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Surprise, Surprise: Most Catholics Support Obama’s Birth Control Mandate

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In what is surely one of contemporary American politics’ strangest controversies, the Roman Catholic Church has demanded that its educational and public health institutions be exempt from a White House mandate pertaining to insurance coverage. Essentially, all employers will soon have to provide their employees with the means to receive contraceptives or sterilizations. As the RCC hierarchy is adamantly against these, despite nearly all of its adherents utilizing one or both, it recently launched a nonstop protest machine asserting an apparent right for special treatment under the law.

Over the last few weeks, the airwaves and Internet alike have been bombarded with complaints on the RCC’s behalf. Some fundamentalist Catholic pundits went so far as to say that incumbent President Barack Obama would lose their religion’s reliably Democratic vote during this fall’s general election. Others deduced that Obama had engaged himself in a war against Catholics for whatever reason, and this was the beginning of a pseudo-dictatorship. A few bishops and similar high ranking figures decided to boldly refuse compliance with federal regulations.

Soon enough, however, reality simply had to set in. A survey from the Public Religion Research Institute, published on Tuesday, revealed that almost 60 percent of American Catholics agree with the idea of employers being forced to provide birth control measures. Even among self-described voters, this number totaled out at 52 percent. In any case, the eminently dominant majority of mainstream Catholics are not backing the furor caused by their fundamentalist counterparts. It would seem that there might not be a Catholic exodus from the Democratic Party, anti-religious war, or tyrannical regime after all.

This entire matter is a fine example of what happens when the fringe gains control of the dialogue. According to some men and women who received ample news time, a Second American Revolution with a Catholic twist was coming into play. Instead, we see that it is nothing more than a certain element speaking up for others without their consent. This sort of thing goes on frequently in politics, but it is truly a shame when partisans opt to drag religion down into the gutter as well.

During times such as these, I ask my Christian countrypersons the following; what would Jesus do? I have a strong feeling that it would not be anything like this.

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About Joseph F. Cotto

  • Glenn Contrarian


    How dare you imply that Obama’s anything but a socialist/commie/nazi/black-supremacist dictator who secretly hates white people, wants to take away all our guns, and has declared war on Christmas after having bowed in submission before the King of Saudi Arabia!

    You, sir, are no longer worthy of being called a true conservative, one who patriotically supports Rush Limbaugh, Anne Coulter, and Michelle Bachmann!

  • Would it be fair to assume that a mainstream Catholic is one who attends Mass regularly? Here are the statistics I found: Those who attend weekly services:
    Catholic Men 26 %
    Catholic Women 49 %

    These are from an an ABCNews poll but other reports from the Catholic church itself reported similar results.

    Seems to me that the ones who are going to church and through contributions to it, and funding its hospitals, should be the ones whose opinion counts most. For a lot of Catholics, the church is a pretty place to get married and eulogized in, and that’s about it.

  • Joseph, you ask: What would Jesus do.

    Making a BIG assumption that the question wasn’t merely rhetorical, I’ll take a stab at it.

    Jesus prayed his longest recorded prayer for his disciples the night before he was crucified, in John 17.

    He revealed that his deepest desire for them was that his followers would love to one another so the world would know God sent him. He knew there would be schisms and divisions and disagreements, even bloody wars, between people who claimed to be his followers. (There’s that oft times troublesome free will in operation again.

    So, as a Protestant, I could take this incident as an opportunity to spew out a lot of anti-Catholic venom, but I don’t think that’s what Jesus is calling me to do here.

    Would I want the government telling MY church what to do? Nope.

  • Zingzing

    Irene, why, if it is not ok for the gov’t to tell your church what to do, is it ok for your church to tell you what to do?

    One institution to another is bad, but an institution to an individual is ok?

    What distinction can you make where this is ok? Really asking. Shouldn’t choice be an individual mandate above the decree of any institution, be it church or gov’t? Why permit one above the other? Why submit to demands above personal freedom?

  • C’mmon, zing. A choice to a believer is somewhat affected by their religious beliefs. And the same goes for their notion of “personal freedom.”

