Monday, May 28, 2012

All the Illogic That's Fit to Print

Let's try this one more time for the logicians at the New York Times editorial page:

On Sunday, the Times attacked Catholic dioceses and organizations for commencing lawsuits to the challenge the unconstitutional restriction on religious liberty embodied in the Obamacare contraception/abortafacient insurance coverage mandate.

The Times describes the legal action as "a pure partisan play. The real threat to religious liberty comes from the effort to impose one church's doctrine on everyone" (My emphasis).

Now let us attempt to look at this statement as a matter of logic and language as it might be explained to a fifth grade class.

The Catholic Church runs an organization--say a hospital. It employs people to work at the hospital in all sorts of jobs. The hospital offers the jobs, each with a certain description and level of responsibility. The hospital also sets the pay level for the jobs it offers, as well as the benefits provided to those who fill those positions.

Perhaps the hospital pays certain people more than others based upon seniority or job responsibility level. It may offer a health plan that provides insurance coverage for some services, but not others. Perhaps the plan offers dental insurance, but not coverage for eyeglasses. Perhaps there are co-payments for some kinds of doctor visits, but not others.

The hospital, of course, makes these decisions based upon the labor market for particular jobs, its economic interests and financial abilities, as well as a host of other concerns the institution may have from time to time.

A person who wishes to work for the hospital will accept the pay and benefits package, or perhaps try to negotiate better terms. If the hospital and the prospective employee cannot agree on terms of responsibility, hours, pay and benefits, the prospective employee will not take the job--he will try to work elsewhere.

This is the way in which things called private businesses and private labor markets generally function. As a rule, not every citizen in the country works for the same private business, so, as a rule, pay and benefit packages vary based upon the employer for whom one works and the kind of job one holds.

Now these circumstances were considered pedestrian--the basic way in which a market economy functions--until a few months ago when Mr. Government Official discovered that certain forms of insurance were deeply unjust.

Government Official, who knows what is fair and right for the entire society, meets the private business that is the Catholic hospital. Government Official doesn't like the hospital's health plan--you see, Government Official says that the people working for the hospital, through their own free will, must have a different health plan--one that Government Official says is superior.

But, protests the hospital, we don't cover eyeglasses because it's too expensive. "Too bad!" commands Government Official. "I know what's best for all of society. And the right to eyeglass insurance coverage is a basic right. Stop trying to impose your anti-eyeglass prejudice on everyone else."

But, protests the hospital, we don't cover contraception or drugs that cause abortions because we morally object to such products. "Stop imposing your morality on everyone else," says Government Official, echoed by his enablers at the Times. "We told you everyone has to have the same plan according to our command. If you refuse us, you are imposing your morality on society because you will not allow us to impose our morality on you! Get it?"

So there you have it. By objecting to a blanket fiat of the government, imposed upon all employers, the Catholic hospital is imposing its "doctrine" on others, including those person who freely work from the hospital in return for agreed-upon compensation. 

This opinion is truly pitiable, born of such completely corrupted logic, Orwellian language abuse and barely-latent distaste for Catholicism that, in truth, it makes basic dialogue with the Times and its fellow Leftists nearly impossible. One can merely observe that this intellectual bankruptcy is the inevitable result of an investment in the defense of the indefensible.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Georgetown, You Broke my Heart

Of all the controversial invitations from Catholic universities to speakers and honorees in recent years, none has ever been more outrageous, upsetting and mired in rank hypocrisy than Georgetown's invitation to Kathleen Sebelius to participate in part of its commencement exercises this coming Friday.

At the moment, the bishops of the Church in America are engaged in their most significant public political battle in memory. The episcopacy has rightly refused to accept the intrusion into the prerogatives of the Church and the attack on general religious liberty embodied in the Obamacare-based mandate that requires Catholic institutions to provide to their employees health insurance covering birth control and abortion-inducing drugs, free of charge, in contravention of the Church's teachings and moral precepts.

The author of the mandate is, of course, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Now, as the leadership of the Church girds for an unprecedented legal and political fight, the nation's oldest Catholic university gives a place of honor to the very person who is legally responsible for the policy to which the Church's authentic teachers of faith and morals have so vociferously objected.

This is not to say that everyone who works or studies at Georgetown is compelled to accept the bishops' position or to oppose Obamacare. It is to say, however, that, as a Catholic institution, Georgetown is morally bound to show a modicum of solidarity with the episcopal leadership, morally bound to show some minimal deference to the position of the Church's leaders on an issue so critical to them. In order to show such solidarity and deference, Georgetown needed only avoid making  an egregious frontal assault--is it so hard simply not to invite Kathleen Sebelius to campus?

The invitation to Sebelius was a deliberate provocation. It manifests a deep lack of respect for the Church and a sensational lack of humility.

