|Tradition, Family and Property is another of those right wing Catholic groups who freely mix monarchical political philosophy with traditional Catholicism.|
The most important reason I personally have trouble with the USCCB Fortnight for Freedom is the strategy the bishops are using to promote this campaign. It seems to me that they are attempting to twist guarantees for individual human rights and freedoms away from the individual towards an understanding that places the institutional rights above the individual. I don't find this all that surprising since the exact same strategy is mirrored when corporations or political Super Pacs argue for their own collective rights on similar reasoning. This is one reason I find the US Supreme Court decision in the Citizen's United case abhorrent. Institutions, religious or not, and corporations are not individuals and do not have 'consciences'. It is frightening that they are in some cases arguing successfully that they are individuals, and that the USCCB is taking this further and insisting they do have consciences. Individual rights are getting steam rolled in this process.
Religion Dispatches has an article about the just recently held World Congress of Families in Madrid, Spain. Written by Gillian Kane, this article expands on my own thinking, drawing similar conclusions. This clever campaign is purposely designed to decrease individual rights in favor of institutional rights when it comes to the issues of sex and gender. This is seen in the novel, but powerful idea, that 'traditional rights' supersede 'new' individual rights centered in sexual reproduction for women and children:
One concern undergirding the varied topics covered by the speakers was that the protection of individual rights (youth rights, gay rights, reproductive rights) was taking place at the expense of “fundamental” religious, cultural, and parental rights. The idea of Christian persecution, or Christianophobia, was echoed throughout and the human rights framework was frequently misappropriated to serve the needs of a given speaker. Human rights were oppressive when they protected reproductive and gender rights (or “new” rights), whereas, when it came to protecting “traditional” rights to freedom of religion and speech, they were suddenly fundamental. New rights, they argued, cannot supersede traditional human rights. When they do, these rights violations must be redressed. (These 'traditional' rights are not human rights, they are patriarchal rights.)
This very argument is being used in the debate over the Obama health care reform law, one of the main objections to which is access to reproductive health care. Lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the mandate, however, do not directly confront abortion and contraception, but are based on the purported violation of the First Amendment. Stand Up For Religious Freedom, one of the lead networks agitating against health care reform, explicitly states that: “the American ideal of religious liberty is at stake. This isn’t really about contraception—it’s about the First Amendment.”
If readers take the time to read the linked article, they will find familiar names pop up on the Catholic side of this issue. The Ave Maria Law School created by Tom Monoghan features prominently. Another familiar legal group is the Alliance Defense Fund, whose creators were the big evangelical names of the moral majority, but whose major contributors include Edgar and Elsa Prince Foundation--(Eric Prince ring any bells?), An allied legal group is the Thomas More Law Center, and finally, the Tradition, Family, and Property group whose members seem to think society could use a good dose of rule by a benevolent Catholic elite who can own as much of the world as they want.
It would be easy to dismiss all of this as far right agitation from groups who are totally disconnected from modern reality, but that is a mistake. These groups feel disenfranchised from modern reality more so than disconnected, and they are backed by some of the world's most powerful political and religious organizations, and funded by very wealthy individuals. This is far from a joke. It's a very well organized attempt to dominate global politics by using secular argumentation against itself and providing specific targets for the generalized fear permeating global societies. We should all be taking this very very seriously if we care about individual rights and representative democracy. Religious Freedom can not become an excuse to exterminate individual rights because that path leads to precisely what we have in the Roman Catholic hierarchy, a closed leadership structure which considers itself above any meaningful accountability to any outside authority. That would not be good.
When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.
Attributed to Sinclair Lewis
Sinclair Lewis was prophetic in a number of ways. Fascism wrapped up in the Cross is still fascism.ReplyDelete
What's really going on here is an egregious demonstration of Orwellian "Newspeak." Tim Dolan and his henchmen are working to suppress the constitutionally guaranteed rights of the majority of Americans by having enacted into public policy an extremely narrow interpretation of "RC sexual ethics" that isn't even supported by the majority of Catholic laity (and who knows how many clergy).ReplyDelete
This World Congress in Madrid war organised by Opus Dei supporters.ReplyDelete
Ahhhh... Opus Dei. They claim to be non-political. John Allen thinks they're not fascist. I am skeptical of those claims. Doing a bit of research on these organizations shows that they fit the bill. Tradition, family, property? Sheesh.Delete
While I was "serfing" the internet as another commenter put it so aptly I came across a number of patriotic American (nationalistic) Catholics who try to define fascism as a left-wing, Marxist movement. Yikes! Maybe someone needs a bit more than home-schooling. Oxford defines fascism "an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization" alternatively "(in general use) extreme right-wing, authoritarian, or intolerant views or practices" Projecting a bit are we?
But I'll take Umberto Eco's points, as he grew up with first hand experience of fascism in Italy. "Eternal Fascism: 14 ways of looking at a blackshirt" He includes: tradition, rejection of modernism, action without reflection, disagreement is treason, ... everybody is educated to become a hero, etc. Eco's penultimate observation "Since both permanent war and heroism are difficult games to play, the Ur-Fascist transfers his will to power to sexual matters."
Incidentally, while the Sinclair Lewis quote is somewhat disputed, he certainly expressed similar sentiments from the 1930's on. However, I think the quote is somewhat misleading because fascism doesn't really arrive from another place. There are plenty of people who fail to see their own fascist tendencies and those of people in their own community.
