And, in contrast to the previous posting, this is one of the good birdcage droppings — the non-stinky ones: at the Commonweal blog, Paul Moses notes that the U.S. Catholic bishops have a "long way to go" to convince Catholics to get on board their "religious liberty" train. As Moses notes, a new poll done by the Public Religion Research Institute shows that a majority of U.S. Catholics (51%) do not share the bishops' perception that religious freedom is under attack in the United States today.
Both millennial Catholics and Catholic women disagree even more sharply with the bishops' insistence that Catholics need to rally around the episcopal banner and fight whoever (hint: O-B-A-M-A) is ostensibly trying to take away their religious freedom.
It's unusual to find myself among a majority of Catholics on almost any political issue. [At least, the Catholics who roam on the these blogs!]
This "religious liberty" fiction of the hierarchs is a thinly veiled political gambit to impose their reactionary, anti-feminine ideology on the American public, and on the rest of us, while they like to skirt the constitutional imperatives of "due process" and "equal protection of the law."
The problem for the hierarchs is that all those Catholic sisters taught us - especially the girls - how to read and write, and fostered independent thinking. What were the hierarchs thinking when they set up those Catholic schools?
And here's AP reporter Steve Peoples reporting this morning on the Values Voter Summitt that begins today in Washington, D.C., in an article entitled "Republicans Rallying Behind Religious Liberty" which is everywhere online at news sites right now:
But evangelical organizers of the event largely expect participants to unite around what they call Obama's attack on religious liberty, according to Tony Perkins, president of the host organization, the Family Research Council. Perkins cited an Obama administration rule that compels health insurers to cover female contraception in addition to a foreign policy he says doesn't do enough to protect Christian values around the world.
"Without religious freedom, we lose the ability to even address those other issues," Perkins said of social issues, declaring that "a fundamental shift" is underway toward religious freedom but that evangelical voters would not forget conservative values such as traditional marriage come Election Day.
Translation: "Religious freedom," with its attack on gay people and their human rights including the right to civil marriage, and with its attack on women and their right to adequate healthcare including contraceptives, is all about "Election Day." It's all about driving Republican voters to the polls on "Election Day."
And so it's with very ill grace that the U.S. Catholic bishops and their centrist Catholic-media enablers claim it's about anything else. Not when the evidence that the "religious freedom" movement is being driven by conservative Republicans colluding with conservative white evangelicals (and the USCCB) with the intent of getting right-wing evangelicals and right-wing Catholics to the polls to vote GOP on "Election Day" is so overwhelming. And when the organizers of the Values Voter summit explicitly state that this is their goal as they blather on about "religious freedom."