You already know that the occasionally celibate Catholic hierarchy has strong opinions on how those who admit to having sex should conduct themselves. In Minnesota, the bishops have been busy trying to get the law on their side. Earlier this month, they lobbied against the much lauded decision that insurance companies will now be required to cover birth control–even if it doesn’t rely on the unrealistic assumption that women’s bodies don’t vary from menstrual cycle to menstrual cycle.
The bishops said the rule would “require taxpayers and providers to act against deeply-held convictions regarding the sanctity of life, as the promotion and provision of drugs like “Ella” (ulipristal acetate) and other abortifacient agents are enabled by this mandate.”
Coverage of abortion services is not included in the mandate. Calling drugs like Ella abortifacients is not the legal definition; they don’t actually cause abortions. However, as Christianity Today noted, the Catholic Church and other conservative Christians view the drug as abortion-inducing from a moral perspective.
The bishops also object to the current “conscience clause” in the mandate.
A religious organization is exempt from the mandate so long as it “has as the inculcation of religious values as its purpose, primarily employs persons who share its religious tenets, and primarily serves persons who share its religious tenets.”
The bishops worry that religious charities would either have to provide health coverage that offers birth control or opt not to cover their employees at all.
“By exempting only those who employ and/or serve persons of the same religious tradition from its mandates, Catholic health care providers—the safety net for many of our marginalized sisters and brothers—cannot enjoy the exception without abandoning our mission, to the significant detriment of those in need.”
It’s a pity they have so little faith in their co-religionists. Also, snark aside, rather disgusting that they would even consider leaving their employees without health care over this. God’s priorities in protecting life are mysterious indeed.
Then, just a few days ago, the bishops decided it was time to get serious about meddling in the sex lives of non-Catholics.
Archbishop John Nienstedt sent a letter to every priest in the state at the start of October urging them to put every Catholic church in Minnesota tow work passing a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
“It is imperative that we marshal our resources to educate the faithful about the Church’s teachings on these matters, and to vigorously organize and support a grass roots effort to get out the vote to support the passage of the amendment,” the letter read. It went out on Oct. 4 to every priest in the state.
The archbishop said it wants priests in every parish to identify a “church captain” in order to create an “ad hoc committee” in every church in the state. The “church captain” is a component of the Schubert Flint strategy used in 2008′s divisive Proposition 8 battle in California.
According to Nienstedt’s letter, the church captains will be organized by the Minnesota Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the Catholic church, which will in turn report to the Minnesota for Marriage coalition for statewide efforts. Minnesota for Marriage is made up of the Minnesota Family Council, MCC and the National Organization for Marriage.
Yes, the public policy arm of the church is gearing up for a major political campaign to abridge the rights of people not of their faith. On religious grounds. Using religious resources.
When can we start collecting back taxes from these guys?