  • Zingzing

    and they still have that choice! Hurrah! Amazing how personal choice works, ain’t it? Even according to irene’s numbers, some Catholics want the choice. So let’s leave it up to them instead of the church, eh?

  • Who said they didn’t? All I said the range of choices is affected.

  • zingzing

    no, it’s not. or if it is, it’s only expanded.

    a large portion of catholics want to have the choice. who are you, and who is the church, to deny them their choice?

    besides, the gov’t and the church worked it out. catholics get the choice, the catholic church doesn’t have to shell out. everybody happy. except a few catholics who will never be happy until contraception goes back to the stone age, and except people who cry “tyranny” at the thought of women’s health.

  • I wasn’t talking statistics, zing, I was talking concepts, and my use of “choice” wasn’t restricted to contraception but was speaking generally.

    Perhaps Irene will have better success beating this into you, I’m not in the mood to be reiterating points which shouldn’t require reiteration.

  • zingzing

    you talk concepts and generalities, i’ll talk specifics and people. and if you want to change the subject, do so, but don’t only tell me you’ve done so after. makes things easier. keeps everyone on the same page.

  • Arch Conservative

    Am I the only one who’s sick and tired of hearing about Gabby Giffords?

    The women gets shot in the head and that makes her a saint and a hero?

    Now the Navy is naming a boat after her?

    Simply disgusting.

    Let’s not name our new vessel after a fallen soldier or one of the 911 firefighters who died saving his fellow citizens. NO lets name it after a woman who is part of the machine that screws this nation and it’s people every day and whose most notable claim to fame is taking one in the coconut from a guy that looks like Ralph Malph after a month long binge of crystal meth and electroconvulsive shock therapy.

    Thousands of people die across this nation every day, many at the hands of others committing violent, brutal acts. The media and the Washington jetset don’t give two shits about any of these people yet they’re falling all over themselves to anoint Giffords as the second coming.

  • I haven’t changed the subject, merely enlarged upon it. If you don’t think that peoples’ beliefs affect their choices, which it what you claimed, take it elsewhere.

  • zingzing

    i never claimed any such thing. don’t be daft, roger. if you can logically connect what i said to what you just said, i’d be surprised. but i doubt you’ll even try to enlighten me as to how you arrived at your conclusion. of course a person’s beliefs affect their choices. how is that even a question? and if a catholic believes they want to use contraception, that’s their belief. and if an employee of the catholic church believes the same, that’s their belief. but their beliefs don’t matter shit to you. why?

  • zingzing

    archie, why are you talking about gabby giffords?

  • “… no, it’s not …”

    #8, in response to #7.

  • Arch Conservative

    Zing, I didn’t find this article or any of the ensuing comments all that interesting.

  • Zingzing

    Well, Roger, that’s what you get for “enlarging” the point. Is it silly of me to think you’re responding to what I’m saying? in this matter, that being bc/contraceptives, the catholic individual’s choice Is not affected in any negative way. If you were simply stating that the number of choices (yay/nay instead of just nay) is “affected,” well, I suppose that is true as well. But I certainly wasn’t saying anything about beliefs affecting choices or not. That’s just naff. If something is too dumb to be true, it’s probably not true, and something else is going on.

  • Zingzing

    glad to know you’ll be right along with a crass comment when someone has been shot in the face, Archie. she’s a human being who perservered through a very tough situation, and that should earn her a little bit of respect. I’d suggest you take a walk in her shoes, but I doubt you’d want to.

  • Zingzing

    Hrm. Well, in looking back over it, I suppose it isn’t up to me to dictate the conversation. I thought your #5 was responding to this particular situation, but you had already broadened the subject some. My fault. Still, I was never saying that religious beliefs do not play a role in making personal decisions. That would be foolish. Either way, it appears that many Catholics do not follow that particular “law” of Catholicism, and I’m always going to land on the side of expanding rather than restricting such choices, and I’m always going to land on the side of the individual against an institution like the catholic church, inc.

  • Zingzing

    19 was for Roger, not mr. I’m tired of people talking about x, so I’m going to go where people aren’t talking about x and bitch about people talking about x guy up there.

