Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Stupak Under Attack: What Have the Bishops Wrought?

And this is what the U.S. Catholic bishops have been enabling, massaging, creating, for some time now, with their "pro-life" politics.

I'm sorry for Bart Stupak--sorrier than I can say. 

I'm glad that he has found his conscience now.  And I hope he will continue to have courage to speak out about the ugly political games the bishops have been playing with the lives of millions of Americans without health care coverage.

And about their abdication of pastoral responsibility.  And their silence as the verbal and symbolic violence, the threats and vile language--in the name of the pro-life cause!--has grown uglier and uglier, from the last campaign right to the present.

Silence, complicity.

Addendum: Mark Potok on the obligation of responsible leaders who opposed health care reform to speak out to condemn the latest wave of violence following the passing of the healthcare bill:

These despicable attacks and those who help foment them are unworthy of any citizen of a democracy, let alone of those who pretend to be standing up for principled conservatism. What we are seeing is the infuriated response of thugs and those who like to encourage thugs. And what may be most appalling of all is the absolute temerity, not to say cowardice, of supposedly responsible leaders of those who opposed health care reform, almost none of whom have condemned the latest round of hate. It's a sad commentary on America that this is what our political process has become (emphasis added).

As I say to the U.S. Catholic bishops in my October 2008 open letter calling on them to denounce the escalating verbal violence in our political sphere, including verbal violence by people claiming to represent pro-life positions, the credibility of the bishops depends on whether they speak out.  Their outspoken rejection of the health care bill obligates them to condemn the kind of violence Bart Stupak is now experiencing.