Catholic Church Rejects
Surrender Terms from Obama
My Catholic priest, Father Larry Swink, delivered a homily on Sunday that I told him would make headlines. In the toughest sermon I have ever heard from a pulpit, he attacked the Obama Administration as evil, even demonic, and warned of religious persecution ahead. What was also newsworthy about the sermon was that he cited The Washington Post in agreement—not on the subject of the Obama Administration being evil, but on the matter of its abridgment of the constitutional right to freedom of religion.
What is happening is extraordinary and unprecedented. The Catholic Church is in open revolt against the Obama Administration, with Fr. Swink noting from the pulpit that priests across the archdiocese were joining the call on Sunday to rally Catholics to resistance against the U.S. Government. He said we are entering a time of religious persecution and that Catholics and others will have to make a final decision about which side they are on.
The issue is what the Catholic Bishops have called a “literally unconscionable” edict by the Obama Administration demanding that sterilization, abortifacients and contraception be included in virtually all health plans.
At a time when the media are full of reports about who is ahead and behind in the polls, and who will win the next Republican presidential primary, this incredible uprising in the Catholic Church is something that could not only overshadow the political campaign season, but also may have a major impact on the ultimate outcome – if Republicans know how to handle it. This matter goes beyond partisan politics to the growing perception of an unconstitutional Obama Administration assault on religious freedom. To hear the Catholic Bishops and Priests describe it, our constitutional republic and our freedoms hang in the balance.
The administration claims there is a religious exemption in the mandate, but the bishops say it is so narrow that it fails to cover the vast majority of faith-based organizations, including Catholic hospitals, universities and service organizations that help millions every year. “Ironically,” they say, “not even Jesus & his disciples would have qualified.”
The bishops go on, “Now that the Administration has refused to recognize the Constitutional conscience rights of organizations and individuals who oppose the mandate, the bishops are now urging Catholics and others of good will to fight this unprecedented attack on conscience rights and religious liberty.”
Obama is at war with the Catholic Church
Interestingly, The Washington Post, as Father Swink indicated, agrees with the bishops. The paper said, “In this circumstance, requiring a religiously affiliated employer to spend its own money in a way that violates its religious principles does not make an adequate accommodation for those deeply held views. Having recognized the principle of a religious exemption, the administration should have expanded it.”
So why would the administration pick a major fight with the Catholic Church? There are two main reasons. (1) The administration wants to please its progressive and feminist, secular pro-abortion base. (2) The administration believes Catholics are divided on the issue and will ignore their leaders and follow Obama.
Support for the latter explanation comes in the form of the Obama Administration’s efforts to co-opt the Catholic Church, primarily through appointing nominal Catholics to high-level positions in government and keeping funding going to the church for “social justice” causes. Another player in this effort is the hedge-fund billionaire George Soros, an atheist who nevertheless has found groups that are “Catholic in name only” to accept his financial largesse. These groups, including Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, are designed to give the impression that Catholics are less concerned about issues like stopping abortion and protecting the sanctity of traditional marriage than passing government health care. The Obama/Soros gamble may be backfiring.
It’s true that the bishops went along with Obama’s health care scheme, even lobbying on its behalf. But now they seem to be realizing that the plan was a Trojan Horse designed to force population control measures on the people of the United States. It will be difficult for the bishops to continue working with the administration on other issues, like immigration. They have drawn a line in the sand. They cannot back down.
Father Larry Swink of Jesus The Divine Word Catholic Church in Huntingtown, Maryland, is not alone in his tough language. Pittsburgh Bishop David A. Zubik posted a letter on the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh’s website that said, “It is really hard to believe that it happened. It comes like a slap in the face. The Obama administration has just told the Catholics of the United States, ‘To Hell with you!’ There is no other way to put it.” He added, “This whole process of mandating these guidelines undermines the democratic process itself. In this instance, the mandate declares pregnancy a disease, forces a culture of contraception and abortion on society, all while completely bypassing the legislative process.”
You know it’s serious when the bishops are talking about heaven and hell.
