Lies, Cynicism and the Spin Cycle – UPDATED

The intellectual dishonesty of the hysterical and adolescent tract below is staggering. It is a full-page ad in the NY Times.

In a transparent (and largely successful) bid to keep the electorate distracted and the conversation off his numerous dubious policies and practices, January’s cynical move by the Obama Administration, helped along by an equally cynical and mostly-surrendered press, has delivered two profound lies — the first is that the HHS mandate battle being waged by the churches is “about birth control”, not about a perversion of the first amendment; the second: that what is being threatened here is contraception (!) and not the right of a church to be who it is and to define its mission.

Or, for that matter, the right of a small business owner to do choose whether or not to offer health insurance at all, what it can afford, and what its insurance policy might cover.

This is what constant spinning does — it flings you into a state of disorientation, where things no longer look like what they are.

My favorite part is this: “a church that has repeatedly engaged in a crusade to ban contraception, abortion and sterilization…”. In fact, the church is not trying to “ban” contraception or sterilization, but at least the writer acknowledges that abortifacients are part of what the HHS Mandate wants covered.

I wonder if the Skinner-box-trained authors of this thing, so capable of spitting out the evidences of their own indoctrinations, would be able to accurately relate, on any level, why the church teaches as it does, or to articulate how and why the constitution gives a church the right to its teachings and to its conscience. Silly me, they (and similarly incurious bigots) don’t really care why a thing is taught. They have no curiosity for anything that does not promise more pellets. I wonder if they even understand the concept of “freedom of religion” the exercise thereof.

The most depressing thing about it all, for me, has been the realization that so many women are exactly as stupid, incurious, easily-led and addicted to victim-narratives as the administration and press calculated them to be. Cynicism, validated.

Ann Althouse — Obama voter, not a Catholic, asks an interesting question

Frank Weathers looks to Martin Luther King.

Meanwhile, Sr. Mary Ann Walsh notes:

The Amish are exempt from the entire health care reform law. So are members of Medi-Share, a program of Christian Care Ministry. Yet, when the Catholic Church asks for a religious exemption from just one regulation issued under the law – the mandate that all employers, including religious institutions, must pay for sterilization and contraceptives, including abortion-inducing drugs – the Administration balks.

They’re doing more than balking, they’re trying to win an election based on their lies. But, as Dr. King said, “a lie doesn’t last…” And it’s a stinking thing to build anything upon.

Kathryn Jean Lopez: Miserable Women

Dr. Gerard Nadler: If Bishops Fight Last War, They Lose

“I’ll choose my faith over the mandate if it means my life”

Would the Times publish a similar ad about Islam?

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • DWiss

    My incense-fogged brain sees this kind of thing as idolatry, and nothing more.

  • Tim

    So can this be interpreted as a declaration to “liberal” and “nominal” Catholics that they are not welcome in the Democrat party if they want to stay in the Church?

    If so, I feel bad for such Catholics. They’ve been getting a lot of flak from more (shall we say) orthodox Catholics over the years, and now they are taking heat from their political party. If they choose to keep identifying themselves as Catholics, they’ll be in a no-man’s land of sorts.

    I have to wonder how Catholics who supported Obama in 2008 feel about this letter.

  • Manny

    My pastor at his homily yesterday read Cardinal George’s (? I think it was George, but I’m not sure if I caught the right name) letter on the impact of the healthcare madate to the Church. He also pointed out this dispicable advertisement in the NY Times. My pastor didn’t call it dispicable, that’s my characterization. My Pastor pointed out this existential choice that we Catholics need to make, and really need to make all the time, not just in this instance.

    No matter what the theological and political persuasion of believing Catholics, I cant imagine that this advertisement would draw many. But i could be wrong.

    No matter what, this was dispicable that FFR put this out and even more despicable that the NY Times out it out. The NY Times are the ones that should be scolded. I stopped buying that rag/garbage/piece of crap over ten years ago.

  • Manny

    Yikes, sorry for all the typos and misspellings above. It happens when I get emotional. But I think you can get my gist.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    I’m wondering what the future holds for those Catholics who refuse to leave their “Evil”, womyns opressing church?

