Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Media silence and the Catholic controversy

Brent Bozell of NewsBusters smacks the national media for ignoring the Obama administration's much-criticized insurance mandate on Catholic institutions. He writes:
The bishops have protested with an outrage louder than this Catholic has ever heard. For weeks now, the Catholic faithful have heard priests and their bishops pronounce from the pulpit that the Obama administration cannot be obeyed on this intrusive mandate. “We cannot – and will not – comply with this unjust law,” protested Virginia bishops Paul Loverde and Francis DiLorenzo in a letter read in churches on February 5. The Catholic Church is under attack, and it’s sounding like it’s ready for civil disobedience. [...]

Team Obama’s hostility went even further. On February 3, it was revealed the Army’s Office of the Chief of Chaplains sent an e-mail to senior Army chaplains advising them not to read Archbishop Timothy Broglio’s hard-hitting letter from the pulpit. In the letter, Broglio insisted "It is a blow to a freedom that you have fought to defend and for which you have seen your buddies fall in battle."

John McHugh, Obama’s Secretary of the Army, agreed before Sunday masses that it was a mistake to stop the reading of the Archbishop’s letter, but the line “We cannot — we will not — comply with this unjust law” was removed at McHugh’s suggestion. [...]

The Obama administration’s hostility to religious liberty isn’t limited to Catholics. Last fall, the Department of Justice filed a brief at the Supreme Court against a Lutheran school’s attempt to fire a teacher. Cheryl Perich had sued under the Americans with Disabilities Act, but the Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church said Perich violated church tenets by bringing her grievance to the federal government rather than appealing to the church to win reinstatement.

Ed Whelan of National Review declared DOJ’s position was “even more hostile” to the Lutherans “than the amicus brief filed by Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the ACLU.”

On January 11, the Supreme Court ruled 9-0 in favor of the Lutherans.
The bottom line:
Journalists claim to be zealots for the First Amendment. But when it comes to the state ordering around the Catholic church – from banning the reading of bishops’ letters and then “compromising” by censoring sentences – sounds like they'd be comfortable with some kind of Potemkin Catholic Church akin to the one in communist China – an official church that bows to the state.
Bozell was directing his ire at the likes of the television networks and the New York Times, but of course they're not the only ones who have been silent about the Catholic controversy. Heck, if I had a local news outlet, I would, I don't know, maybe contact the local Catholic hospital and Catholic schools to see how this new HHS policy would affect them (or how they would work around it), find out whether local priests read letters from the bishop from their pulpits (which they did at my dad's church), and generally try to gauge how people within my audience felt about what is quickly becoming one of the defining issues of this election year. That is, if I were truly curious.

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