Mendenhall: The politics of contraception

Wicked Local Marlboro

By Lee Mendenhall/Guest columnist
The MetroWest Daily News

With many far more important issues to address, the Republican right has seized on the Obama Administration’s reasonable requirements for contraceptive coverage in health plans as another club to attack him with, and as usual, rage replaces reason in all the far-right flacks’ fulminations.

It’s taken pages of reading for me to find some of the facts, but I commend the MetroWest Daily News editors for including some calmer writers who have made the following clear: 1) 28 states already have similar requirements in place; 2) the requirements do NOT apply if all the employees share the religion which wishes to exclude the coverage; and 3) the administration has offered to lighten the requirements considerably.

Yet this isn’t enough to satisfy the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops or the GOP opportunists who, when they think they smell Obama’s blood, are driven to pile on lies and falsifications enough to bury all truth and rational thinking. …

Also greatly disturbing is how the Catholic Church, with such great potential and actual power to do good, risks squandering the opportunity given it by its founding grace and deep material, intellectual, and spiritual resources. Many parish priests are fine, upright men who sacrifice much to help others, but a significant number who rise in the hierarchy seem to have lost their way. The public face of the church as presented by the U.S. Bishops partly seems a cynical program to blame everything else (the sixties, gay culture, birth control) as a way to evade responsibility for enabling rampant child sexual abuse and then trying to cover it up. If misdirected energy hadn’t been spent on demonizing contraception and homosexuality, squabbling for decades over ecumenical liberalization, etc, etc, perhaps better attention to internal affairs could have prevented the horror of priestly pedophilia and the resulting hemorrhage of payouts and parishes.

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