  • “If something is too dumb to be true, it’s probably not true, and something else is going on.” #17

    Quite the contrary. If something is “too dumb to be true,” it bear reiterating because people forget, or don’t take it into account, just as you did not.

  • @20

    But essentially, it’s not about the individual vs. the institution, but about the individual and their beliefs, the institution notwithstanding. I wasn’t concerned about the statistical picture, the subject of Cotto’s essays — i.e., how many Catholics don’t subscribe to the dogma. Was only talking about those who do.

  • Zingzing

    Do their beliefs override those of others? They’re free to not use bc in this situation. They’re not free to tell others they cannot. As individuals, I believe they have every right to do what their beliefs would dictate, but that goes for everyone, not just those who say “no.”

    And it’s obvious, a given, that people’s beliefs affect the choices they make. So I dunno why you bring it up. I’m defending an individual’s right to make a choice and not have that choice dictated to them.

  • So am I, defending that right. Why would you think I was ever against it? As to the Catholic Church, they have every right to instruct their members in matters of faith, it’s their flock. What this or that individual will do is entirely up to them, and that is of no interest to me: the structure of belief and how it affects individual choices is.

    We don’t really disagree here, I think, just thought it important enough to make that point.

  • Zingzing

    Instructing is one thing, but dictating is another.

  • Dictating only comes in as condition of employment. Most health workers are fortunate enough to be able to find employment elsewhere.

    We’ve been over this before.

  • Clavos

    The Bishops are telling Obie to shove his “compromise”…

    Score so far:

    RCC 2, USA 0

    Go Papists!!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Personally, I like what Kaili Joy Gray had to say in this article:

    Although the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops initially responded to the revised rule by saying it was “a first step in the right direction,” later in the day – coincidentally, as news spread that “at least 8,000 kids were sexually abused by over 100 priests and other offenders in the Milwaukee Catholic Diocese” – the bishops issued a new statement, calling the decision cause for “grave moral concern,” and launched a campaign urging Catholics to write to Congress and demand passage of the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (H.R. 1179, S. 1467). Pay no attention to the thousands of abused children! Make women stop using birth control, since they won’t listen to us when we tell them!

    Just imagine those letters: Dear Congress, In the name of Jesus, please make it harder for me and the other 98 percent of Catholic women who use birth control to get our prescriptions filled. Yeah, good luck with that one, fellas.

    If a religion wants to provide health care, then they MUST provide health care that is consistent with FEDERAL standards. After all, would it be wise to allow hospitals to, say, refuse to give medically-necessary transfusions because the religion of the owner prohibits it? Or what about denying vaccines because Bachmann-philes think they cause autism?

    A religion doesn’t have to provide health care. If they don’t like federal regulations concerning health care, then GET OUT of the business of doing so, and then instead of providing the health care, they can just pay for the health care that they feel is agreeable to their religion.

    Jesus didn’t have a problem with abiding by federal law, even though he wound up being crucified for an alleged crime that He didn’t commit. Any ‘Christian’ religion should remember that.

  • Zingzing

    but Roger, it’s not just about health workers. Said that before as well. So I don’t know why you’d bring that up again…

    if you think employers can dictate what a woman does with her nethers, that’s kinda fucked up.

  • Zingzing

    yay, clavos! Fuck bitches!

  • Considering the number of Catholic organizations that already provide these services against their teaching, I don’t see how they are scoring any points.

  • Clavos

    Whattya mean, zing? The catholic wimmen ain’t payin’ the church no mind nohow.

    But I’m enjoyin’ the bishops givin’ the gummint a hard time…

  • Zingzing

    Them bishops better watch their asses, or they might get some hard time right back. Lord knows the gov’t has thus far let them deal with their wee little child raping problems with a bit too much autonomy, and it would behoove them to remember that they live under man’s law on this earth.

    And maybe you support winning political points over the sexual health of our gentle womankind, but i, sir, am cut from nobler cloth. Shameful.

