Home / General / “Religious Liberty”–A Slogan of Defeat

“Religious Liberty”–A Slogan of Defeat


The Catholic Church has taken up a new strategy to fight against abortion and gay rights–talking about “religious liberty” to reject equal rights for gays and the right of women to control their own bodies.

I would say that whenever an institution is forced from the support of direct oppression to taking on the mantra of being oppressed, it’s a sign of victory for progressive forces. It doesn’t mean the victory will be complete–white homeowners used this very language in the 1960s and 1970s to protect their neighborhoods and schools from integration. But even in this case, this move was a significant response to just how much the civil rights movement had accomplished.

While I am less confident about the long-term availability of legal abortion in this country, the Catholic bishops are clearly being routed on gay marriage. I’d expect to see more of this language, talking about how not encouraging kids to beat up gay kids impinges upon their free speech.

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  • Uncle Kvetch

    Bishop Lori said that in states like Illinois and Massachusetts, and in the District of Columbia, Catholic agencies that received state financing had been forced to stop offering adoption and foster care services because those states required them to help same-sex couples to adopt, just as they helped heterosexual couples.

    Extra points for chutzpah.

    • Hogan

      I believe “chutzpah” is Yiddish for “apostolic succession.”

  • MAJeff

    Shorter Catholic Bishops: Requiring us to provide services to all of a state’s eligible citizens in order to get money from the state violates our right to unrestricted state money.

    • Holden Pattern

      This is a direct corollary to the conversation in the other post about whether or not the feds can impose conditions on states who receive federal grants.

      It appears that there is a significant group of people in the country who want their money for nothing and their chicks (or altar boys, as applicable) for free. Contra the popular belief, that group of people ain’t liberals.

    • Tom M

      Right and not getting state funds is making it hard for them to deliver their “services”. Maybe if they didn’t spend so much on settlements they would have their parishioners’ money available.
      Oh, right…homos!

  • Simon

    An important correction, Erik. The bishops are fighting for the “religious liberty” to receive state funding for restricting the rights of gays and women.

    • Doesn’t that make your outrage over this massive oppression of religion in this country grow even stronger? Pretty soon, they are going to tell me I can’t restrict Jews from my housing development!

  • efgoldman

    As an American, and more, as a Liberal-American, I’d like to give everyone a shot….
    And I understand there are zillions of good, loving, considerate Catholics who consider many of the bishops, properly, to be nasty, evil, lying sacks of shit.
    But this? Adopting the tactics of the worst of the fundie right?
    Jesus. What’s next? White hoods to go with mitres and cassocks? Inquisitors? Iron maidens for planned parenthood?
    And of course, this bullshit feeds directly into the violence always brewing in the right wing lizard brain.
    Can’t wait what Pierce has to say about it.

  • commie atheist

    Goddamn these people make my blood boil. Get your own moral house in order first, and then come moralizing to the rest of us, you fucking child-molester-enabling fucks.

    Archbishop Dolan also came prepared to answer questions about the sexual-abuse scandal at Penn State University, which has reminded so many observers of the Catholic Church’s own abuse scandal. He said that the accusations against a former university football coach were a reminder that sexual abuse is a universal problem that affects most institutions.”

    Yes, but most institutions don’t spend decades trying to cover it up and evade responsibility, and then hire assholdes like this fuck to blame the victims on TV. Although in this case the comparison to Penn State may be more apt than Archbishop Dogshit realizes.

    “Every time that once again takes over the headlines we once again bow our heads in shame,” the archbishop said. “We know what you’re going through, and you can count on our prayers.”

    Oh, go fuck yourself, you sanctimonious asshole.

    • Simon

      What is so brilliantly revealing about that quote is that the bishops aren’t sympathetically identifying with the suffering of the child victims, but with the abusers facing the consequences.

      • Karate Bearfighter

        To be fair, I think their sympathies are less with the abusers, and more with the morally bankrupt administrators who are finally facing legal consequences for participating in a decades-long coverup.

        • BigHank53

          I wasn’t aware that any bishops had sympathies whatsoever, as they lack the required organs to feel them. Did one of the transplants take?

      • Jay C

        I think that on this particular aspect of official and/or clerical malfeasance, one Mr. Timothy Minchin has written and animated a short composition which expresses the appropriate sentiments for the occasion….

    • djw

      What the hell is wrong with me that after all these years, I can still be shocked by the grotesque depravity of Bill Donahue? Christ.

  • DrDick

    Come on now, Erik. Everybody knows that Christians and conservatives, especially conservative Christians, are absolutely the most persecuted people on earth. Not getting to use tax payer money to discriminate is worse than the Holocaust!

    • Hey now, let’s not forget the overwhelming oppression that all white males face!

    • Tybalt

      You are forgetting all about those who earn more than $400K per year. Typical; not only are they the most oppressed, they are the forgotten ones.

  • cpinva

    oh my, what transparent rubbish. “we are being oppressed for our religious beliefs, by not being allowed to use other people’s money to discriminate against anyone we don’t like!’

    tragedy hurls itself willingly onto the shoals of farce. of course, no is “forcing” the catholic church to do, or not do, anything in violation of their canon, they just aren’t going to be allowed to do it with tax dollars. clearly, the authors of the first amendment hated the catholic church!

  • dilbert dogbert

    It is interesting to hear that the catholic church and the scientologists are on the same team. Religious Freedom has been a scientologist sound byte for quite a while.

    • DrDick

      The last resort of (religious) scoundrels everywhere.

      • MAJeff

        As both examples demonstrate, it’s particularly the last resort of money-grubbing religious scoundrels.

        • cpinva

          true, but you must admit that the vatican is a lot classier than those gauche mansions built by televangelists.

          • MAJeff

            I dunno, Papal Pradas are pretty tacky.

            • burritoboy

              Hey, at least that gave Michelangelo and Bernini some work. Can’t say that about everything, you know.

        • DrDick

          I think that statement is redundant.

  • cpinva

    if you think about it, this is merely a version of the “wife abuser as victim” defense, “she forced me to beat the shit out of her, i didn’t want to!”

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