Friday, April 2, 2010

Abortion, "Health Care," Feelings and Unpleasant Realities

I think it's very nice of America's first Hawaiian president, to sign an executive order that traditional news media can say gives a "conscience protection" and places controls on abortion funding. It may very likely make his supporters feel even better about him, and help folks who think abortion isn't nice feel better about the 'health care reform' that's going through Congress.

Looks like that executive order won't have much practical effect, though. Bishop Samuel J. Aquila, Fargo, North Dakota, has studied the matter. I think many critics of the Catholic Church would give us credit for at least one thing: our leaders understand rules and regulations. In America, we've got a constitution and laws. These place limits on what a legislature or a president can do. They also provide a framework within which new laws and regulations must work.

As Bishop Aquila said, the abortion and conscience provisions are "grave and serious matters" - and they're not going to be fixed by the executive order. At least, not the way we're supposed to believe.l "Where the executive order purports to fix shortcomings in these areas, it is highly likely to be legally invalid; and where the order is highly likely to be legally valid, it does nothing to fix the shortcomings," ("New health care reform law contributes to the march toward a culture of death"
Statement regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Most Rev. Samuel J. Aquila, Bishop of Fargo (March 30, 2010)

It's not just Fargo's bishop. Bishops in America are voicing grave concerns about the practical effect of the "health care reform":
"...Meanwhile, Bishop Leonard P. Blair of Toledo, Ohio, urged Catholics to look at the health reform debate from a religious/moral perspective rather than a political one. 'Imagine if the political price for the passage of health care reform were the reintroduction of racial segregation in Southern schools,' he writes in the Catholic Chronicle, Toledo diocesan newspaper. 'This would rightly lead to moral indignation and block passage of the bill. However, the murder of 50 million unborn children in our country is seen as a legitimate "choice" and is tossed about like a football in the political field.' Read his full column here...."
(Catholic News Service Blog)
I've put links to a few resources in "More," at the end of this post.

Why Such a Fuss About Abortion?

I think many Americans can't understand what the fuss about killing babies is, because "abortion" is what "women's health care" providers do to rid women of "unwanted pregnancies". And, of course, it's part of a woman's "right to choose". And - we've been told often enough - choice is freedom and freedom is good and people feel good about freedom and good stuff like that.

On the other hand, Americans don't, in my experience, have much trouble understanding that not letting people hold jobs, go to a decent school, or vote because of who their ancestors were isn't nice. We also, most of us I think, feel that slavery is a bad idea. I think that ethnic discrimination against non-WASPs is a bad idea, myself: but then I would: quite a few of my ancestors are Irish.

That (in my opinion reasonable) idea is, I think, 'obviously' a good idea because Americans have been told that it is for decades.

Abortion isn't Civil Rights - But it's Close

Civil rights isn't so much a political issue now, as a religious/moral one. I can't disagree with that - particularly since I belong to a religious minority which has the potential for getting civil rights protection. Whether it would be a good thing to be 'protected' by the federal government is another issue - and a very different topic.

I think Toledo's Bishop Leonard P. Blair was right in trying to change abortion from a political issue to a religious/moral one. And, that comparing efforts to keep mothers from killing their babies to the civil rights movement is valid. Both are, in my opinion, efforts to correct a moral defect.

And as a Catholic, I'm required to believe that killing babies isn't nice and that we shouldn't do it. For me, it's a moral issue and a religious one. A remarkable number of non-Catholics understand that killing babies isn't particularly moral, too. Now. Which is yet another topic.

The bishop could have used another moral issue from American history which had a political aspect, like Prohibition. But since that's something not all that many of us remember, I think using civil rights as the point of reference is prudent. Besides, Prohibition wasn't an unqualified success: putting it mildly.

Disrespect and Awareness

An assistant professor at the University of Minnesota, Morris, exercised his academic freedom and right to free expression a couple of years ago:

(from PZ Myers, Pharyngula (July 24, 2008), used w/o permission)

This is America, so the professor is still alive, he kept his job, no buildings on the U of M Morris campus were burned, and as far as I know my tax dollars are still helping to pay his salary. I don't like that. I was outraged, myself. But driving a nail through a consecrated host, ripping a page out of a Bible, the Quran, and an atheist's book, trashing the lot, taking a picture of it and posting it online is well inside many American's comfort zone.

As far as I know, protest against the assistant professor and the academic system that defended him was a non-starter. Many people may not have heard of this exercise in self-expression, and more may not have realized the importance of this bit of sacrilege.

Possibly because many Americans didn't feel bad about the picture.

Although Personally Opposed to Slavery - - -

I'm old enough to remember when "although personally opposed to abortion, I don't feel I have the right to force my views on another" line was used fairly often - and apparently worked. My opinion is that it also got too many people thinking about abortion in terms of ethics - or even morals.

This is strictly a hypothetical case: but look at that picture and imagine that the consecrated host (it's that round thing with a nail stuck through it) was a photograph of Reverend Martin Luther King. I think more than a few Americans would feel bad about that. I would.

The difference is that we've gotten used to feeling that racial discrimination is not a good thing.

Maybe more Americans will start feeling that killing babies isn't nice, either.

Related posts:More:
A tip of the hat to CatholicNewsSvc, on Twitter, for the heads-up on their post.

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What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.