Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Two Pictures, Two Thousand Words: Bishops Playing Partisan Politics with Human Needs

I'm fascinated by the picture National Catholic Reporter chose to accompany John Allen's article about the shoddy attack on health care reform that the bishops of Kansas City chose to mount recently. The picture shows the good bishops sharing a laugh.

Laughs seem to be making the round in Kansas these days. I wonder if the laugh the good bishops are sharing in the NCR article's picture is similar to the one that Kansas Republican representative Lynn "Great White Hope" Jenkins had recently at the expense of an uninsured mother and child at a town-hall meeting in Kansas.

When I read Bishop Naumann and Finn's letter undermining Catholic teaching about health care as a human right, I hear strong echoes of the relentless war that the Bush administration declared on civil and human rights.

And that's to say I hear the mocking laughter of bishops who are more interested in playing partisan politics than promoting core Catholic values in the area of health care, even when that means increasing the suffering of many poor brothers and sisters who lack access to basic health care. And of poor women confronted with horrible choices about whether to terminate a pregnancy because they lack the social support networks necessary to prevent such dilemmas.

So I'm far more inclined to cry than laugh, when I see Bishops Finn and Naumann laughing along with Representative Jenkins.