Doug Kmiec, the Charlie Brown of American Catholicism…

Doug Kmiec, the Charlie Brown of American Catholicism… April 19, 2012

…is back to totally trusting that our God King means well and is not the obvious and naked enemy of the Catholic Church–and plus he’s the Peace President, doncha know–not to mention the spying on people who criticize DHS, indefinite detainment, and assassination of American citizens president. Let us all hail the Dear Leader.

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  • The Deuce

    He’s not Charlie Brown. Charlie Brown was just gullible and easily persuaded. Kmiec, on the other hand, was solidly in Lucy… er Obama’s tank all along, and just needed to perform the whole dog and pony show of looking like he was Very Concerned As A Good Catholic, while in reality looking for any pretext he could use as a fig leaf for his inevitable public return to his actual position.

    • How do you know?

      • The Deuce

        I suppose I don’t *know* with the certainty that I know that 1+1=2, but I’m certain beyond a reasonable doubt. I know it the same way anybody is able to tell what drives anybody else: by watching their actions.

        Let’s put it this way. I predicted all along that Kmiec was going to find an excuse to rationalize support for the mandate as soon as he could, having already covered his ass with a bit of hand-wringing to show everyone that he was Very Concerned (TM) and therefore Still A Good Catholic (TM). I predicted this because he had made his leftist political worldview and his love of Obama abundantly clear, and had used it to rationalize supporting and/or overlooking terrible evils in the past. I think the correctness of my prediction is a pretty good indication that I understood what he was about.

        I thought Mark was right that it wasn’t good for Fr. Z to pile on Kmiec at the time that he wrote his Very Concerned (TM) article, on the slim chance that Kmiec was actually sincere, but I also thought that Fr. Z was correct in thinking that he almost surely wasn’t.

      • Dale Price

        True enough. The other option is that Professor Kmiec is very, very stupid.

  • Andy, Bad Person

    What a stunning piece of lies that article was, with an even worse comment section. Opposition to the contraception mandate is a political tool? Really? Is that why Every. Single. Bishop. has come out against it?

    There’s also another great connection between Left and Right in the comments under the article. Just like how most criticisms of the Right are met with “You must be pro-abortion!” in conservative circles, any criticism of this article is met with “I didn’t see you criticizing the war 4 years ago!”

    Only two sides to every issue. The commenters straight-facedly say that we should not be striving for a culture war, and fighting against Obama is “un-Christlike(!)”. Because apparently the Church is never counter-cultural and always goes with what their leaders tell them to.

    So, everybody, let’s all follow immoral mandates. For Fellowship!

  • Perhaps I could have some help here. During this whole kerfuffle, several folks I’ve talked to, listened to, and read have said that the Bishops basically supported the healthcare reform, even though there were clearly several aspects of it, beyond the contraception mandate, that folks found troubling at best, and an all-out assault on our Constitutional liberties at worst. Just how did the Bishops’ support of this go down? I’ve been looking, but it’s tough to find real accounts and not interpretations of the events. Does anyone know of or have links to some good sources? The most cynical interpretation of this is certainly troubling, but I don’t want to take it on some editorial’s word for what happened. I’d like to find out more about just what the Bishops said, if they did support the reform, and how was it framed then. Just asking.

    • John H.

      This bishops do support healthcare reform, but they did not support the legislation that was passed, because it did not provide adequate conscience protection. We do need healthcare reform in this country. That’s not what the “Affordable Care Act” is, but that’s what we get when politicians have insurance lobbyists, and lawyers in their pockets.

      • Yeah, that’s what I’m trying to find out. More than once I’ve read or heard that the bishops didn’t just support the concept of health care reform, but specifically supported *this* reform under the promise that it allow for exemptions for conscience regarding abortion/contraception and the like. So that’s not what happened? I just ask because that seems the commonly accepted version of what happened. I wonder if there are any links to some source or another to break it down.

        • Ted Seeber

          Wasn’t the Bishops. It was Rep. Burt Stupak and his small cadre of pro-life Democrats who finally got the verbal promise of conscience protections for doctors, nurses, and most importantly taxpayers.

