ms. Watson, not to the Times and NPR. They're Catholic, after all. And the word "Catholic" means defining in and defining out, not asking questions that expand the boundaries and make them looser. 

It means that some of us count and others don't count. That some of us count more than others.

Catholics care about nothing more than a tiny a tiny dot no bigger than a pencil point, after all: the fertilized zygote. Caring passionately about that tiny pinpoint of matter makes Catholics compassionate. It makes them welcoming. It makes them inclusive.

Though, as one of the Commonweal regulars in this thread tells Crystal as he upbraids her and puts her into her place (the New York Times and NPR and not the bishops: the very idea!), "the only reason" he engaged her in this thread was because she dared to appropriate to herself and her kind the title "Catholic," when that title belongs to him and his kind.

Who stand with the bishops.

Who have spoken.

Who tell us, science and the Times and NPR be damned, that contraceptives are abortifacients, and no further questions may be asked.

"The only reason I engaged you in this thread": it's zygotes that demand our attention and compassion. Not fellow Catholics who ask questions that make us uncomfortable.

And who really have no part in our Catholic conversations (hence our use of the not-going-to-engage-you tool to let you know you don't count at all, with your Times citations and NPR references and nattering on about scientific truth in a discussion in which science be damned). 

The word "Catholic" has come to mean a hella lot of mean-spirited, unwelcoming, condescending, self-righteous nonsense for a lot of us at this point in history, hasn't it? Is it any wonder at all that young people are walking away from this mean-spirited, unwelcoming, condescending and self-righteous mess as fast as their feet can carry them, as they search for spiritual authenticity and meaningful community in a world in which those items are a precious commodity — a commodity not in any evidence at all in how the definers of Catholic truth treat the rest of their fellow Catholics these days?

"The only reason I engaged you in this thread," indeed!

*My comments clearly have to do with the thread following Lisa Fullam's good posting, not with the posting itself, or with her respectful interaction with Crystal Watson in the thread.

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