Wednesday, January 8, 2014

An Update For The Last Acceptable Prejudice

This new op-ed in US News and World Reports is a doozy. In a nutshell, the author claims that Justice Sotomayor's granting a stay for the Little Sisters of the Poor in their HHS mandate lawsuit is the result of a brewing conspiracy on the majority-Catholic Supreme Court to destroy women's rights.

No, really. That's the substance of the piece.

For a moment, let's ignore the fact that the author clearly has no grasp of the legal claims involved or that the Supreme Court has been at least nominally majority Catholic for a while now, certainly before Justice Sotomayor's appointment.

Let's just reflect on the audacity of being able to write such an article.

Over the last decade, we've seen an increasing hostility to Catholic views in public life. It seems to get raised as an issue more and more and was very much at the heart of the Obama campaign's insertion of contraception into the last political debate and the subsequent arguments over Obamacare.

Here's a little prediction for everyone. We know that public mentality is very much one of "Give me contraception or give me death." If the Supreme Court overrules the HHS mandate, which it very well might (or might not), the "War on Women" rhetoric will explode and be laid directly at the doorstep of the Catholic Church. We're going to see anti-Catholicism preached freely from Sunday morning pundits. There will be calls for an official litmus test. It's just one more Constitutional protection to be ignored, so that's not going to be a big deal.

Anyways, nobody is going to care, which will probably allow for an increase in the hostility. The comment box on the op-ed has a lot of people saying nice things, but that happened with the HHS mandate too. Which was forgotten the minute people couldn't log on to a web site to buy health insurance. Even Sotomayor's stay hasn't really been big news.

The Uncle Tom Catholics will be welcomed as the "right" Catholics for whatever job is open. Pope Francis will be invoked as being on the side of the Uncle Toms and being in favor of Catholic institutions caving on this issue. This will be a lie, of course, but that will be par for the course as far as papal coverage has been going.

What the final stop for this will be, I don't know. Just look forward to a lot more venom in the public discourse about the Church.

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