    A trip to their friendly, local re-education campt? A private chat with the local commissar?

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Tim, I think it can be taken as exactly that.

    Liberal Catholics will have to react to it as individuals.

  • doc

    I don’t know…it’s good to have clarity sometimes. It’s been pretty clear to those of us who’ve paid attention that the Democrats, the corporate media, the liberal elite (sorry about the repitition) hold the Catholic Church in contempt. Up until recently, they’ve manages to hide this fact from most American Catholics. I see nothing wrong with American Catholics being forced to choose between the Church and the Democrats. Let this be the Democrats’ Waterloo.

  • Sara

    “The most depressing thing about it all, for me, has been the realization that so many women are exactly as stupid, incurious, easily-led and addicted to victim-narratives as the administration and press calculated them to be.” The level of hysteria regarding the so-called “war on women” is disappointing. I can’t help but wonder if the pill is interfering with women’s reasoning ability. We know it affects memory:
    Birth Control Pills Affect Memory, Researchers Find

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    It is the Democrats, not the church, pushing this show down, and demanding liberal Catholics make this choice.

    They may soon be demanding other things, as well. . .

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    And, no, they would never publish an “Open Letter to Islam” like this.

  • kenneth

    Does anyone think a newspaper ad is really going to persuade Catholics to defect “en masse”? It’s basically a group of atheists preaching to the choir and kicking the hornet’s nest. The people who share their views long ago left the Church one way or another. The true liberal Catholics aren’t going anywhere, much to their chagrin and no doubt that of the conservative Catholics as well.
    That said, people are realizing that this is as much about birth control as it is the First Amendment. People do realize there is a freedom of religion dimension to this, but they also think that allowing any employer to refuse coverage for any reason is an over-reach of that freedom. The also are seeing that the pro-life movement has a proven track record and clear intention of trying to outlaw contraception, or to make access as difficult as possible in secular law. The factual record is beyond dispute on that point. The theology underlying the Catholic position on abortion and the pro-life movement considers the Pill as an abortifacient. There is simply no morally or logically consistent way the movement could NOT seek to outlaw contraception sooner or later.
    The fact that issue is not imminent means nothing. Neither side is so naive as to believe this dispute is “just” about a mandate. It’s a struggle over much larger principles. It is one of the issues that will determine whether our country is run as a secular, pluralistic republic or as a confessional state/quasi-theocracy. The fact that a majority happens to not favor the latter does not make them “stupid” or “incurious.” Quite the opposite. They are seeing the big picture of the issue and making some rational decisions based on what they believe.

  • John

    Hmmm… so here comes the NYT to assure us that it’s okay to ignore the teachings. That we can eat of the forbidden, uh, abortifacient, and be like gods who know what is good and what is bad. Surely that wisdom is a good thing, right?

    I think I saw this movie before. Must be one of those recurring plot themes. Anyone remember how it ends?

  • Daniel

    You know, it just dawned on me. How many liberal and nominal Catholics are actually going to Mass these days? Not the best use of ad. money for our FFRF friends.

  • Bill M.

    Ah yes, Annie Laurie Gaylor. When I was a baby knownothing atheist, she was being lauded by Madalyn Murray O’Hair and her lieutenants as the face of the next generation of American Atheists™. Evidently, she has learned nothing in the interim. She is certainly as ignorant about the Church as she ever was. For her sake, I pray that it’s an invincible kind of ignorance.

    Despite its multiple inanities and libels, I like the central point of the letter. If you’re more taken with the Moloch of popular culture than with the Church, then get out. Come to Moloch.

    As I tell young folk of my acquaintance, If you want to be truly countercultural, be a Catholic.

  • InfiniteGrace

    Sigh… I give up.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    This is the New York Times, Kenneth. It’s a pretty powerful, and influential paper. And the author of this article must be pretty influential, to get it to publish this.

    And, basically, what theyre doing here, is trying to dictate religious policy—to Catholics, in this case.

    They would never publish such an open letter about Islam.

    I notice, by the way, that you’ve gone from telling us that our fears of religious persecution are silly, and unfounded, to telling us we deserve this conflict, because the church maybe, probably, certainly will, someday, maybe, try to ban contraception, even though it isn’t doing so now. I kinda figured that would happen.

