I recently heard from a source within the Department of Health and Human Services who indicated to me that people within the organization are “terrified” of what is going to happen. Not just with the mandate, which Catholics are combating eloquently in the Fortnight for Freedom. They’re afraid that the entire health care legislation will come tumbling down.
If that happens, they will lose money, staff, and jobs – hiring has been on the rise at HHS. They’ll also lose their ideological victory. It doesn’t take someone on the inside to tell you that they don’t want that to happen.
In the mean time, Catholics for Equality are worried too. Last night, they joined together in Baltimore to protest the Fortnight for Freedom effort. Why? Because they recognize that the Church continues to move away from their idea of Catholicism:
“The bishops no longer represent Catholics in the pews on so many social issues, from contraception to legal equality for LGBT people,” said Joseph Palacios, Director of the Catholics for Equality Foundation. “We also reject the bishops’ election year campaign that they are now somehow victims of religious liberty.”
According to a new report released today by the Public Religion Research Institute, 57% of American Catholics do not believe that the right to religious liberty is being threatened in America today. The report also notes that 65% of Catholics believe that most employers should be required to provide their employees with health care plans that cover contraception at no cost and that 63% believe religiously affiliated agencies should not be able to refuse to place children with qualified gay and lesbian couples.
“The bishops’ “Fortnight for Freedom” 2012 campaign is nothing more than election year political posturing,” said Phil Attey, Executive Director of Catholics for Equality. “For the past 10 years the bishops’ have earned the public branding of abusers, oppressors, and political bullies. Catholics in the pews don’t listen to them anymore and nor do political leaders … including Catholic political leaders. In order to change this political reality, the bishops need to change their branding from bully to victim. But nobody’s buying it and they’re only bringing more embarrassment to our church.”
Meanwhile, in Michigan, protesters upset over the Vatican’s recent statements regarding the Leadership Conference of Women Religious confronted a young priest over the issue. They videotaped it and put it on YouTube, but I think they wound up getting more than they bargained for:
The tide is turning in the Church. Orthodoxy is on the rise, and Catholics are responding to a world that is increasingly hostile to our beliefs. Persecution is never a good thing, but it has always had a positive and unifying effect on the faithful. We won’t lie down and take it without a fight.