14 November 2012

"That Wasn't Part of the Deal, Blackheart!": the U.S. Bishops and Obamacare

The above quote comes from a Simpsons episode where Bart wins an elephant in a radio contest. As you can imagine, the animal causes a ton of destruction and the family can't afford to care for it. So Homer tries to sell it to an ivory dealer named Blackheart. Bart, trying to save his elephant (Stampy), takes off with him. The following dialogue occurs:

Lisa: Bart's gone! I bet it's because of that horrible ivory dealer, Dad!

Homer: He took Bart too? That wasn't part of our deal Blackheart! That wasn't part!

Thus Homer feels the pain of unintended consequences, and hilarity ensues.

Now consider the political activism in favor of big government generally, and for socialized medicine particularly, in light of the conscience-violating, anti-life mandates of Obamacare. The bishops unfortunately were all for this monstrosity, with the understanding that abortion would not be funded and that contraception coverage would not be forced on them. When their deal with the democrats led to their sell-out, they finally took action to resist it, and to rally the faithful. The ever-dwindling number of the faithful did respond, but to no avail.

So, we have Obamacare, with no election or court decision to stop it. And the mandate remains. The complicity of leftist "Catholics", nuns and politicians is known. Yet also the bumbling or design of modernist bishops has to be noted.

Call it the elephant in the room.

Ryan McMaken has this to say at Lew Rockwell's blog, and though some of the language is a little too harsh, the logic of it is sound:

Thank the U.S. Bishops for Obamacare

Apocryphally attributed to Thomas Jefferson, the observation that "a government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take it all away" is nevertheless true, and should be framed on the wall of every American bishop. The bishops, who have been adamantly opposing the Obamacare mandates which violate Catholic religious freedom, have nevertheless pushed for socialized medicine for decades. They even supported Obamacare itself, provided it was the right Obamacare.

Now, after decades of feeding the beast of socialism, which has now turned on them, who can be surprised? Apparently, a bunch of bishops who seem to have about the same level of knowledge about government and political power as my seventh-grade civics teacher. These are people who have for years been telling us that government should have free rein to control and regulate every aspect of our lives, as long as it meets the demands of "social justice" which for most of these bishops doesn't mean charity, but simply socialism with a little God thrown on top. Few organizations have done more than the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to pave the way for Obamacare. They made that bed, but now all of us have to lie in it.

And the same old song and dance still hasn't ended. At their meeting this week, the bishops were attempting to do the same old thing they've been doing for decades: Agitating for a bigger and more authoritarian government:

"The bishops also complained that the document overlooked issues of tax fairness, budget cuts to the safety net, the economic plight of the middle class, regulation of the financial sector, and greed and criminality in the lending industry."

Yes, clearly what these bishops should be doing is opining on matters of the financial sector and tax fairness.

Here's a modest proposal, how about the Bishops actually preach the Gospel? I know that's just crazy talk, but if you're an American Catholic like me, you know that it's been literally decades since many Catholics have actually heard any orthodox Catholicism from the pulpit. Forming good priests who preach well requires some actual work on the part of the bishops, however, and it's hard to do that sort of thing when you're too busy having junkets where you're debating the finer points of your personal opinions about sales taxes.

It's notable the the most sane voices at the conference were the younger bishops who aren't still living in a fantasy land in which it's always 1972 and we're still tinkering our way to utopia:

Yet in a sign of the growing generational and ideological split among the bishops, some of the younger and more conservative bishops wanted to kill the statement because they believe the hierarchy should largely restrict their statements to matters of faith. They also view traditional Catholic social teaching with suspicion, and say the church should emphasize private charity rather than government action to cure social ills.

“I think the best thing we can do is to scrap the document and go home and find some tangible and practical ways to help the poor,” said Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, R.I., who dismissed the document as irrelevant.

Maybe if the bishops overall took Tobin's advice, went home and actually did their jobs, and encouraged the faithful to engage in real charity, we might actually all be better off.

The biological solution will soon solve the problem of the older bishops, but we'll have a huge mess to clean up after they're gone. Their legacy is huge government, the destruction of religious freedom, and a Catholic population so rudderless that 50 percent of them voted for Obama, a man who murders toddlers with drones, is militantly pro-abortion, and who has basically declared war on faithful Catholics. Obama should send a thank you note to the bishops for helping make it all possible.


thetimman said...

" They also view traditional Catholic social teaching with suspicion"

I don't think the author means what he wrote here. Traditional Catholic teaching is what they do support, an the socialism of so many of their peers is not Tradional.

LMG said...

Very well said! I still can't believe 50 percent of Catholics voted for Obama when he is taking away our religious freedoms. If Obama has his way, the next law he will force as a Dictator, oh, I mean President is that ALL HOSPITALS must offer abortion services anong with surgial contraception. Far fetched, huh? Not too.

c.rook said...

That picture hurts.


Forward-Slash_S said...

@ c.rook ... yea, it does. I don't know the context of the guffaw, but it sure creates a scandal in my eye.

I still hold out hope though that our Prelates will draw on the courage of the great Saints of history who stood their ground in the stark face of the evil in their day; to lead by example.

("you believe that Jane, if it makes you feel any better" (Pride and Prejudice)).


Sian D. said...

What you talk about, Tim, is not orthodox Catholicism at all, but neo-liberalism. Basically what you say is leave all problems up to charity. That's not going to work.