The Never Ending Culture Wars

While Washington’s fiscal and debt crisis, the stock market collapse, and the European financial meltdown have been dominating newspaper headlines, buried in the back pages has been coverage of the latest battles in the Culture War – battles Catholics are losing.

Catholics suffered a major defeat when New York’s Republican-controlled Senate passed the same-sex marriage act. Although New York’s Roman Catholic Metropolitan, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, and his fellow bishops went on the offensive and worked the halls of the Capital in Albany, their arguments fell on deaf ears. Unfortunately, the office of Archbishop of New York no longer possesses the public sway it once had. Pols no longer call the Archbishop’s Madison Avenue residence the “power house” as they did in the days of Francis Cardinal Spellman.

Most troubling is the fact that the GOP State Senators responsible for putting the measure over the top were baptized Catholics. These legislators, who swore to their constituents they would oppose same-sex marriage legislation to their dying day, sold out. They accepted bags of silver from Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his wealthy hedge fund cronies in exchange for their “yes” votes.

Although these traitors claim the final legislation signed into law protects the religious rite of marriage for all denominations to be exclusively between a man and woman – it is only a matter of time before a New York judge declares that provision discriminatory. Before long, marriage in a Catholic Church will be deemed a religious ceremony without legal standing. Also, expect New York’s Catholic social service institutions to terminate adoption services in the near future because Big Brother orders that they must be available to same-sex couples.

Another blow was the announcement by another baptized Catholic, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, that health insurers must now provide the “morning after” abortion pill and other birth control devices free of charge “to ensure women get the protective health benefits they need.” Reacting to this government order, New York Post columnist Mike Walsh wrote that “the federal government. . .now considers ‘unplanned’ pregnancy to be a preventable disease.”

Time for Catholics to fight back in the culture wars.

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, the head of the pro-life committee of the National Catholic Bishops Conference, rightly pointed out that, “Under the new rules, our institutions would be free to act in accord with Catholic teaching on life and procreation only if they were to stop hiring and serving non-Catholics.” In other words, if the Church refuses to compromise its beliefs, Catholic hospital administrators throughout the nation will have no alternative but to turn over the keys to the front doors of their facilities to federal or state bureaucrats. Frankly, I’ve believed all along that a part of Obamacare’s end game is to drive all religious institutions out of the health-care business. And Sebelius’ order is an important step towards achieving that goal.

Next was the attack on “crisis pregnancy centers” in the San Francisco Bay area. Legislation before the Board of Supervisors claims that they are guilty of deceptive advertising that confuses women, because they do not specifically say abortions are not available at their facilities: “As a city, we have a responsibility to protect our most vulnerable residents [from] anti-abortion propaganda and mistruths on unsuspecting women,” said bill-sponsor Malia Cohen. The centers under attack are managed by First Resorts, a Christian non-profit, and say in their statement of purpose that they are devoted to “an abortion-free world” and that they offer “counseling and medical care to women who are making decisions about unplanned pregnancies.” What’s so deceptive about that mission?

The real reason San Francisco pols are determined to destroy these centers is that they dare to discourage women from seeking abortions, another example of self-declared adherents of “choice” ruthlessly using their powers to impose their pro-abortion will on the public. They prefer the Planned Parenthood approach which in 2009 (the latest figures available) performed 332,278 surgical abortions, provided prenatal services to only 7,021 women and introduced a mere 977 for adoption services.

Finally, there is the American Atheists’ suit that demands the Ground Zero girder cross – which for nine years has been mounted outside nearby St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church – be barred from the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. The atheists have made the ridiculous claim that displaying right angle steel girders, found in World Trade Center ruble and used as a back drop for many religious and public services, will cause non-believers “to suffer from dyspepsia, depression, headaches, anxiety and mental pain and anguish.” Don’t be shocked if New York’s judiciary accepts these overwrought claims and ban the cross from returning to Ground Zero.

While millions of Americans are focused on finding jobs, feeding their families, and scraping together enough money to make their mortgage payments, the culture-of-death crowd is not wasting time on the economic crisis. They are focused twenty-four hours a day on implementing their agendas. And if Catholics don’t fight back, these schemers will further marginalize the Church and destroy the moral character of the nation.

George J. Marlin, Chairman of the Board of Aid to the Church in Need USA, is the author of The American Catholic Voter and Sons of St. Patrick, written with Brad Miner. His most recent book is Mario Cuomo: The Myth and the Man.