Obama’s Strategy to Co-Opt the Church

Obama’s Strategy to Co-Opt the Church February 11, 2012

From Henry VIII to Elizabeth I to the Nazi German Christian Movement to the Patriotic Church in China, the strategy of tyrants at war with the Catholic Church is to create a fake nationalized church docile to the will of the tyrant and to use it as a weapon against the real Church.

Obama is now attempting precisely that.

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  • Peggy R

    FYI–See post at NRO Corner called “squid ink”. The regulations adopted on August 2011 were published in the Federal Register yesterday afternoon. It’s not clear to me that the one year waiver provisions made it it. I think that explains the late hard-hitting press release from USCCB. Obama’s words didn’t change them. He didn’t order a delay in publishing the regulations. So, now, they are ‘law’ and must be challenged in court since it looks like Sebelius won’t entertain a re-opening of the rulemaking.

  • Tim

    I guess this means Obama hates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment as much as the Free Exercise Clause.

    I remember back in the day when people were always screaming about the separation of church and state.

    • This actually seems to be the logical development of the Separation of Church and State emphasis on the First Amendment.

  • Elizabeth Scalia
  • So, to which department of the government does an institution apply in proof that it meets the definition of a religious institution? Can someone hand me a snark symbol?

  • Exactly. The administration wants to shatter the Church, and this “compromise” is a win-win-win: it pleases his allies, gives his weaker catholic-ish supporters cover for caving, and – most important – creates a hatchet with which to hack away at whatever sympathy or loyalty left-leaning Catholics may still feel for the bishops, so as to create open schism.

    Back in 1971, In ‘Love in the Ruins’, Walker Percy talks of 3 catholic churches: the left-leaning church of free love and niceness, the right leaning church of property rights and patriotism, and the weak, shattered remnant of the capital ‘C’ Catholic church.

    Hope Percy is wrong. This outcome would suit Obama just fine.

    • Chris

      I don’t know if it actually creates a schism so much as it shines a light on one that already exists. Problem is, by drawing it into the open, it potentially creates a distraction. We cannot be baited into this splintering move. Blinders on, straight forward. Defeat this injustice.

      • Joseph

        Right. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Ever since Pope Benedict’s succession as Pope we’ve seen the curtain pulled back like never before, the spotlight shown on the enemies of the Church that laid within her who could formerly hide behind the shadows.

        Now, their dissent is clear. The ambiguities that they were either deceived with or they felt safe hiding behind have been removed. Only a few maintain cover behind those former ambiguities and can only rely on public statements by “material” heretics and politicians that have already long since been discredited as frauds. This process has also been aided by a burgeoning Catholic blogosphere where the differences between the frauds and the truth-seekers are stark.

        Even though the strategy to push the Church into the corner before scourging it to death seems like it was set in motion during this administration, I beg everyone not to be fooled so easily. You can trace its inception well before Obama swore the oath of office that he seems so eager to break now. He couldn’t have done any of this without the help of his predecessors, Republican and Democrat alike.

        However, it’s pretty obvious that his administration was the “chosen one” to unleash the attacks on the Catholic Church at home. The mission abroad has been a wild success. With the removal of all soft secular Muslim dictators, ancient Christian (Catholic and Orthodox) communities have begun to suffer from ethnic cleansing and genocide more widespread and to a similar degree as what occurred shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution. As we know, those military takeovers and/or popular uprisings were either started before the Obama administration or the seeds were planted before them.

        Before anyone suggests I’m an Obama apologist, let me assure you that I’m not.

      • Joseph

        All of that said, this is definitely not a moment of despair. The bishops of the Church have realized the situation we are in (in reality, the realized it a long time ago but too many Catholics who are more Catholic than the Church had written them off). Bishop Lori has been fighting like a cornered raccoon ever since the first year that Obama took the helm (not by Obama’s hand, but by his own state of Connecticut). They knew this was coming and they are prepared for it. Don’t lose faith.

