So the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops sent a letter to members of the senate condemning the recent health care bill because, as they say, the bill “creates a new and completely unacceptable federal policy that endangers human life and rights of conscience.” This is in regards to abortion being covered under the public option policy if the bill ever came to fruit. CNN reported that the bishops flexed their political power by meeting with House Democratic leaders and forcing a vote on the Stupak amendment, which would restrict any public funding for abortions under a health care plan.
This leads to a couple of important questions: Why is a conference of Catholic Bishops having direct negotiations with our lawmakers, and where’s that old separation of church and state when you need it? It’s very disconcerting that religious mystics in white robes are attempting to dictate areas of health, science and politics. It’s even more disconcerting that they’re being taken seriously and have been given a direct line to our political system. Why are teabaggers and constitutionalists not lining up to defend the first amendment on this issue?
The letter that was sent by the Bishops was signed by Cardinal Justin Rigali, the Archbishop of Philadelphia. Justin Francis Rigali was born in Los Angeles in 1935. He attended Holy Cross before attending the preparatory seminary at the age of 14. He earned a degree in theology from the Catholic University of America and a doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical Gregorian University. This might sound like an esteemed education until you realize that it just means that Justin Rigali has a rather large background in studying Catholic philosophy. There’s no medical degree, no lengthy study of science, just the study of right and wrong from a superstition point of view. And this is the guy making an impact upon a woman’s right to an abortion.
The word abortion might leave a bad taste in many people’s mouths, but you have to be short sighted, ill informed and selfish not to understand that sometimes abortion is a necessary part of existing as a human being. It’s a subject we may not want to talk about, but not talking about it is leaving it in the hands of the irrationally detached people who think abortion means murder.
Whether it’s a situation of severe birth defects or a case where a woman chooses for personal reasons not to have a child, both are valid and legal. That’s where a lot of people miss the argument. Abortion is legal and will remain legal no matter how much they argue against it. There are very real guidelines and laws regarding abortion that were put in place, not because of some broad hypothetical view on existence, but because of a medical and social view on real people who have to face those difficult decisions. Justin Rigali can rest his conscience and job upon saving hypothetical souls, because being in the detached position he’s in, he’ll probably never have to make that decision.
The bishops can preach morality and can support whomever they choose, but there’s a line that they cross when they attempt to dictate written law. Their expertise in religious philosophy doesn’t account for the human condition and the very real lives that we live, because their philosophies were created in a bubble of black and white in a world that’s filled with very grey issues. Ultimately they need to find their way out of our political system and leave the lawmaking to the lawmakers, the health issues to health professionals and choice to the individual.