          It seems like Stupak had barely left Obama’s office to vote yes on the Bill before the promise was betrayed.

      • Basically, to be more specific, looking for news stories or the like. For instance, I have a piece written by Bill Donahue stating that not one bishop ever supported Obamacare. That’s fine as far as it goes. But I can hardly take his word for it; I’m looking for the actual sources is what I’m saying.

        • Dave, have you tried the USSCB webste? Look for the bishops’ actual letters and
          statements. Everthing else is only opinion – usually erroneous – about what they said.

          • Lori, I’ve looked there, but so far (and I admit I haven’t looked at *every* doc), I’ve only found the basic ‘we are for healthcare for everyone’ and ‘we reject the mandate that forces employers to violate their religious conscience regarding contraception and similar things.’ I’m trying to find something to answer those who basically say that the Bishops were, on the whole and except for their opposition to any contraception mandates, otherwise supportive of the overall healthcare reform as manifested in Obama’s plan. I’ve just not found anything yet that clearly says they never supported it for a host of reasons, not just that one reason. That’s what I’m looking for. I’ll keep looking; I just thought someone might have had a quick link. Thanks though.

            • Dave, I seem to remember the same things you do….you may have to dig back to 2010 when this atrocity was passed to see any statement on the bishops.

              At the time, I did wonder about the “what about Catholic employers or employees” when hearing about the proposed exception rule for the Church, Amish, etc…

            • Dave, I don’t remember the date of the individual document or documents, but the bishops did lay out a number of criteria for what a good healthcare plan would have to include, such as guarantees that the poorest people would have access (i.e. those who can’t afford any kind of assurance). It may be that what they said was critical of the plan as it stood. I can’t remember. They also said something — though very little considering what a problem it’s going to be — about care for the elderly. My advice is – keep digging.

              (I would say that the bishops like most of the rest of us, didn’t realize the extent of the deception involved in the bill, or the real meaning of “we’re going to have to pass it to see what’s in it.” What it meant that the most important parts of the bill weren’t even in the bill, but were going to be in the regulations established by the HHS and other “boards” that put decisions about who will get care and when in the hands not of lawmakers or citizens, or even patients and doctors, but of government bureaucrats. The bishops couldn’t address things they didn’t know about, and unlike “pundits” and most people in comboxes, thought it unwise to rely on rumors in making statements. Understandable, but still an opportunity missed. Well, the whole thing is a monstrous mess. the quicker it’s declared unconstitutional, the better).

  • The scariest thing of all is that Kmiec is not alone. There are hoards (good word) of “Catholics” who feel the same way. We all need to be strong in support of our Bishops!

    • hoards (good word)

      Wrong word! It’s “hordes.”

      • victor

        And in the case of pottage-purchasing Catholics, I believe the word is spelled with a silent “W” at the front, too.

  • victor

    “To a good many theologians, this worked well enough to avoid formal cooperation with evil…”

    Uhhh.. Citation Needed? And wouldn’t this be more in an ethicist’s wheelhouse anyway?

  • Jen

    Hey now, I like Charlie Brown. He was innocently sincere and trusting. Too trusting, but still good-hearted. Kmiec is… none of that.

  • Telemachus

    It’s telling that this piece by Kmiec is published in the National Fish-Wrap, where dissidents are welcomed with warm hugs.

  • Peggy R

    Can I add commentary on his dumb economic thinking. He’s only a lawyer, after all.

    Kmiec is mad that some one might choose not to purchase insurance (b/c he can right now), which he claims would cause others’ cost of insurance to increase. Really? Well, la di da, even if true. Yes, lots of products and services can be provided at lower average/marginal cost as subscribers/purchasers increase in number. Should we make everyone buy some new technology to make sure it succeeds and is cheap? Does he not see how this is not freedom? Further, Kmiec presumes that the guy w/o insurance can’t pay his medical bills, the cost of which he thinks will be borne by other clients of the medical facility. Retail prices for the insured are inflated to ensure coverage of costs, frankly, and from other inefficient incentives. The uninsured person is usually charged a lesser fee, but not below cost from what I have am aware. Thus, he is not subsidized. Only the poor are subsidized by other consumers and taxpayers, as well as those who donate to charitable hospitals.