    (And why is it an “Overreach of freedom” for an employer to refuse insurance coverage, for any reason? That seems pretty basic, to me.)

  • Tim

    @kenneth: So we must take away the rights of the Catholic Church to prevent a hypothetical push against contraception?

    Your right, people who believe such things are not “stupid” or “incurious.” They are tyrannical.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    It says a lot about our society today, that the culture of abortion/contraception/sterility is being passed off as “Freedom for women”. Essentially, what all this has done, is to pit women against their own children. They’re urged to embrace sterility, and behave, sexually, as much like men as possible. Children are “burdens”, and get in the way of their supposedly happy, hedonistic lifestyle, and/or breaking the glass ceiling, and becoming executives.

    As C.S. Lewis said in his writings, our society tends to rush people on to the silliest, most selfish part of their lives as quickly as possible—and then, tries to keep them there, as long as possible. He was excoriated for pointing this out, but in a culture that shoves both “Toddlers & Tiaras” and “Cougar Town” at us, I think the man had a point.

    This is not freedom for women.

    A society that hates, and fears, its own children doesn’t have long to live.

    (Abortion also limits womens’ freedom by limiting the number of women! Sex selection abortions are widespread, and—surprise, surprise!—the favored fetus is almost always male!)

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Yes, Tim, it’s tyrannical.

    And I notice Kenneth has gone from, “Oh, don’t be silly! No one’s coming after you Catholics!” to, “We have to come after you Catholics, because of your hypothetical ban on birth control!”

  • John

    “Freedom for women” is just a play at ho-hum victimology. As usual, it’s a “freedom” that is only available to a specific segment of the population, and can only be enabled by reaching into the pockets of someone else.

    Conversely, honoring religious rights creates a freedom that is universally available — to anyone who chooses to embrace a faith, and anyone who chooses not to. It does not require or include expropriating anyone else’s property or freedom to act.

    Which one would you prefer if you were a politician? Certainly not universal rights because they foreclose on so many opportunities for victimology and grievance hustling.

  • Tim

    @Rhinestone Suderman: It’s interesting how the arguments for denying the Church its First Amendment rights has developed. Kenneth has now expanded into advocating for Prior Restraint (though he puts it into the mouths of a “they” who realize the supposed truth about the broader war over the mandate).

    I’ve also noticed that proponents of the mandate have been trying to tie the Church in with arguments against corporations. I forget who in the Obama Administration said that “institutions aren’t people”, but when I hear that I can’t help but think of “corporations are not people” and the whole Citizens United backlash.

    You got to hand to Obama: two birds with one polemical stone.

  • kenneth

    “This is the New York Times, Kenneth. It’s a pretty powerful, and influential paper. And the author of this article must be pretty influential, to get it to publish this.”………

    It wasn’t an article. It was an ad, and the only “influence” the authors had is the same “inside connection” all advertisers have – a shopping bag full of Franklins. I expect the USCCB or Bill Donohue’s outfit or some Catholic entity will be taking out a full page ad of their own soon to counter it.

  • Momma Kyle

    In Pennsylvania the Bishops are calling for a day of prayer and fasting on March 30th with the intention of religious liberty for our country.
    Or in other words “This kind can only be cast out by prayer and fasting”

  • Judith L

    I come from such a WASPy background that the use of contraceptives to limit family size was just the assumed, “responsible” thing to do. But now, with the population implosion, I’m beginning to wonder about the wisdom I accepted. It’s stunning, from my point of view, that the very people who are pushing so many entitlements are also pushing an entitlement that will eliminate the generation(s) that will pay for all the entitlements–including the entitlement to free contraception, sterilization and morning after pills–and I’ll bet abortion in a year or two.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Judith, I’ve had doubts about the “Wisdom” of contraception for a long time. (And, no, Kenneth, that doesn’t mean I want it banned.)