Moreover, there are few persons in this country less worthy of celebration by a Catholic institution than Kathleen Sebelius. The cornerstone of her public life has been the promotion of abortion on demand, an act that the Church teaches is evil, a mortal sin. As governor of Kansas, she was a patron and protector of the notorious Dr. George Tiller, a man committed to the barbaric practice of late-term abortion. No one is closer or more committed to the agenda of Planned Parenthood and the abortion lobby than Sebelius. "Abortion rights" is the issue that defines her.

And here is where the hypocrisy of Georgetown becomes so appalling. When Congressman Paul Ryan visited the campus several weeks ago to speak about his proposed federal budget, there was bedlam. Students protested his mere appearance (he was not honored). Ninety faculty members condemned Ryan's budget as an affront to Catholic social teaching because of the supposedly draconian cuts to the welfare state Ryan allegedly proposes. Father Thomas Reese, SJ decried Ryan's plan as contrary to the Gospel itself.

Last I checked, the right to be born forms a critical component of Catholic social teaching. Yet now, according to reports, only nine of Georgetown's 1,500 faculty members, and only three of the 55 Jesuits on campus, have uttered a peep in protest of the Sebelius invitation. Apparently, Fr. Reese believes Medicaid block grants are a sin; late-term abortion seems less of a concern.

Outside of my family, perhaps no group has influenced my life more than the Society of Jesus. My encounter with the Society in high school literally changed my life; through the Grace of God, the Jesuits gave me my faith. I've always had disagreements with members of the Society, but I have always loved it, too, for its history, mission and its affect on my personal life. My oldest child's middle name is Ignatius in homage to the Society and its founder.

And so it breaks my heart to see the Society of Jesus standby by while one of its most ancient American foundations commits this grave error. Tonight, as we prepare to celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord and then Pentecost, I pray for the Society of Jesus and its sons.

"Lord, send down your Spirit and renew the face of the Earth!"

Sunday, May 6, 2012

We Should Summarily Execute KSM

Nearly 11 years after the September 11th attacks, the man who planned and oversaw the murder of 3,000 people on American soil has come to trial. The first day of the proceedings, the arraignment of Kahlid Sheikh Mohammed and his co-terrorists, ran from 9:23 am well into the night and was marred by the antics of the terrorists and their attorneys, one of whom appeared in a burka and demanded that the other women in the courtroom dress in similar fashion in deference to the religious sensibilities of the murders.

And so more than a decade after the 9/11 attacks, we continue to allow these evil men to inflict pain on the families of the victims and the nation at large--to mock the very system of justice that we extend to them.

To what end? In a usual criminal matter, the accused has the option to enter a plea of not guilty and demand a trial or enter a guilt plea and face sentence. In June 2008, KSM admitted his guilt and asked to enter a plea accordingly. He wanted to be "martyred." Again in December 2008, KSM asked for a hearing so that he could announce his glorious guilt to the world.

So KSM is a confessed terrorists and war criminal who wished to plead guilt. Ergo, justice does not demand that we treat him to any further form of "due process". He has no regard for, or interest in, our justice process, nor are there any material issues in dispute that require a trial to resolve.

"The Court hereby deems your earlier plea as accepted and shall now pass sentence. The sentence of the court is that you be taken hence to the gallows and hanged from the neck until dead. May God have mercy on your soul. Next case." 

One of the great disgraces of the present era has been the political madness that infected the way in which we handle intelligence gathering and the administration of justice in the War on Terror. It is ironic that the KSM trial commences immediately following President Obama's obscene self-congratulatory victory tour on the anniversary of the death of Osama Bin Laden.

After all, the president is a man who, in large measure, built his political career by denouncing Guantanamo Bay as evil and accusing his own country of "torturing" terror suspects. As president, his very first act was to announce the closure of Gitmo, followed on by his plan to try KSM in federal court in Manhattan and his proclamation that American does not "torture" on his watch. When he couldn't pull off the civilian trial, he needlessly delayed the military commission action against KSM. 

Obama also permitted the Justice Department to conduct a witch-hunt against government lawyers and CIA operatives who had allegedly sanctioned and participated in torture--even after earlier investigations had cleared all suspects. And on and on.

It turns out that only three men were ever waterboarded, and then only briefly under highly controlled circumstances. It turns out that the intelligence gathered from these men, and others subjected to the enhanced interrogation techniques, contributed mightily to our finding Bin Laden so that Obama could give the order to kill him and then parade his head on a pike.

But now we must endure the final insult of KSM and his fellow madmen abusing and twisting "due process", mocking the Court, the victims' families and the nation. This charade could drag on, literally, for years.

In mid-June 1942, eight Nazi spies entered the United States by sneaking ashore on Long Island and in Florida. By June 27th, all eight had been arrest. They were tried before a military commission appointed by President Roosevelt between July 8 and August 4, 1942; all were condemned to death. The president commuted the sentences of two men; the other six were executed on August 8th, four days after their convictions.

President Obama fancies himself a new FDR; as such, he ought to follow his predeccesor's penchant for the swift administration of justice to war criminals and murders.