Fatuous ‘Fortnight’: Bishops’ Crusade Is About Power, Not Religious Freedom
What exactly is the Catholic hierarchy up to? Are the bishops genuinely concerned about religious freedom or are they engaging in a partisan power play?
Today is the first day of the so-called “Fortnight for Freedom,” a prelate project supposedly intended to rally parishioners against an alleged Obama administration assault on religious freedom.
According to a USA Today report, “Nearly half of the nation’s 195 dioceses have announced events from prayer breakfasts to town-hall-style meetings to readings of the Constitution. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is providing resources including a dramatic special prayer for strength and courage.”
The two-week campaign is heavily focused on a provision in the health-care reform that requires all employers (except churches) to include birth control as part of their employees’ insurance coverage.
In response to complaints from the bishops, the administration is even compromising on that front, allowing workers at religiously affiliated hospitals and colleges to get contraceptive coverage directly from insurance companies at no cost to the employers.
USA Today says Archbishop William Lori, the hierarchy’s point man in this crusade, still isn’t happy. He dismissed that concession as “an accounting shell game.”
Lori’s clerical colleagues have gone even further. New York City Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who serves as president of the bishops’ conference, told CBS “This Morning” that the White House is “strangling” the Catholic Church, and Peoria Bishop Daniel Jenky compared the president to Hitler and Stalin.
The bishops’ intransigence and their florid rhetoric suggest that much more is going on than a spat over birth control coverage. The men who head the church see their power, privilege and government funding at risk, and they are taking dramatic political action to ensure that none of these perks are lost.