Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Villainy, Inc.

Color me naive, but I cannot understand the furor over the USCCB's continued refusal to place the rubber stamp of their approval on free contraception for all.  The issue has been in the news for months now, ever since the HHS first announced that universal health insurance meant universal coverage of contraception.  As the conservative blogosphere lights up with virtual air-fives at the bishops finally, finally doing something that makes them unpopular,the secular press has, for the most part, attacked the bishops with a steady stream of inflammatory rhetoric, flawed studies, dishonest reporting, and utter disregard for the ordinary laws of logic.  The latest is another New York Times editorial, characterizing the religious freedom lawsuit as a "dramatic stunt, full of indignation but built on air."

There's no reason to waste time dissecting the editorial's arguments; there is nothing new there, nothing that has not been refuted a dozen times already.  The "what" questions are already answered; it's just a matter of Catholics continuing to get the word out.  My question is a "why" question, the same one that's been nagging me since the beginning of this debate.

Why are they doing this to us?

 Miss Hepburn cannot understand your persistent rudeness.

Is it naive to ask that?  As there really a simple, convincing answer?  If so, I have yet to hear it.

Why is it so important to them that we pay for their pills?  Why would they not be content to let us live and let live, to treat us as the Amish of All Things Reproductive?

It was good enough for Jacob / It's good enough for me!

Oh yes, those weird religious people who don't use electricity ...  Oh yes, those weird religious people who don't use contraception ...  It's not as if they need us to pay for the stuff, any more than we need the Amish to subsidize our consumption of electricity.  Sandra Fluke made that argument, and I'm sure they're a few liberals who believe her; but these folks cannot but be in the minority.  After all, most of them are contracepting themselves: they buy the stuff: they cannot help but know how much (or rather, how little) it costs.

So why are they doing this to us?  Do they hate us for policing our own pleasures?  Do they despise us for what they perceive as our hypocrisy (especially in light of the well-publicized scandal of abuse coverups)?

These may be the reasons for some; but I refuse to believe, even of my enemies, that emotions explain everything.  There must be some kind of rational thought process going on there, behind all the anger.

Must be.

It can't be that they think contraception is no big deal to us—if some of them thought so once, they've been disabused of the notion by now.  Nor can it be that they think contraception should be no big deal, and are angry that we make such a fuss over it—see the point about the Amish above.

There's only one reason for anyone to go after an organization that isn't really harming anyone, and that would like nothing better than to be left in peace with a pint of Guinness in an air-conditioned chancery.  You go after such an organization because you think they're evil.

And you must admit, we can look kinda intimidating.

No, really.  They think we're the bad guys.  They truly believe every word they've read about the Middle Ages.  They've seen all the old Hollywood movies that trade on the mysterious magnetism of the Church, everything from Going My Way to The Ten Commandments to On the Waterfront.  They've swallowed the sentiments of Dan Brown and Philip Pullman.  And they are generally scared that we Catholics might, by the arcane powers we possess, somehow reproduce *ahem* another Dark Ages (which were really the product of pagan barbarism, but never mind that).

They're scared of us.  Not of what we are, but of what (they think) we've been and what (they fear) we might become again.  Not of what we're doing, but of what we might do.  We are the Iran of religions.  We are Frank Miller.  Captain Bligh.  Darth Vader.  Lex Luther.  Chaos.

 Well, maybe not Chaos.

And this after our repeated failures to take over the world!  And all we've done to brand ourselves as utter wimps!  Really, the Holy Spirit has a lot of explaining to do. 

And we're not leaving till it's done.

The other thing to understand is, they haven't got our confidence.  We know we're going to win—if not this battle, still the war; if not the little war, the Great War.  So some of our big people flake, even all of our big people; so some of us are ridiculed, or go to jail, or die; we know we have a Father in Heaven, and an Advocate before him who "will come again to judge the living and the dead."  Game over already.  We win.
In case you weren't sure what "win" meant ... 

The secularists haven't got that.  Not even Alain de Botton could figure out a way to get them that.  Have you ever thought how scary the world would be without having that?  ("A tale told by an idiot ... signifying: nothing.")  Or how weird and crazy and frightening people who do have That would seem to those who don't?

It almost makes me feel sorry for the folks at the New York Times.


  1. My friend Tom Leith says it's for two reasons:

    1. From the insurer's point of view, ontraception is much cheapter than maternity. Paying for pills is less expensive than paying for child birth.

    2. Nearly universal participation is the key to the effectiveness of universal health care. If the government lets the Catholic Church out, the floodgates will open.

    Beyond that, you're right, they think we're evil.

    1. Hm, Mr. Leith has good points there. Re the second, I guess HHS should have been more careful about covering controversial things in the first place--although, giving our aforementioned self-branding as wimps, it's understandable that they might have been expecting us just to roll over and play dead on this.

      Re the first, that's an understandable position for the insurers to take--birth is expensive--but how incredibly short-sighted! After all, unless young healthy folks like me have babies, old soon-to-be-unhealthy folks like you [sorry, Kevin! ;)] will have no one to subsidize your premiums ...

  2. As long as we must subsidize free abortion/contraception etc., why not free beer? According to the liberals the same principles would apply.

    1. I am all for free beer. But the liberals would never go for it. After all, as Aquinas said (in an elaborate proof that was later bowdlerized by that rotten deist Franklin) "And the sixth way is from the existence of beer," etc.

      On the other hand ... http://www.crisismagazine.com/2012/free-beer-mandate

  3. I think you miss the fairly obvious reason. The liberals who are pushing this feel guilty and judged when we decline to stoop to their morals.
    By refusing to treat sex and pregnancy as just another object of human choice (or freedom) we refuse to allow the infettered exercise of their corrupt wills.

    1. Wait ... so we're supposed to violate our consciences in order to make them FEEL GOOD?!!