US Catholic Bishops Are Following the Path of Bob Jones University

By: Saturday June 21, 2014 9:09 am

When it comes to Supreme Court cases involving the freedom of religion, one of the biggest cases is Bob Jones University v US from 1983. The presenting political issue was the segregationist practices of the school, but the specific legal issue before the court was the school’s tax exempt status. Congress had passed laws that cut off federal education money from any school that practiced racial discrimination, and the school tried to claim that the first amendment gave them an exemption from such laws. SCOTUS laughed loudly. You can discriminate all you want in the way you run your school, said the justices, but you can’t expect society to subsidize it.

And now, in the wake of President Obama’s executive order granting LGBTs protection from discrimination by federal contractors, the USCCB is upset because without an exemption from this on religious grounds, they will not be able to engage in the kind of “just discrimination” to which they have become accustomed. I’d love to hear what happens when their attorneys read them the relevant parts of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Bob Jones v US.

 

Caring for the Poor Is Up for Debate in the Catholic Church?

By: Saturday May 11, 2013 9:05 am

Paul Ryan is the commencement speaker today at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. Given Ryan’s approach to budgeting, it’s hard to come up with a more un-Benedictine choice for speaker.

Maybe the college president is trying to show how radical the Benedictine approach to hospitality is.

Catholic Bishops Now Oppose Violence Against Women Act

By: Saturday March 9, 2013 9:00 am

Once upon a time, the USCCB produced a pastoral statement on domestic violence that opened with this sentence: “As pastors of the Catholic Church in the United States, we state as clearly and strongly as we can that violence against women, inside or outside the home, is never justified.” Among other things, the statement takes on those who would misuse scripture to justify domestic violence, and calls on the church to keep in mind three things: the safety of the victim (and any children in the home), accountability for the perpetrator, and either restoring the relationship or mourning its loss.

Once upon a time, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops supported the Violence Against Women Act. This is not that time. Not any more . . .

A Humble Suggestion for the College of Cardinals

By: Saturday February 23, 2013 9:00 am

Father James Martin, SJ, humbly proposed to the college of cardinals that they look beyond their own ranks for a new pope, and offered himself as an obvious choice. (Gotta love those Jesuits and their fine sense of humor!). But I think the good father didn’t go far enough.

Things are in a real tough place for the Roman Catholic church, from the scandal of bishops protecting priests who sexually abused children from the law to the non-transparency of the Vatican Bank that is putting their relationship with major EU banks in jeopardy to liturgical translation battles and other worship wars to . . . well, you get the idea. What is needed is something — someone — really outside the box. Someone that will capture the attention of the world. Someone whose selection will be so out-of-the-blue that it could only be seen as a miracle, an act of God. Someone like . . .

Does Anyone in DC Remember *All* of Lincoln’s Second Inaugural?

By: Saturday January 19, 2013 9:05 am

On the eve of President Obama’s second inaugural address, I am reminded of Abraham Lincoln’s, delivered on the eve of both the end of the Civil War and his own assassination. Lincoln packed more into four paragraphs than others can deliver in forty pages, and every president since him dreams of trying to get even close to his eloquence. The last paragraph of that speech gets enormous attention — as it should — but if one doesn’t see what Lincoln does in the first three, that last immortal paragraph is robbed of its full power, and the powerful vision of the future he paints remains just that: a vision of the future.

The Difference Between Boy Scout Executives and Catholic Bishops

By: Saturday October 20, 2012 9:00 am

With the release of the “perversion files” compiled by the Boy Scouts of America, one of the talking points of the Catholic hierarchy and their defenders has gained more support. “See, child sexual abuse isn’t just a Catholic problem.” As Archbishop Timothy Dolan correctly noted last year, abusers are found in the ranks of not only priests but also teachers, coaches, family members, and yes, boy scout troop leaders. But the release of the Boy Scout files also undercuts those same talking points, too. As Archbishop Dolan incorrectly noted, the attention — and the lawsuits — aren’t restricted to the Catholic church.

Both organizations were clearly worried about institutional reputation, and the records in both the church and the scouts show how they worked to cover up, hide, and otherwise keep things out of the media and the courtroom. Both groups need to be, and increasingly are being, held accountable for this failure. But there is a significant difference between the two groups. One tried to weed these abusers out of their leadership; the other shifted these abusers around.

Meet the (formerly) Rev. William Cramer . . .

Catholic Hospitals Join Criticism of Obamacare Contraception Coverage

By: Monday June 18, 2012 7:15 pm

Only heterogenous institutions that mark themselves as religiously affiliated, like Catholic hospitals and universities, institutions that have non-religious employees or followers of a different religion working there, would have to comply with the birth control insurance coverage under a preventive services regime, and even then, they wouldn’t have to be directly involved in the transaction. Even then, Catholic Hospitals, who seemed originally supportive of the rule have not said they oppose it.

Bigotry Again Masquerading as Religious Liberty

By: Saturday June 16, 2012 9:00 am

In the 1850s and 60s, there were slaveholders who justified their ways by appealing to their religious beliefs. In the 1950s and 60s, there were segregationists who screamed “religious liberty” when their practices were questioned. Today, it’s the US Conference of Catholic Bishops doing the same with regard to laws and regulations that attempt to protect the rights of women to equal treatment, and anti-gay crusaders who want a religious exemption to continue their anti-gay ways.

In 1983, though, the US Supreme Court ruled in Bob Jones University v US that shouting “religious liberty!” is not a magic incantation that automatically frees the speaker from the laws of society. As Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. — no hater of the church — wrote, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Even, or especially, when that injustice is perpetrated in the name of religious liberty.

Sorry, Bishops, But the Answer Is No

By: Friday April 13, 2012 10:38 am

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops is trying to play the martyr once more. This time, they are trying to claim the mantle of James Madison and Martin Luther King Jr. as they self-righteously hold themselves up as the defenders of religious liberty. If the bishops were truly honest and transparent about what they are doing, however, there’d be a revision of Dante’s sign hanging over the door to every bishop’s office and over the entrances to far too many catholic churches: “Abandon all independent thinking, ye who enter here”.

Sorry, your eminences, but the answer is no.

Mitt Romney’s “Freedom of Religion” Problem

By: Saturday March 3, 2012 9:00 am

Mitt Romney’s got a problem, when the discussion turns to opposing the mandate to provide contraception on the grounds of religious freedom. In the first Supreme Court case on the free exercise of religion clause of the First Amendment, Reynolds v US [98 U.S. 145 (1879)], George Reynolds argued that his religious beliefs should give him the freedom to ignore a law that is binding on others who don’t hold those beliefs. Reynolds lost, as have others who have tried to make that argument since then.

But what was the law that Reynolds broke? The law prohibiting polygamy.

The more that folks like the Catholic bishops and Roy Blunt want to talk about contraception, the more likely it is that folks will be looking at George Reynolds and his two wives.

And the last thing Romney wants to do is for people to start to talk about polygamy.

SUPPORT FIREDOGLAKE
Follow Firedoglake
TODAY’S TOP POSTS
CSM Ads advertisement
Advertisement