    My thoughts on the Sexual Revolution are pretty much—-well, it’s over. Everybody lost. We know have a situation where women are expected to spend their youth bein sexually active with a number of men—marriage seems to be falling out of style—and struggling not to become pregnant. Then, around 35 or so, they struggle to become pregnant, trying to have a family, one way or another, before it’s too late. Unfortunately, it’s much harder to start a family at 35, than 25. We’ve really got the whole thing bass-ackwards.

    There’s also the little problem of getting enough young people willing to work to pay for all these entitlements, if we’re all so busy “fulfilling ourselves”, “Enjoying our youth”, “Establishing on our career.” Immigration doesn’t really help. Since we’ve jettisoned the idea that people should immigrate here legally, and learn to become American citizens, we’re basically just creating third-world enclaves, with all their attendant problems, in our cities. And many of them end up in need of government help themselves.

    (Kenneth, I doubt the Times would have published this ad if they didn’t agree with it. And I suspect they would never publish a similar ad about Islam, no matter how many Franklins you gave them!)

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Yes, Tim, I have noticed the progression of the arguments.

    Now, it’s “Prior restraint.”

    As for corporations not being people. . . . well, no—but corporations are made up of people, they supply services to people; they’re not completely divorced from, or enemies of, the people; despite Obama’s polemics!

  • Manny

    “(Kenneth, I doubt the Times would have published this ad if they didn’t agree with it. And I suspect they would never publish a similar ad about Islam, no matter how many Franklins you gave them!)”

    No question about it. The NY Times is the faciltator of the left.

  • c matt

    [Annie Laurie Gaylor] is certainly as ignorant about the Church as she ever was

    I don’t know, she seems rather well informed on certain things – she correctly identified some of the core moral teachings, and she recognizes these are unalterable truths. That’s more than I can say for a significant part of her target audience.

    Re: @kenneth

    I don’t know if kenneth is fer or agin’ the mandate or where he stands politically/theologically, but to some extent I think he may be correct about the mindset of those supporting the mandate and attacking the Church. They do believe the Church wants to outlaw contraception because they correctly understand the Church condemns it as an immoral practice for all, not just a “Catholic” thing like no meat on Fridays. And truth be told, the Church, as any right thinking Catholic, does want to stop the use of contraceptives. But the question is the means – for some sins (murder/abortion) the machinery of the state may be required because the direct victims of the activity have no recourse to defend themselves. Other sins, where the direct victims do have it within their power to prevent the harm, outlawing might not be necessary. So yes, kenneth, we want to stop the use of contraceptives, but it does not necessarily follow that they must be outlawed.

  • c matt

    People do realize there is a freedom of religion dimension to this, but they also think that allowing any employer to refuse coverage for any reason is an over-reach of that freedom.

    But the error they make is defining which is the overreach. An objective examnation of the situation reveals that it is the government that is doing the overreach by demanding people violate their religious convictions for soemthing that is not even healthcare, but rather the subsidizing of lifestyle choices. Simply put, the government’s overreach in this situation is not justified by some perceived overreach regarding the banning of contraceptives. In fact, it is impossible for the Church in principle to overreach on seeking to ban in law contraception. Any organization or private individual can seek to get whatever law they see fit implemented (whether they can accomplish that goal isa different thing entirely). That is how our system works. The Constitution is a restriction on what the GOVERNMENT can do, not what an individual person or organization can do. If indeed the mandate supporters base their position on the grounds that the Church will seek ot outlaw contraception, that is a double overreach by the supporters of the mandate for (1) supporting the government in doing something it is prohibited from doing under the Constitution and (2) basing that support in large part because the Church may do something it IS entitled to do under the Constitution.

  • c matt

    Regardless, one of three things will happen:
    (1) the culture will have a change of heart, and, while not necesarily admitting the Church was right, contraceptive attitudes and practices will change
    (2) the state (or what’s left of it) will outlaw contraception, and likely even institute a “forced child policy” once demographic winter sets in;
    (3) our current culture will be replaced by a different one through immigration that does not practice contraception to the degree ours does (my bet is on Islam). I give it 60-80 years.

