Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Third Rail of Blogging

The GOP was swept into power in the House and many state houses across the country in November in a historically predictable pendulum swing, but they campaigned for this power in part by downplaying social issues.  "It's jobs, jobs, jobs", we were told.  The culture war will have to wait while we get our fiscal house in order.  Translation: "We're not that scary, Mr. Independent Voter."  We Americans believe in a good redemption story, though, and we gave the GOP, undeserving though they may be, another turn at bat. 

Now being led by the bronze man with the oversized gavel, we loyal Americans have waited patiently for the jobs legislation.  While we wait, we are being treated to a parade of bills that do not help the economy in any way, but pander to the far Right base. The House GOP has pushed the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" (which the Hyde Amendment already does, and has for years), the "Protect Life Act," and a plan to raise business taxes over their private insurance plans that might cover abortions.  So much for the aversion to  government meddling in private health insurance.

The battle continues in the states.  In South Dakota, a state bill to expand the definition of justifiable homicide to include killing someone in the defense of an unborn child was postponed indefinitely Wednesday after an uproar over whether the legislation would put abortion providers at greater risk.  Yes, that's right.  A Republican lawmaker proposed a law that would make the murder of someone who assisted, or was not actively trying to stop, an abortion legal in that state.  Pro-life my ass. 

I do not favor abortion, but I do favor the GOP doing what they said they'd do, and not spend their first 6 weeks obsessing over a controversial issue that they would not touch during the campaign.  If they felt that strongly and planned to introduce all these bills, fine.  Tell us before we vote.  Make it a part of your Pledge to America, and prioritize it as Task #1.  I think that's only fair.

I post this summary of a New York Times article by Nicholas Kristof, posted in The Week, and I post it without further comment.  I have no comment because regardless of your feelings on this topic, it makes you stop and think.  It sure made Sister Margaret think:

What would Jesus do? It’s too bad Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix didn’t ask himself that question, said Nicholas Kristof, before stripping St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix of its affiliation with the Catholic diocese. “The hospital’s offense? It had terminated a pregnancy to save the life of the mother,” who had severe pulmonary hypertension and would have died, leaving her four other children without a mom.

Seeking to “bully the hospital into submission,” the bishop excommunicated a nun, Sister Margaret McBride, a hospital ethicist who had approved this single exception to the no-abortion policy. But in an act of defiance that should chill the Vatican’s soul, the hospital ignored the bishop and still employs McBride. And the Catholic Health Association, a network of Catholic hospitals around the country, has chosen to stand behind St. Joseph’s.

This could be a critical turning point. As bishops obsessed with “dogma, sanctity, rules, and the punishment of sinners” harden their positions, Catholics are beginning to go their own way—openly. McBride has spent decades serving “the neediest and sickest among us.” There’s little doubt about who is the “Christ-like figure” in this story.

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