Tuesday, November 17, 2009

U.S. Catholic Bishops Stand Up?

U.S. Catholic bishops are defending their direct involvement in congressional deliberations over health-care reform, saying that church leaders have a duty to raise moral concerns on any issue, including abortion rights and health care for the poor. Do you agree? What role should religious leaders have -- or not have -- in government policymaking?

U.S. Catholic Bishops Stand Up in Health-Care Debate?

U.S. Catholic bishops are not alone in their involvement with the health-care reform debate. Many religious leaders, particularly on the right have gotten involved specifically because of the issue of abortion. Interestingly, the conservative proposal I heard gave certain instances where abortion would be acceptable in the health-care package. One of them was in the case of rape. Rape is a horrible, violent crime with terrible repercussions. I wish to be sensitive to that. Yet, is not the child conceived in rape as viable as any little one in an average abortion situation? Isn’t there life present in both cases? So why would the right argue that a woman’s feelings matter in the case of rape, but not in other tough situations? Why is it okay to end the new life in the rape situation, but not in other cases? Tough questions!

It is important that the Catholic bishops be involved. They represent millions of Catholics in the United States and should make their voice heard. In doing so, they should not limit their voice to the section on abortion. It would equally be sinful if they defeated the abortion piece, just to see the entire health care bill defeated. If the bishops are going to put their toes in the water, they must swim the health-care debate out with the rest of us. In the end, the biggest crime is that 40 million people in this country are not covered by health insurance. That must be remedied. Those of us on the left are not exonerated. We must also contact our senators to see that some form of health-care passes before Christmas.

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