  • kenneth

    To c matt’s inquiry, my position on the madate itself is this: I don’t happen to think it’s a terrible overreach, especially in the compromise form. That said, I’m perfectly happy to let the courts weigh in on this, as they surely will. We all have our own ideas as to what is or is not constitutional. The opinion that matters at the end of the day is the Supreme Court. If they decide the mandate is an overreach in whole or in part, or if they’re satisfied with the ruling of some lower court in that decision, that’s good enough for me.
    Where I have a problem is with the loud insistence, by Anchoress, and others, that the issue is not about birth control. Of course it is. To many of you, the freedom of religion principles should take precedence over any other considerations, and that’s all well and good. But don’t sit here and tell me there are no other issues at play, or that they are illegitimate to acknowledge or discuss. The Church, or anyone else, is free to advocate for the outlawing or legal restriction of contraceptives, but don’t tell me they’re not interested in such a thing when the record clearly shows otherwise, or tell me that it’s not germane to anything in the debate.
    Insisting this all has nothing to do with contraception is no different than telling us the sky ain’t blue and that anyone who says it is is a bigot or fool. My hat is off to c matt because he at least acknowledges that his theology at least inclines his church to the idea of limiting or outlawing contraception. If you’re willing to fight an issue with the open courage of your convictions, you might well lose, but at least you’ll earn the respect of people who disagree with you.
    There is another point which is worth making as regards the Catholic Church versus the Amish and Medi-Share. This is an apples and oranges comparison. The Amish and Medi-Share are providing services primarily, or exlusively for their own kind – people who are on board with whatever strictures they have concerning birth control or whatever else. The RCC could have that same thing, but thats not what the bishops want. They want total exemption in law for multi-billion dollar corporations which serve, and are staffed primarily by non-Catholics.

  • Brian English

    “The also are seeing that the pro-life movement has a proven track record and clear intention of trying to outlaw contraception, or to make access as difficult as possible in secular law. The factual record is beyond dispute on that point.”

    You keep saying this, but never come up with any evidence to back it up.

    In any event, I will certainly admit that the pro-life movement has a proven track record and clear intention of trying to outlaw abortion. Would that make it okay in your eyes for the government to try to force Church-affiliated employers to provide policies that cover abortion?

  • Gaby

    Actually, this is a great ad -if it actually manages to convince liberal Catholics to give up all hope of ‘changing the Church from the inside’ and leaving it altogether. That would be a nice piece of work! And ya gotta love their blatant bias: “choose between women’s rights and bishops’ wrong”.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    No, Kenneth, the issue here is religious freedom. The Obama administration is trying to turn this into a war over birth control, and trying to paint it as a war against women, but it is not. It is about the government trying to forcibly interfere wtih a religious organization.

    It is also about the right of a business, any business, whether run by a religious group or not, to not be forced into providing insurance that it may not wish to provide, or that it might not be able to afford. It used to be that people chose their own insurance, or paid for medical care out of their own paychecks. Then, some businesses began offering insurance as part of their employee packets—a nice gesture, but the whole thing has gotten out of control, and is now considered an entitlement—which it isn’t, and was never meant to be.

    Should your employer be fined, or even jailed, by the government, if they don’t provide, say, dental as well as medical insurance, or if their insurance plan doesn’t cover the plastic surgery you think you so desperately need?

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Meanwhile, gas prices are rising, the recovery isn’t, the Afghanistan situation just gets worse and worse, Iran is getting nukes—I think the Democrats have found a great way of distracting us from the woes of the Obama administration.

    (Have we condemned the use of the word “Slut” today?)

    Oh, yes—and Catholics have been murdered in Nigeria. Not to mention the ones that Boko Haram is going after.

  • John

    What if it were a tiny organization, not multi-million dollar. Just an organization of like-minded idealists, employing and serving the non-faithful but doing so according to mutually-agreed-upon terms?

    Those do exist. And they too have lost their rights in this matter. Do their “ulterior motives” likewise negate their appeal to principle? Can rights even be negated that way and still be rights? Can rights diminish as the size of your organization grows? That is, does a small religion have more religious exercise rights than a large one? Who would even be the arbiter of such things? The Supreme Court? Seriously?

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    But, of course, the real crisis is that 30 years old “Schoolgirls” can’t buy all the contraceptives they want. And mean ol’ meany-face talk show hosts call them bad names.

    /Okay, sarc. off.