Indeed, Fr. Swink opened his discussion of what he described as the evil nature of the Obama Administration by reading from scripture about Jesus casting out demons. He saw the order on health care coverage as the start of religious persecution. The congregation joined him in calls of “Amen” when he challenged them to stand tall with the church.
You cannot expect the secular Washington Post to go along with such rhetoric. But even its liberal editorial writer saw the ramifications of the health care order, perhaps anticipating the confrontation that we now see developing. From the point of view of this liberal paper, the Obama Administration is not only undermining religious freedom but risking a major backlash to its overall “progressive” agenda and even a second term in office.
Some may see this battle as just another church-state dust-up that will be resolved through litigation. But when apocalyptic imagery is used, such as what I heard at my church on Sunday, one must wonder if there is an awakening on the part of the Catholic community and if there is something else going on here besides politics as usual. In short, is the Catholic Church beginning to finally recognize the real nature of the Obama Administration?
|IMPORTANT BACKGROUND INFORMATION:|
Atheist Soros Funds Catholic Groups
By Cliff Kincaid
The critical role of the Catholic Church in passing national health care reform legislation is coming under serious media scrutiny. But the story has taken a strange turn. It has now been revealed that George Soros, the billionaire hedge fund operator and well-known atheist, has been pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into “progressive” Catholic groups that are significant players in the national debates over health care and immigration.
On the surface, it would appear that Soros would be opposed to many positions of the Catholic Church. A major financial backer of the ACLU, Soros supports such causes as drug legalization, the rights of “sex workers” and felons, euthanasia, radical feminism, abortion rights, and homosexual rights. He does all of this in the name of promoting an “open society.”
But a review of the records of his Open Society Institute finds that a group calling itself Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good (CACG) has received $200,000 over the last several years.
James Todd of the Pewsitter.com web site, which represents traditional Catholics, calls such groups “CINOs,” or Catholics In Name Only. He explains, “This group and several others have sprung up recently — I suspect purposely organized and funded — to counterbalance the growing influence of the faithful Catholics AND to try to deceive and mislead the middle of the road Catholics that have determined the last 13 Presidential elections.”
An investigation also finds, however, that Soros money has gone into the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC), an organization established by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops back in 1988. It has received at least $530,000 from the Open Society Institute.
The two issues merge in the fact that the Catholic Bishops are demanding that national health care legislation cover illegal aliens.
In a story headlined, “Religious Leaders Seek Healthcare for Illegal Immigrants,” the Los Angeles Times recently quoted Kathy Saile, director of domestic social development with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, as saying that illegal immigrants should be included in any healthcare reform plan. Father Richard Estrada of Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church in Los Angeles was described as being part of a religious service and phone bank “to urge congressional leaders to include illegal immigrants in any healthcare reform plan.” His church has in the past offered sanctuary to illegal immigrants.
CACG played a role in House passage of H.R. 3962, the bill known as Pelosicare and boasts that it had joined with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Catholic Health Association, and “dozens of other Catholic and faith-based groups in celebrating this historic vote.”
The group’s blog even offered a “Health Care Reform Prayer,” asking for God’s help in passing federal legislation.
John Gehring, CACG media director, said that, “We have been primarily focused on highlighting the moral dimensions of this issue and articulating how Catholic social teaching addresses health care as a human right central to a just society. Along with other faith-based groups like PICO National Network, Faith in Public Life, Sojourners and others we brought citizens and faith leaders to Capitol Hill several weeks ago to meet with representatives and they emphasized the urgency for reform and specifically the critical issue of affordability. For example, Fr. Joseph Shad, S.J., a hospital chaplain at Mercy Hospital in Portland, Maine, came to Capitol Hill and met with representatives. He shared stories we have collected from citizens across the country as part of our project, Voices for Health Reform.”
On the passage of the Affordable Health Care for America Act, H.R. 3962, CACG said, “As Catholics, we applaud the efforts of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Bart Stupak, and others who helped extend current restrictions on federal funding of abortion to health plans participating in the public [health] exchanges.”
