|At least one elephant is credible as a balancing act.|
One of the stories making the rounds this morning is the one about the USCCB sending a letter to certain GOP members of the House advising them to link reforming certain sections of the Affordable Care Act to the bill for continued funding of the Government. This is a story that should make the rounds because it clearly shows that the USCCB is one of the guiding hands behind the Tea Party wing of the GOP. They have not only taken on the smell of the elephant, they are one of the big bull elephants creating the biggest stink. I don't know how the USCCB official spokesperson, Sr Mary Ann Walsh sleeps at night. If I spent all my time writing double speak for my bosses, I'd probably need something more than Ambien to stop my mind from doing loop de loops. Here is the official statement from the USCCB on the governemnt shutdown:
Time to Listen to the Bishops On The Shutdown
By Sister Mary Ann Walsh
As the government shutdown continues, it may be time to listen to another body – the U.S. bishops. Recent statements from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops offer significant points worth considering.
They are neither Democratic nor Republican positions. They are simply principled. (HAHAHAHAHA ROFL LMAO )
Consider, for example, an October 1 letter from Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, Chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Migration, Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, California, chair of the Committee on Domestic Policy and Human Development, and Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, chair of the Committee on International Justice and Peace. The letter urged Congress to fulfill the role of government and meet the basic needs of people. The bishops told Congress that they “welcomed earlier bipartisan action which averted a federal government shutdown and the hardship that would have come with failure to reach agreement." (Note the date. This letter comes after the shutdown began.)
They added that "The Catholic bishops of the United States stand ready to work with leaders of both parties for a budget that reduces future unsustainable deficits, protects poor and vulnerable people, advances the common good, and promotes human life and dignity."
The bishops noted that the Catechism of the Catholic Church says it is the proper role of government to "make accessible to each what is needed to lead a truly human life," including food, clothing, heath care, education and culture.
The Church is a voice for the poor. It’s often the only lobby for people in desperate need. In that regard, the church has argued for universal health care for about a century. (There are a couple of loop de loops in this paragraph. The USCCB is hardly the only voice lobbying for the poor. They must not have meant 'universal' health care because they were willing to shutdown the government to prevent women from getting most reproductive health care.)
The church has also asked Congress to protect rights of conscience as a part of the same legislative process. A September 26 letter from Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston, chair of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, chair of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, called for respect for religious freedom. They did so as a January 1 deadline approaches for beginning to impose the HHS contraceptive/abortifacient mandate on many religious institutions that serve the needy. As the bishops’ October 1 letter pointed out, threats to conscience rights undermine access to needed health care by driving people of faith out of the system. (There are so many loop de loops in this paragraph, it's hard to read without engendering nausea. First there's the oft repeated abortifacient lie, then there is the omission that the September 26th letter encouraged the linking of ACA with continued funding of the government thereby demonstrating the USCCB willingness to have the government shut down, and then final sentence which is really another threat.)
Some have falsely interpreted this as a call for the government shutdown or a default on our nation’s debts. The bishops have done nothing of the kind. The bishops have been urging Congress to enact legislation like the Health Care Conscience Rights Act for two and a half years. Since July 2012, the bishops have been asking that this protection be included in “must-pass” bills such as the appropriations bills funding the government, which have long been vehicles for a number of important federal policies on conscience rights. (But they are not asking only for the protection of their rights, they are demanding private employers be able to subject their employees to the employers religious views. This is asking for the right to discriminate against the rights of other people on the basis of personal opinion--and calling it 'conscience rights.' We have been down this road before and it wasn't pretty.)
The bishops offer principles that uphold rights for all people, especially the poorest and most vulnerable. Good government protects its citizens. When it shuts down, it protects no one; and when it runs, it must be sure to respect their fundamental rights. The bishops have emphasized all of these concerns together. In this way, they offer a voice of reason. (This is just classic. The USCCB now dares to pretend to castigate the House for doing exactly what they asked for. Loop de loop de loop de loop.)
I'm way to dizzy to write much more here, but I encourage readers to check out Bill Lyndsey's post at Bilgrimage for his take and a whole bunch of links to other good articles on this latest USCCB attempt to create their own reality.