        Even if we lose this battle and other battles for the faith in the coming future, don’t fall into the common American trap of thinking that it’s the end of the world. We wouldn’t be the first nation to bend its laws to justify its hatred and aggression toward the Church and we certainly won’t be the last.

        But don’t think for a second that if we lose this battle it will be the fault of the bishops. Caesar will do what he will with his worldly kingdom. Rather, rejoice with all of the new converts that will be banging down our doors ready to receive the Eucharist either for the first time or the first time in a very long time. There will be enough to replace all of those frauds who will be forced to join the Nationalist Socialist Catholic Church in order to remain intellectually honest with their own deep-seeded dissent.

        That said, I hope to God that those who choose the Nazi Church will return home to Mother Church before their end, and if they don’t that their particular circumstance (having been raised in a manipulative, consumerist, secular nation that has mastered the art of propaganda) will be taken into account and Our Lord will be merciful. Also, I hope to God that he’ll show mercy on my soul for being such a judgmental ass.

        Prayer and fasting people. This couldn’t have been timed more perfectly. May this purify our Lent.

  • Chris

    That Squid Ink article is well worth reading. The devil is literally (and figuratively ) in the details.

  • Mark,
    Thanks for pulling for the religious liberty and supporting the bishops!
    Here is a different perspective on the marriage issue: the Church’s position on life is for good reason and is beautiful.

  • Andy

    Just out of curiosity – where was the outrage when 28 states passed similar or even more strict regulations about birth control? It appears that what is happening is that if Obama says something it is evil automatically. However, in Georgia which requires churches to pay for birth control no big deal.
    I think in my cynical way that this bluster by the church in America is a way to pretend to have a moral high ground and allowing the leaders to ignore the meeting in Rome about child Abuse, ignore the comments of Egan and ignore the number of people of who are falling into poverty.
    I would also ask if this is about religious liberty why no outcry over the desire to repent Sharia Law from being used by Muslims? It seems as if religious liberty as I read here is good only for Christians. Also didn’t Sacalia, conservative member of the SCOTUS and a conservative Catholic write an opinion that said religious belief does not trump national law that applies to all? He used as I recall the establishment clause as the basis for his opinion.
    This is not to say I agree with Obama, these are just comments on what I notice.

    • Dave

      I’m guessing that the legislation of those 28 states was passed pretty quietly. At any rate, I don’t think it is “selective outrage”, but more of a combination of the publicity of the rule and the fact that the Bishops have recently been waking up from their decades-long stupor.

      • Andy

        I from NYS and it wasn’t quiet – there was public outcry and one statement from the Bishops. I didn’t agree with nYS and don’t agree with HHS regulations, but I am concerned about the level of the outrage. Like I said I may be cynical, but it is a concern that not much happened before this.
        I’d like to think, or at least part of me would like to, that it is that the Bishops have awakened, But the political in me says that by doing this the Bishops and Catholic entities will feel entitled to apply for and receive government monies for various activities, and receive them without strings attached.
        My real belief is to protest this yes, but to make the Catholic entities independent of needing government support in any way. That way the Church can preach its message with an apparent contradiction and with a level of moral standing that has been lost over the last how many years.

    • R. Howell

      This “28 states” thing that’s making the rounds of the blogosphere is a flat out lie. Not one of those states has a regulation that is as strict as the new HHS mandate. What the 28 states really show is that there are 28 ways to implement a contraception mandate without trampling on the religious freedom of the church, and HHS chose instead to implement a more draconian regulation. The question is why HHS did that? Mark Shea has given the answer pretty clearly.

      • Andy

        With all due respect – look up the lie you cite – the 28 states are real. the Georgia regulation is more strict. Since there are 28 ways to trample on the religious liberty – why no protests? Why as I said above no protest about outlawing Sharia Law? Not to start an argument, but to ask questions.

        • Dave

          As I understand it, Sharia law would make a religiously based law the secular law…so there would in fact be at least a partial theocracy at that point.

          Exempting a small group from practices that they find repugnant on religious grounds isn’t the same type of thing – that’s just religious freedom.

