Friday, September 25, 2009

Burke Followed By Terry Followed by Scalia: Keeping Track of Current Right-Wing Catholic Attacks on Obama Administration

And speaking of synchronicity, isn’t it interesting that Archbishop Burke has popped back across the Atlantic just at this particular time—right after the 9.12 folderol took place, and right before Congress was expected to begin voting on the health care reform bill?

Just in that significant little window of time, it happens, his right-wing Catholic handlers bring him on the scene to whip up the faithful, lambast his brother bishops who dare to give communion or Christian burial to those who accept gay marriage and don’t kowtow to their version of the pro-life agenda, and pontificate about Senator Kennedy’s funeral.

Oh, and to inform us that the health care reform bill has a “mandate” for abortion and “provides for the provision” of abortion.

We’d be foolish, I think, if we didn’t read these recent utterances of the “de facto pope of the Republican Catholic Church” as purely political—purely politically driven—pontifications. They’re designed to call the faithful to battle—to battle against the Obama administration and against the health care reform bill.

And as an insightful posting of Colleen Kochivar Baker to which I’ve just linked notes (citing a recent piece by David Gibson at Politics Daily), in beating the war drum this past week, Archbishop Burke was beating it against some of his own brother bishops, including Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who chose to give Senator Kennedy a Christian burial.

Burke and his handlers are working very hard to divide the American Catholic church, and to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the pastoral leadership of bishops who do not toe their Republican hard line. Following the dust-up that ensued when Burke gave an interview to Randall Terry this past March—an interview Terry uploaded to his website as if his extremist anti-abortion activities have Burke’s direct support—Burke distanced himself from Terry. Somewhat.

But here’s the thing. Terry works hand in hand with his more sober right-wing Catholic confreres, including Burke’s handlers, who do not want to be out on the front line wheeling baby carriages full of blood-smeared dolls, but who completely endorse Terry’s ideology and its political goals. What drives this movement is its intent to identify being Catholic in the U.S. with being Republican, to silence voices which question that alliance, and to drive religious and political dissidents out of the church.

And so it’s fascinating to see now that, on the heels of Burke’s remarks once again calling into question the pastoral legitimacy of some of his brother bishops who will not endorse his Republican Catholicism in toto, Randall Terry has leapt into action immediately. As Right Wing Watch reports yesterday, his current target is the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

On the heels of recent Burke’s performance in D.C., Terry and his groupies staged a demonstration at the headquarters of the USCCB. Their goal? To suggest that bishops who support health care reform support abortion.

Terry is continuing Burke’s recent work in D.C. This is not about abortion. It’s not about Catholic teaching that health care is a human right, and that moral societies need to provide access to basic quality health care to all citizens.

It’s about overturning the Obama administration, because only a Republican administration suits the wishes of those Catholics spearheading this attempt to split the American Catholic church. Even if said administration chooses to ignore the needs of millions of citizens for access to health care, leads us into war on the basis of lies, further enriches the rich and oppresses the poor, promotes capital punishment, etc. . . . .

Watch the video at the link I just provided reporting on Terry’s recent demonstration at the USCCB headquarters, and think of Burke lying about the “mandate” for abortion in the Baucus health care reform bill. And lambasting Cardinal O’Malley for giving Senator Kennedy a Christian burial.

It’s all of a piece. Synchronicity? I don't think so. Choreography, rather, with lots of money and lots of power determining each step in the process of this relentless attack on any political option for Catholics except the single one these right-wing activists promote.

P.S. Oh, and guess who else came out of the woodwork right on the heels of Burke's D.C. performance? Republican Catholic Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who has just given an interview to the Orthodox Jewish publication Hamodia, arguing against the separation of church and state. Look for more and more of these carefully orchestrated right-wing Catholic moves against the current administration to unfold in the near future, and as you do so, keep in mind that it's on September 29 that the Supreme Court is supposed to hear the appeal of the Catholic diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut, that Scalia has handed to the court, to permit the diocese to keep its files about clerical sexual abuses cases sealed.