    • Ted Seeber

      I think a grand example has been solar panels. *Decades* worth of tax incentives to buy, and the thing that finally brought the price down was a trade war where a foreign nation (China) decided to use *supply side economics* to corner the market.

  • Ted Seeber

    One of the things I read in the comments really bothered me “It’s not the Bishops or Obama, it’s the Pope who is the problem”. Dude, if you feel that way, a man by the name of Martin Luther solved your problem for you 500 years ago- there are 30,000 other Christian Churches out there to choose from if you no longer believe in Apostolic Authority.

  • I’ve been against this so-called “Affordable” Care Act (aka Obamacare), from the beginning. No where in the formerly used document called The US Constitution does it state that something along these lines is legal. It forces people to buy insurance or pay a fine. Is it a fine or a tax? The regime keeps going back and forth on this. The HHS mandate notwithstanding, this who piece of crap legislation is a power grab by the government to control our lives, force insurance companies out of business and marginalise the Church. Anyone in their right mind (no pun intended) would realise this is completely illegal.

    I am all for HC reform. Eliminate the restrictions on the insurance companies so they can cross state lines, and the rates will be more reasonable.

    And I am speaking as a person who has no health insurance, nor do I plan to get it, especially if Obamacare is somehow declared constitutional (I can’t see how, but I’ve seen stranger things).

    • Peggy R


      The bishops appeared to support the whole endeavor until the conscience and abortion provisions turned out unfavorable to the Church’s beliefs. They would have cheered the damned mess otherwise. Depend on it.

      • Peggy….a little more charity towards our shepherds! It’s public knowledge they support HC reform, and they may have applauded the effort, but like everyone else, no one knew what was in the bill, like old Na-Po said (pass to the bill to see what’s in it). Some (like you and I) knew it was going to be garbage anyway, but our bishops and other friends didn’t realise it until recently.

        It’s okay…better late than never. In my mind our bishops should be apolitical as possible, but when they get smacked by Caesar, they should be able to defend themselves and their flock. That’s why they have the shepherd’s crooks!! 😉

        • Ted Seeber

          I supported only one small portion of the bill (the end to the concept of “pre existing condition”- well guess what, life is a pre-existing condition). I wanted it passed as I’ve had *extreme* problems finding health insurance.

          Then they started turning it into a giveaway to the big health insurance companies. I’m very disappointed. I was hoping for something with more subsidiarity- say patient-owned coops and better tax protection of HSAs.

        • Peggy R

          CP: Yes, I suppose some more charity is called for. Yet, while I can’t cite a particular moment here, things I’ve heard bishops, even Card. Dolan say, suggest to me that they remain fundamentally behind the notions embodied in O-care and public payment of medical costs. I don’t know where the USCCB stands in the individual mandate. Surely, the HHS contraception etc., mandate ought to provide ample evidence that there’s no limiting principle in the law. I am not convinced that the bishops (collectively) understand the evils of the bill beyond the objectionable conscience and abortion provisions. I hope and pray they see the error of the law as a whole and move on.

          • Peggy R

            P.S. An illustration of why I think the bishops still don’t get the larger problems with this bill. All they say is they want “universal healthcare” and want protection for life and consciences. Sigh. Just sigh.


            And the USCCB hangs with radical amnesty groups (recent event at Newseum) and opposes cutting of public aid to illegal aliens (Ryan plan). Jinkies!

            I pray for them!

    • Ted Seeber

      Actually, in the Reinterpreted Constitution of the Post Doe Vs Bolton era, it’s right there in Article I Section 8: Congress has full control over all interstate commerce. Or as reinterpreted in 1973, Congress has full control over ALL Commerce.

      Everything since then is tied to the interpretation of what is interstate- from the case where apparently marijuana grown in an attic is interstate commerce, to the case that boycotting trade with Burma is interstate commerce, MANY cases since Doe vs Bolton have come down the pike, each one incrementally expanding the role of government in the marketplace, especially the charitable marketplace, and reducing room for the Church.

    • If it will make you feel any better, unless something comes up within the next two weeks, my family will be joining the ranks of the great uninsured!