Exploiting Religion from Cairo, Egypt to Cairo, Illinois

Salman Rushdie is running around on his book tour for Joseph Anton, making the point that all the outrage about offenses to Islam, whether it’s because of a novel like his Satanic Verses or Danish or French cartoons or the Innocence of Muslims video, is not about religion, it is about politics.  It is about political leaders getting their folks wee wee’d up to make them ignore their real problems.

The GOP and Fox News are especially outraged about this use of religion to control people politically.  Hey, it takes one to know one.

In Cairo, Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood wants to distract its people from the fact that they lived in slums under Mubarak  and are living in slums under the Muslim Brotherhood.

Here at home, the party of multi-millionaires knows that there aren’t enough of them to win elections by themselves, and they also know that their interests don’t line up with those of average working people.  So they have to get the people in Cairo, Illinois (and Georgia, Nebraska, West Virginia, Ohio, and Oregon) to focus on something else and get really angry about it, so they’ll vote GOP against their own interests.

Getting Christians stirred up about Obamacare and contraception is just like getting Muslims stirred up about a video.  Before Obamacare, 29 states had these rules about insurance covering contraception, and no one cared.  Some of these states were among our most populous, like New York and California, and some were among our most conservative, like Arkansas.

I live in one of those 29 states.  I never heard a word about the state requiring insurance companies to cover contraception from my church until suddenly President Obama did it.  Suddenly they couldn’t bear to do what they were already doing because it was a violation of their religious freedom.

Yes, the outrage abroad is phony, but before we point out the splinter in the Muslims’ eyes, we should get rid of this huge beam in the eyes of our own Evangelical Christians and Catholics.



Evangelicals, Abortion, and Birth Control

With the new-found, misguided GOP emphasis on contraception, I just wanted to remind everyone that when Roe v. Wade was first decided in 1973, Evangelicals didn’t initially make a fuss about it or take up abortion as an issue.  Their attitude was that it was a Catholic thing, and they didn’t much like Catholics.  They saw it as part of the Catholic opposition to birth control, and Evangelicals didn’t have a problem with birth control.

Given the huge issue Evangelicals make of abortion now, it is easy to forget that it wasn’t always like this.

Just as Evangelicals eventually followed  the Catholic lead on abortion, now they are doing the same thing with birth control.  That’s why we hear Gov. Huckabee saying at CPAC, “We are all Catholics now.”

But as the Evangelicals follow the Catholic bishops on contraception, I would ask them to pause and notice that Catholics don’t follow the Catholic bishops.  Do you really want to jump on the bandwagon of a doctrine that Catholics themselves overwhelmingly reject?

Don’t go there.

Will Santorum Wear Ashes Tonight?

Rick Santorum will attend an Ash Wednesday service today, unlike Newt, so we know Santorum will receive ashes.

But there’s no rule about how long you have to keep the ashes on your forehead, so I don’t know if Santorum will wear ashes to the debate.  I hope he does, and I’m guessing he will.  That’s what I would do.  To me, he’s there not just as a presidential candidate, but as a representative of all Catholics in this country.

Quote of the Day

“But Santorum may be a bit too much of a sex cop even for many evangelicals, especially younger ones, and even for some of his fellow ultra-conservative Catholics.”*

I don’t agree that he’s a bit much for ultra-conservative Catholics, but he is for normal Catholics who don’t support the Taliban wing of the Vatican.

*Henrik Hertzberg, “Close Calls,” The New Yorker