  • Arch Conservative

    “glad to know you’ll be right along with a crass comment when someone has been shot in the face, Archie. she’s a human being who perservered through a very tough situation, and that should earn her a little bit of respect. I’d suggest you take a walk in her shoes, but I doubt you’d want to.”

    Little bit of respect? You’re kidding right? The media and her colleagues in Congress have canonized the woman. The Navy’s named a ship after her because she was shot in the head and then “perserverance” was pretty much her only option. Thousands of other Americans across the nation “perservere” in the face of greater troubles than Ms. Giffords has had to face every day. Where’s their praise? Where are the Navy vessels with their names on them? Whether you mean to or not Zing you are encouraging the notion that Giffords life is somehow more notable and valuable than most others simply because she was in Congress. This not only not true but disgusting. But hey if it makes you feel all warm in fuzzy inside to bang the Giffords drum and believe she’s indespensible to this world, don’t let me stop you.

  • Archie, I agree with you totally that thee are many regular folk who are dealing with severe challenges and problems equal to or greater than those faced by Ms Gifford.

    It is hard to praise people that one has never heard of though and perhaps on a symbolic level Ms Gifford actually represents all people or at least all women who are dealing with such severely traumatic events.

    I think you are misinterpreting the situation and your rage is getting in the way of your understanding.

    I’m not aware of anybody, except you, suggesting that Gifford is “indespensible to this world” (spelling nazi sidebar: it’s “indispensable” by the way).

    It is surely a benefit to all of us that the issues of violence and recovery that are associated with this incident have their profile raised.

  • Arch Conservative

    It’s hard to praise people that one has never heard of?

    Well then don’t you think the problem is that we’ve never heard of them and not that it’s hard to praise them because we’ve never heard of them? The mainstream American media is at best a collection of the most elitist, superficial, narcissistic, condescending, and callous, among us, at worst a major player in the downfall of Western civilization.

    “I’m not aware of anybody, except you, suggesting that Gifford is “indespensible to this world””

    Maybe that phrase was a tad bit of an overstatement but one would have had to been in a deep hibernation over the past year to have missed the nonstop idolization of this women amongst the media and her colleagues. Nonstop messages of how brave she is, how inspirational she is, how heroic, what a great human being she is…..

    I’m sorry but getting shot in the head, surviving and then making the decision to put the effort into recovery, a decision that pretty much every human being in her situation would be forced to make out of necessity, does not even come close to meriting the adulation she has received.

    The Navy naming the vessel after her was just the icing on the cake that set me off. This is just the latest example of how our crass, superficial, degenerate American culture places a higher value on the lives of those who are public figures. So if you’re a movie star or a musician or a congressman your life is not only more valuable but much more interesting than the guy who works as a plumber 60-80 hours a week so that he can provide for his family.

    You can claim I’m being melodramtic but I’m not. Our priorites as a society here in this nation are seriously fucked up and if you cannot join me in acknowledging that and also in acknowledging the fact that the Giffords brouha is an ugly manifestation of that then I feel sorry for you.

    Lastly I don’t think there has been anything notable about this incident that has that has benefitted us in the arena of “violence and recovery.” There may have been about five minutes of discussion of the subject but since the day after the shooting it has been nothing but both sides politicizing it and seeking new ways to use it to further their agendas.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Nonstop messages of how brave she is, how inspirational she is, how heroic, what a great human being she is…..

    Only you would have a problem with this…

  • Jordan Richardson

    And how exactly is it “ugly” to be heartened by her recovery? If you think people are being overzealous, too bad.

    There are far uglier things and far more disgusting things too, such as your seeming axe to grind on this “issue.” The fact that you brought it up in this comment thread because you were bored speaks volumes about where your head is at.

  • Arch Conservative

    Please enlighten me as to how getting shot in the head and then making a recovery makes someone a hero, or brave, or a great human being Jordan………

    To me the definition of heroism and/or bravery is when one has a conscience choice to put themself in harms way for the benefit of others and chooses to do so…….

