Much strum und drang lately in the opinion pages of this newspaper about the contraceptive issue. Letters from Bryan J. Sebeck, Jim Andersen, and Mr. Don Curran commenting on and about the Feb. 17 op-ed. by the congressman, Dan Benishek. Both Bryan J. Sebeck and Jim Andersen are correct about the 500 word limit to "interpret" (key word) this complex issue.
An accommodation was made by the editors of this newspaper for Bishop Alexander K. Sample of the Catholic Diocese of Marquette to write a March 14 op-ed. I do not quibble with the bishop's right to write this article, as a citizen or even with his position as a high ranking member of his church, or this newspaper publishing the article. I would only hope to see an alternative view in the same venue. The bishop has a large megaphone and bully pulpit within his own organization to council and advice, members of his own flock. I am wondering if this article is more of a political appeal to the Protestant Evangelical folks, many who want to see this health care bill to fail in its entirety?
The bishop wants a variance for his church's view on reproductive rights. If we extrapolate this a bit, we would find religions that do not believe in blood transfusions, religion's that have an aversion to pork products and may not want to porcine parts used in a surgical procedure, religions that only believe in faith alone, etc. etc. Should these interests also be accommodated and given a carve out in the health care bill?
The bishop surrounds himself with boiler plate, as he talks of the good the church has done, their many struggles, the great and noble people within the church, etc. etc. I believe this all to be true, and I admire and salute them for this.
I personally would like to see the bishops get back to their "economic justice for all" position, which they were in the forefront for decades and thought was a most noble cause. I am in disagreement with the bishop about the "red herring" argument, as a large percentage of Catholics, have and do use contraceptives, and will do so in the future.
The slippery slope that I am concerned about is that the start of health care coverage for all may just slip slide away.
The same day the bishop's op-ed. appeared, on page 1 above the fold, a sad and tragic story was presented of abuse of an infant by the mother. It would seem (at least to me) that contraceptives might have been a less tragic outcome than the one that unfolded. I have many causes that I help fund as best I can, some are environmental, some are political, but most are where I see real human needs. I have about 15 of these both nationally and locally.
As I send this letter to the press, it will be accompanied by another letter with a generous donation to Planned Parenthood for the first time.