          I don’t know anything about the Georgia law. When was it passed? Probably 10-20 years ago when the Bishops were slumbering away, is my guess. Plus, Georgia isn’t exactly a Catholic bastion, although the Catholic population has grown a lot in the last 15 years or so.

          The more overarching point here is that the federal government is overreaching in just about every area nowadays, and it’s just another data point that we need to get back to the Constitution, and rein in federal government before we wake up and find ourselves a Socialist nation. (Too late?)

          • Andy

            I agree about the government in many ways, however, when the Church or any church elects tone involved with the coin from the Realm then the Realm sees fit to demand obedience. I believe by the way the Georgia law is about 3 years old. I don’t know if it matters that GA is nor a Catholic bastion, religious liberty is religious liberty. I used Sharia law as an example of religious conscience, and I do not know enough about the secular component of it, and I will concede that it may have been bat of an overreach, so how about a Jehovah Witness Hospital refusing to allow blood transfusions, Mormons want to practice polygamy, – I think the list might be very long of what could be seen as an attack on religious liberty.
            It would be better for the church to withdraw from seeking funds from the government and then free itself of those restrictions it finds onerous or that are an attack on the teachings.
            Perhaps that is why I am cyclical about the current protests by the Bishops. There have been numerous opportunities to protest what the federal government has done that might be an attack on religious freedom.\I am not sure that Obama any more than the republicans want a socialist nation, we are on the path to an oligarchy and both sides are guilty in that pursuit.
            By the way thank you for your very reasoned response – I have been told elsewhere that to ask these questions makes me not a Catholic.

            • Confederate Papist

              I think that GA law was passed in 1999…or even earlier than that…

              Someone mentioned it on one of Mark’s previous posts…can’t remember which one…but it matters not..wrong is wrong. I do remember someone in that thread saying the GOP dominated gov mansion and legislature ignored it, but someone else mentioned that it passed before they were the majority.

            • Linebyline

              The problem I see with your argument is what Lawler pointed out when he quoted the CDF: This isn’t just about Catholic institutions. It’s about what individual Catholics can do. It’s not enough to have an exemption for religious organizations, even if that exemption weren’t so narrow it would exclude Jesus Himself. We have to protect the conscience rights of all Catholics, and of everyone else, too.

              That said, I do agree that for Catholic organizations to wean themselves off government assistance would be a good thing (if it can be made to work). Come to think of it, that goes for pretty much everyone. That doesn’t help us with the fines associated with disobeying the mandate, though.

        • Joseph

          For sake of argument, let’s agree that the bishops’ let the mandate for the other 28 states slide (under the presumption that it’s the same as the recent federal mandate).

          OK. That doesn’t somehow make the outcry now invalid. If you were ripped off by a used car salesman 20 years ago because you weren’t paying attention, it doesn’t mean that you have to allow yourself to get ripped off again right now just to remain consistent.

          Even if the situation is exactly how you describe, complaining that the bishops’ recent behavior is somehow invalid because it seems inconsistent with their previous behavior is not a very good argument. And, certainly, applying false motives to their recent “spine” doesn’t make any sense when viewed from the perspective of the used car salesman analogy.

          • Andy

            I am not saying it is invalid, I think their concern may appropriate. I am not applying false motives, I am asking questions. If questions equal making false charges then I would guess all of us are in trouble.
            What I am questioning is the entire episode. The bishops through various agencies of the church have sought government money. When an agency takes money from the government the government can impose a set of rules. That is my first argument.
            The second is the lack of courage on a state-by-state basis. If it takes a national issue to mobilize the bishops, then it is no wonder why people have little respect foe them. If it takes the courage of many to cause a response, that is indeed sad. I do question the outrage, because had the stand been made on the state level we might not be dealing with it on the national level. It is far easier to deal with a local/small government where local support can carry the day, then to deal at a national level where there exists a multiplicity of groups that impact the conversation.
            As far as the used car salesman analogy goes it is weak. the government is not selling anything. The church wants to be part of the mainstream which mean that it relies on government funds for its colleges (student loans and grants), its hospitals (medicaid/medicare), various types of grants for Catholic Charities and other service agencies. The church applies for them and then receives them. No one rips of the church with the money, instead the government can impose rules to keep using the money. Look at the “outrage” when the government denied a Catholic agency funds for sex trafficking – “how can the government do this…” was the cry. It is was “easy” because the government imposes rules which the church does not follow.
            I will say once again the church should eschew any government money. In so doing it can preach its standards and morals without interference. The church can then follow its beliefs without interference.
            It comes down to he who pays the fiddler calls the tune.