    Gabbie Giffords in no way rises to this criterion

    It is not ugly to be heartend by her recovery. What is ugly is to suggest, on a daily basis, that somehow she is this extraordinary human being, better than the rest of us

    The bottom line is that Gabbie Giffords is reacting to her situation in the exact same way that you or I anyone else would in that situation Jordan. But because she is a public figure, there has been an ongoing canonization. It’s wrong and if you can’t see how it’s wrong I truly pity you.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I didn’t say she was a “great human being,” Arch. I merely said I think there are greater things to worry about than if people find cause to rally around her story for reasons that are their own. Obviously many people care.

    I don’t think it’s been suggested that she’s “better” than anyone. I think that’s your approach; it’s what you take away from it, just like what you take away from Obama is that he think he’s better than you.

    There’s ALWAYS been a “canonization” of public figures to some extent because their experiences are PUBLIC by nature. More people connect to them by virtue of their publicity, so their experiences are somewhat collective. It’s not that they matter more; it’s that they matter to a larger degree because their experiences touch more people.

    If you want to talk about “pity,” I’ve got an awful lot for you considering how much anger you seem to carry around when you drop in here. It’s quite sad.

  • Arch Conservative

    You may not have said it Jordan but many in the media have time and time again and I’m sick of it.

    I agree that the are much greater things to worry about but Giffords is just an example of the trend of the cult of celebirty as I stated. Plus it was just something I felt like discussing the same way any other poster would bring up something they felt interested in at the moment.

    I think all politicians, based on their behavior, think they are better than you and I Jordan, not just Obama, he just happens to be more flamboyant in expressing this sentiment.

    “There’s ALWAYS been a “canonization” of public figures to some extent because their experiences are PUBLIC by nature. More people connect to them by virtue of their publicity, so their experiences are somewhat collective. It’s not that they matter more; it’s that they matter to a larger degree because their experiences touch more people.”

    An entirely fair and logical point. I just don’t like the adulation, condescending and elitism that stems from it and I’m saying so today. And I guess it bothers me that to so many Americans what the media tells them to think dictates so much of their lives. Like I said, the whole Giffords thing is just the latest shining example of what’s been bothering me so much lately. Everywhere I look I see my fellow Americans gleefully celebrating crass materialism, anti intellectualism, and ignorance.

    Oh don’t pity me too much. I’m only this angry when I’m on here. This website acts as a cathartic valve through which to channel my anger in a socially acceptable way. I do believe it’s truly what keeps me from physically assaulting these OWS types who want to lecture me in real life as to what the world owes them and how unjust it is that the world is not delivering it to them.

  • Arch, whilst I agree that “ordinary” lives are just as important as those of people who become more well known, if you think that people that, for one reason or another, become known at a national or international level are not more likely to be talked about, more “interesting” if you like, then there is something fundamental you don’t understand about human nature.

    As to Ms Gifford, she has undoubtedly been brave in her recuperation, as anybody doing so would be, but I agree that doesn’t make her a hero, any more than simply being in the military doesn’t make someone a hero, which is a far more pervasive and corrupting popular belief. Does that make you angry too?

  • Arch Conservative

    I don’t think it makes her brave at all.

    As I said true bravery is when one has the choice to place themselves in a dangerous or scary situation. When one finds themself in such a situation simply because life has dealt them that hand they are not brave, they’re unlucky.

  • Whilst noting that you are really only quibbling over details, I hope nothing so traumatic happens to you, Arch, but if it does I hope you have the courage, the bravery if you like, to fight your way back to some semblance of health.

  • Arch Conservative

    Doesn’t take bravery to do that just determination.

  • Zingzing

    Archie, I didn’t “bang gifford’s drum,” I just said you should show a little respect. Who gives a shit if a boat is named after her? you need to calm the fuck down. So pathetically angry over nothing. You’re in rare form these last few days, raging away at perceived slights and ghost conversations. it ust be hard being so insulted by this woman. I’m sure she meant it all for you.

  • Clavos

    I just said you should show a little respect

    Why? She got shot; how does that merit respect?

    Pity, maybe, but respect?


  • “Nonstop idolization”?

    I admit I’m no TV junkie, but I recall seeing a grand total of two TV documentaries about her recovery (one (Nightline) piggybacking off the other) and then the news reports when her resignation from Congress was made public.