    John, in the future of our Peoples’ Republic of North America, everybody’s ulterior motives—past, present, or completely imaginery—shall be weighed by our incorruptible and alturistic peoples’ court, to determine whether or not they are acceptable for good, politically correct worker citizens. There shall be no idealism except that of the approved, peoples’ idealism.

    Now—is time for glorious two-minute hate of Rush Limbaugh.

    /Okay, okay, sarc. off!

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Meanwhile, employers should be forced to offer full-coverage plastic surgery programs! Many people suffer pain and humiliation from having funny looking noses. Also,, it’s everybody’s right to look like a Kardashian and/or Brad Pitt.

    If employers refuse to do this, it is a war against ugly people. They should be sent to re-education camp, and forced to watch, “Kourtney & Kim take Downtown Burbank!”

    And remember—we can always tax the rich!

    /Okay, okay already! Sarc. off!

  • Mr. Patton

    An appropriate title for the responses so far in this blog, keep living your faith…:D

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  • Gerry

    Well, well, Kenneth finally is back after the Hall of Fame pwnage delivered by yours truly. I’ll just take a few seconds to demolish the “taking care of their own kind” nonsense. Remember, Kenny, according to the D’ohbamabots, this is all about “women’s health”, and yes, Kenny – about half of the Amish are women.

  • savvy


    Refusing to fund hamburgers does not force people to be vegetarian. Contraception is available for free at Planned Planned Parenthood and for cheap at drugstores. This is a first world country that exports them to others.

    Why should a non-smoking league fund cigarettes? When NFP and Naprotechnology have been proven to be healthier alternatives.

    I am not buying the “we think this is best for women line”

    And if someone does think so they can pay for it themselves.

  • kenneth

    What on Earth are you talking about Gerry? The only point I’m catching is about the Amish. Yes, plenty of Amish are women. At least as many as in general society, I would guess. My only point with them is that nobody is subject to the religious restrictions of Amish health care except other Amish. They’re not being treated any differently under the mandate rules. In parishes or any other organization where Catholics primarily employ and serve other Catholics, they’re exempt from the mandate, just as are the Amish.

  • Lindy

    Now if that ad doesn’t look all the world like a big old Jack Chick tract. How very apt, because you can’t get any more anti-Catholic than that.

  • Peggy

    Lindy, I thought the same thing—it looks like a Jack Chick tract. It reads like one, too, and has the same spirit. it no doubt comes from the same place. Cozy bedfellows.

  • Tim

    @kenneth: It would not be very Catholic if Catholic employers had to refuse their services to people of other faiths in order to meet the “primarily employ and serve” requirement.

    That requirement also undercuts the argument that this mandate is somehow remedying discrimination of women by not offering birth control. I don’t see how allowing discrimination (based on creed), and even encouraging it, will remedy discrimination.

    Of course, this could all be another cynical ploy by Obama. If and when an employer refuses people of other faiths to meet the exemption requirement, there will be another outcry that the Church discriminates, but this time against other faiths (and people will suddenly care about the Free Exercise clause). Its as if Obama is forcing the Church to take such positions so that it would fit into the administration’s “extremist” label.

  • Manny

    Why do people take Kenneth seriously? In all the time I’ve seen him around the Catholic blogs, I’ve never seen a moment of charity come from him toward the Catholic Church. He’s got an agenda, to rail against the church and I assume to get the “Liberal and nominal Catholics” to leave the Church.

  • John

    I suspect a “non-Catholics need not apply” sign hung in an admissions office would greatly undermine the mission of a Catholic school or hospital. Not least because it would greatly limit the effect of organization’s “witness in the world.”

    Then again, complying with the law in question demolishes that witness even more effectively. “Look at us Catholics, see how well we go along to get along. Let’s all render unto Caesar and then call it a day.”

    Bearing witness to the secular values of Mammon is not deserving of the imprimatur “Catholic.” There really is no middle ground here. The state must yield.

  • Tim

    @Manny: Because Jesus did say to love your enemies. I don’t know if kenneth has any agenda, but his arguments do seem to echo those of supporters of the mandate, and unfortunately they have political power and so those arguments must be addressed.