But Judie Brown of the American Life League says the provision doesn’t go far enough and accuses the Bishops who lobbied for passage of wanting “mandatory, government-run health care for one and all more than it desires the protection of all vulnerable human beings’ right to life.”
The anti-abortion restrictions, Brown points out, still permit federal funding of abortions in some circumstances.
Meanwhile, Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute says that “Catholics should be outraged at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops” because while they succeeded in getting a pro-abortion provision dropped from the bill, they “abandoned the Church’s doctrine of subsidiarity by endorsing the rest of the Democrats’ plan to centralize power in Washington.” Cannon says his grandfather served as counsel to the Bishops.
But the Soros-funded Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good has high-level connections of its own. The Treasurer-Secretary is Francis Xavier Doyle, a former top official of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the Executive director is Victoria Kovari, a former organizer for the Gamaliel Foundation, the same group that helped launch Barack Obama’s career as a community organizer in Chicago. The chairman is Alfred M. Rotondaro, a senior fellow at another Soros-funded group, the Center for American Progress.
Although CACG describes itself as “a lay Catholic organization that works to promote the common good and the broad spectrum of Catholic social teaching,”Frank Walker of the conservative Pewsitter website labels it a religious and political Trojan Horse designed to mislead Catholics and produce votes for the Democratic Party.
One purpose of the Soros money, Walker says, is to play down the importance of the issue of abortion to Catholics and even make abortion rights a “respectable” Catholic position.
Walker notes that, “The CACG is run and advised by powerful Democrats. Their board, staff, and advisory committee include top fundraisers and strategists as well as major labor union representation.” He adds, “Catholic Church Leadership from the Sisters of Mercy, the Jesuit order, the government-funded Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief Services are also represented at CACG. Catholic academia has a strong presence.”
Indeed, the CACG advisory council includes figures from the Service Employees Union (SEIU), AFL-CIO, Catholic University of America, Georgetown University, and Boston College.
In addition to health care reform, other big issues for CACG are “immigration reform” and “worker justice.” The latter links to a group promoting a bill, the Employee Free Choice Act, which would make it easier for unions to gain members.
The SEIU representative on the CACG board is Tom Chabolla, who serves as assistant to SEIU President Andy Stern. Before joining SEIU, he was associate director of programs for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), the agency of the Bishops that funded ACORN to the tune of $7.3 million over the last decade. Funding of ACORN – but not to groups like Gamaliel – has been suspended by the Bishops.
Gamaliel says on its website that says, “Barack H. Obama, former Gamaliel organizer, is the 44th president of the United States,” and that this makes the organizing community proud. It also has a story about Obama friend and White House adviser Valerie Jarrett speaking to a Gamaliel event in Washington, D.C. of 2500 activists. Jarrett is the official who said that “we” had recruited communist Van Jones to the White House. Another speaker was Melody Barnes, Obama’s Director of the Domestic Policy Council.
Before coming to the White House, Barnes was the executive vice president for Policy at the Soros-funded Center for American Progress (CAP). Van Jones also worked at CAP before going to the White House. CAP CEO and President John Podesta, who served as President Clinton’s chief of staff, is a major “progressive Catholic” and member of the ACORN advisory council who served as a professor at Georgetown University.
Interestingly, Tom Chabolla of the SEIU and formerly of the CCHD was on the dinner committee for the 33rd Annual Hubert H. Humphrey Civil Rights Award Dinner, which was held on May 7, 2009 in Washington, D.C.
One of the award winners was none other than Van Jones.
On Saturday, November 21 and Sunday, November 22, Catholics across the country will be asked to support the CCHD with their financial offerings. Gamaliel is appealing for support, saying that it is “under attack from those with a partisan agenda to de-fund groups committed to organizing for social justice.” It says. “Many Gamaliel Foundation affiliates rely on funding from CCHD to serve their communities.”
But Gamaliel also relies on George Soros. His Open Society Institute provided $300,000 to the organization in 2008.