    AND our household had a particular interest in Rep. Giffords’ plight because Mrs Dreadful is a speech therapist in a hospital rehab unit, and deals with people with brain injuries (including gunshot wounds) every day.

    Hardly the endless fawning Archie is so upset about.

  • Zingzing

    She got shot in the head, clavos. Try being human and doing that [personal attack deleted by comments editor].

    (you’re okay, but [personal attack deleted by comments editor] if you think living through that is nothing special. You try it [personal attack deleted by comments editor].)

  • Zingzing

    I’d like to think I’d have respect for human life if it came from the other side of the political aisle. Oh wait, I do…

    Time for an anatomy class for clavos and Archie. Time for a bit of class in general.

  • Zingzing

    Yes, calling someone [edited] then calling for class is a bit hypocritical, butt fuck it.

    Clavos and Archie need to walk the walk instead of being emotional cripples. That’s a fellow human being, and they have no business talking like it’s no big deal.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I’m only this angry when I’m on here. This website acts as a cathartic valve through which to channel my anger in a socially acceptable way.

    No, it’s a way in which to channel your anger like a coward. That way you don’t have to actually DO anything about it and you get to just mouth off like a brat until you’ve had your fill. I guess if Blogcritics is keeping you from lining those damn lefties up in your rifle sights, we should be grateful for small mercies.

    A lot of people act like dicks on here, myself included, but you take it to a whole other level.

  • “Being” emotional cripples? Really, zing.

    Arch is so right about political correctness these days. The fellow gets shot down for going against the flow.

  • @52

    Indeed, Jordan. Arch does take it to another level, compared to you, that is.

    [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

    I’m amused at your outrage at Archie’s “outrage.” Talking about a cockeyed set of priorities …

  • Zingzing

    At least he doesn’t get shot in the head, Roger. He’d just have to laugh. Remember that abortion doctor that got shot in the face? Archie applauded and cheered the murderer. Some friend you’ve got there.

  • DanielD

    I see the Obamaites have effectively made this conversation about women’s reproductive rights and women’s health and not about what it is really about. the 1st Amendment to the Constitution. Every criticism of the Catholic church only unmasks your bias against the Church but has absolutely nothing to do with this issue. This is 1st Amendment, pure and simple. Obama knows that and he knows this will get struck down. In the mean time the right wing is painted “anti-woman” and “anti-choice” and he wins reelection. How despicably deceitful and cynical can one get?

  • Igor

    Seems to me that the 1st amendment bars a catholic institution from denying health coverage to a non-catholic, or even to a catholic who has decided to not follow church rule.

  • Clavos

    Wrong. For matters wholly within the church’s jurisdiction (as their hospitals, etc. are), its dogma does and should supersede the constitution; no one has to join a given church, but those who do should abide by the rules and once joined one can leave if dissatisfied or stay and work internally for change — by the church, not by the government — if the government imposes its will on the church, that’s BOTH “establishment of a religion,” AND “prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

  • Dr Dreadful

    Then, perhaps, Clavos, Catholic hospitals should not admit non-Catholics as patients and should not hire them as staff.

    Too bad my sister-in-law had both her babies at one: I guess she’s going to have to give them back.

  • Clavos

    Then, perhaps, Clavos, Catholic hospitals should not admit non-Catholics as patients and should not hire them as staff.

    Better yet, nonCatholics should boycott Catholic hospitals and schools, etc. That way, the government isn’t involved and there’s no constitutional violation; merely citizens exercising their right to choice.

    Only problem is, Catholic hospitals and schools are usually the top in their fields, and are therefore attractive to non-Catholics.

    Regardless, Doc. If an individual has a problem with Cathoilic policy, they don’t have to have their babies in Catholic hospitals (and apparently the lack of contraceptive support to its employees didn’t bother your sister in law enough for her to go to the local government hospital instead).

    When the government dictates personal behavior, freedom is lost.

    The Catholic Bishops have a responsibility which is none of the government’s business and the fact that most Catholics disobey the mandate is and should be between them and their church ONLY.