Newt Gingrich does not speak for me.
If I heard correctly the other night, the presidential candidate accused the Obama administration of a war against Catholicism.
To my knowledge, he didn’t say how many Catholics were killed in the “war.” I suspect it was considerably less than the 1980s wars financed by US taxpayers against Latin America Catholics, more than a quarter of a million of whom were murdered in that war.
Apparently, some Catholic bishops are complaining that people who work for Catholic hospitals and other Catholic agencies have the option of buying private health insurance plans that help pay for contraception.
Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but to my knowledge the president is not requiring Catholics to use condoms and birth control pills whenever they have sex. Nor is he requiring St. Benedict’s Church to offer condoms and birth control pills to its employees. Nor is St. Benedict’s required to offer insurance covering condoms and birth control pills. Last I looked, the president wants employees of places like Catholic Social Services and Providence Hospital to be allowed to buy insurance that pays for condoms and birth control pills.
If so, that sounds like a reasonable compromise in a pluralistic society. That old saying, “Your freedom ends at the tip of my nose,” has some relevance here, I think. You should be free to do what you want but not if what you want is to take away my freedom. The government should not force Providence Hospital to buy contraceptives for its employees. But the employer should not stop non-Catholic workers from buying their own contraceptives.
The Catholic bishops may have a case that some Catholics may be forced to do things that violate their consciences. I won’t argue with people about their consciences. They know their consciences better than I do.
But I have some news for such Catholic bishops. You’re not the only Catholics forced by the government to violate their consciences. My conscience has been violated for the past 32 years, ever since I found out that the government used the money it confiscated from me to finance the murders of hundreds of thousands of my fellow Catholics. For the past ten years, I have been forced to finance wars that violate the Fifth Commandment. These wars fail to meet the moral standards of the just war doctrine, which requires, among other things, that the attack by the other side be certain.
Calling this political fustercluck over contraceptives a “war” insults the hundreds of thousands of Catholics and Muslims killed in frivolous wars we Catholic and Muslim Americans have been forced to finance against our consciences.
Condoms don’t kill people. Wars kill people. Falling short of completely accommodating Catholics who oppose birth control is not war. Aborting innocent babies by dropping bombs on pregnant women in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Palestine—that’s war—not the metaphorical kind, but the real thing.