            • Joseph

              You imply that the only reason they are standing up now is because there’s federal funding on the line. The reason that the bishops are stating for their recent uproar is that this is an assault on religious liberty and, specifically, an assault on the Catholic Church. That means that you’re implying false motives on the part of the bishops.

              • Andy

                I am saying they picked their battle. If any government impinges on religious liberty they should have been a hue and cry by the bishops. They were essentially quiet. This seems to indicate that it is only a federal issue, which I find disquieting and disturbing. If pointing out that behavior is implying false motives, then guilty as charged.
                However, I did not say they reacted because of federal funding in this case although they did previously. I said that they should move away from any federal funding and then they claim the moral high ground. I said this because if you take finding from the government then you have to play by the government’s rules.

                • Joseph

                  You are sharing your observations of the behavior of the bishops, then suggesting that the reason for that behavior is something other than what they say it is. That is suggesting that they are being dishonest as to what their true motives are… which is suggesting false motive.

                  • Andy

                    Joseph _ I find it interesting how you move to me asking questions about the behavior of the bishops and saying they are dishonest. I am more concerned that what they are doing is political in nature a well ass religious. I did not say they were dishonest so please do not impute to my words a meaning you find that was not there.

                    • Joseph

                      I’m glad you find it intersting. Peace.

    • S. Murphy

      Has there been any serious attempt to pass a federal law forbidding Muslims to use Sharia in private arbitatration, just as Orthodox Jews probably use Jewish law? Or has there simply been some noise here and there from various ignorant parties trying to vent their paranoia? Do the bishops have to respond to every nutty view on the whole wide internet, or if they don’t, do they lose their standing to speak on a matter of Federal law and policy that affects people for real?

  • You always give my wife and I a good laugh. Keep it up!

    • S. Murphy

      Technically, that’d be “my wife and me.” 😉

      take care.

  • Mary

    Can anyone explain if this new mandate covers birth control pills taken to help health issues like PCOS? In my understanding of the Church’s position and the new healthcare mandate, the Church could cover birth control used for non-contraceptive health care, but since only contraception is covered by the mandate, they do not have to. Am I on the right track in my thinking or has this not really been discussed anywhere?

  • Charlotte

    What’s getting forgotten is the fact that any woman who wants contraceptives only has to go to a doctor, get a prescription, and get it filled. Most birth control is pretty cheap. It’s hard to imagine that there really are employed women out there who want contraceptives but can’t get them because their employer isn’t providing them free.

  • Charlotte

    The point of the above being, of course, that there’s no “need” being met here, (stipulating for the moment that BC could be a “need”), only ideology and power politics.

  • Dave

    I think it is possible that they are reacting more strongly because it is federal. After all, this law is binding on all 50 states (including states which would never dream of making such a law) while others were binding on one. Therefore, it wouldn’t be surprising to me if they react 50 times more strongly.

    I also stand by my previous statement that the Bishops are recently waking up and finding their voice. The Bishops appointed (and promoted) by Benedict XVI are of superior quality, in general, to those appointed by John Paul II (that sort of thing did not seem to be his strong point) Since Pope Benedict XVI has been the Pontiff for 7 years now, a fairly large proportion of bishops have now been appointed by him, so we are beginning to see different patterns of action (thank God) than we are accustomed to seeing.

    Finally, it is possible that you are right that there is a political element to it, though judging by how friendly they were to the Administration during the debate for the health care law, I frankly doubt it.