JP2 certainly fought the left, communism and socialism, not realizing, I think, the evils of Spanish/Italian fascism. Comparatively it was downright church friendly. It was a case of an old general re-fighting the last war.
The World Congress was a potpourri of right wing fascist groups.Delete
p2p you are correct in your statement that fascism doesn't come from outside. In Catholicism it's been part of the authoritarian Catholic strain for forever. I have to assume it's appeal is in the fact it mandates followers think themselves above the average Catholic, not just a fellow human. Hence those of us who see things differently are usually told to find the Episcopalian Church. Or that the members of the LCWR are old and the 'time' solution will deal with them. This is stated in spite of the fact Pope Benedict's generation of curial rulers is on average a decade older. Utterly mind boggling it is.
Another aspect of individual feedom I am concerned about are living wills that many of us have drawn up, specifically directing that feeding tubes not be used in the case of advanced dementia or alzheimers when a person cannot take nutrition by mouth. But the church's latest directives state that feeding tubes must be used in those cases. It seems that Catholic hospitals are more and more under pressure to ignore patients' advanced directives.ReplyDelete
That is exactly what it seems to me as well. Patients can not determine for themselves their medical care in advance and I find that truly invasive. I wonder how many bishops want to be kept alive artificially, but then I have to admit, they have far better health insurance than I do. My co pay is beyond what I can expect my daughter to pay. I do not have the financial resources of a diocese behind me.Delete
The Bishops never follow the rules they put into place for everyone else. They will have a say in their medical care in advance. They will find a loop hole. The wealthy always do.Delete
On piece of glaring pieces of cognitive dissonance to me is the fact that while the Bishops here are crying foul toward our government, they are not publicly castigating their fellow prelates over in Europe who most like partake of their universal health care systems which most likely mandate reproductive health services for those who need them including abortion. Are these prelates not then participating in a grave moral evil?ReplyDelete
It must be that this participation in a 'grave moral evil' is strictly an American issue, because you are correct in your observation about Europe.Delete
Absolutely, and the bishops are counting on American Catholics' ignorance of how the universal health care system and European bishops' acceptance of it actually work in practice.Delete
The HHS Mandate as expressed at standupforreligiousfreedom dot com, acts as if people will be forced to use coverage that goes against the Catholic faith. And yet, the Catholic faith is being dictated not by sound and reasonable and pastoral authorities and they desire to shove this down the throats of everyone. It is truly quite alarming the technique they are using.ReplyDelete
The language at the link "explicitly" above in Colleen's blog, that leads one to the standupforreligiousfreedom dot com is anything but about religious freedom. It is right wing political propaganda and nothing but that.
If insurance coverage includes procedures that people don't need or agree with, they are not forced to go against their religious beliefs and use the products. Are the insurance companies religious entities? Suppose that religious groups started banning stores from carrying certain products they thought were against their religion? When would such religious groups end their crusade against whatever they though was a products against their religion?
It would seem to me that in a free society that people be allowed to choose. Freedom is also about the liberty to be religious or not to be religious. That is really the cornerstone to the USofA's Constitution. That is a mandate that is more important and should override the hocus pocus political jargon from the fundamentalist right wingers. It is clearly what I can see a ploy to undermine freedom and liberty and justice for all. It is totally anti-American. It is fascist.
The website feeds on people's fear of the government having too much power. What I see here is that it is these right wing factions that are the one's to truly be wary of who want too much power.
Also, I find it interesting that the USCCB has Catholics rally in front of the State Houses all over the country over the HHS mandate. Why don't they rally at the insurance companies or the manufacturers of birth control?ReplyDelete
On thinking of this it came to my mind that the next course of the action by these right wing anti-american bishops would be to rally Catholics to such places. Where else could their ideas of their religious beliefs lead?
In addition, the brand of religion that the USCCB currently is pushing is a product that eliminates and marginalizes much of their congregation. The flight of millions from the Church is by no accident. It truly has to do with the lack of real teachings from the Gospel in the Church and is the reason people have been leaving. All this politicizing right wing crap is causing people to exit to find the space they need to grow in their faith. They are not getting it from their Catholic Church leaders. Also, more people will be getting divorces because of the low down views the hierarchs have against women and the drip drip brainwash techniques that appear in Church bulletins with wording that divides and does not support healthy loving relationships.
I think marches on Planned Parenthood clinics is probably next in line. If this was truly 'non' political, they would have their uber Catholics march on nuclear weapons facilities as well as State Capitals. Of course, you get arrested for picketing weapons facilities, and from what I've seen bishops will do all kinds of things to avoid being arrested.Delete
How many people are nuclear weapons killing in the 21st century, Colkoch?Delete
C'mon, get out of the past century. Move with the times!
I just discovered THIS website, http://nobility.org/ ,owned by Tradition,Family, and Property and designed to promote their book, "Nobility and Analogous Traditional Elites in the Allocutions of Pius XXII, a special project of the American TFP".ReplyDelete
The site is an aggrandizement of all things elitist and as such is the very antithesis of Christ's teachings about wealth and position. It's enough to make you sick!
Cynthia, it's enough to make one sad. We are so far from Jesus' actual teachings, sometimes I despair. But just sometimes, because I know the arch of justice really is moving forward.ReplyDelete