Good Lord (pun intended), are we really, really debating contraception?
Per usual, the Rs in Congress pull together a kangaroo-court-style hearing to try to showcase their concerns over “religious freedom” in the wake of the Obama administration’s announcement regarding the provision of the 2010 healthcare law that mandates free contraception. Houses of worship are exempt from the rule, but coverage is required to be made available to employees of religiously affiliated organizations such as hospitals and universities.
The World’s Richest Congressman, Darrell Issa, decided a full-blown hearing was in order. Not all that surprisingly, the entire panel of witnesses was male:
Now, it is obvious the Rs are looking for one of their treasured culture issues to fire up that particular part of their base, and some believe the staunch opposition of the Catholic hierarchy, which can preach their message from pulpits across the country every Sunday from now until Election Day, could work against Obama. But given the fact that most American adults use some form of birth control, I’m not convinced this is a winner for them. I have to wonder if there are Republican women out there, perhaps even a few wives of Congressmen and Senators, who might take a cue from Aristophanes over this.
Underlying all this is the usual breath-taking hypocrisy of the Right, which ignores or even fights Catholic teachings on alleviating poverty, respecting labor, etc. James Downie, writing on the Washington Post's Post-Partisan blog, is particularly scathing.
Oh, and the wingers who have so long enjoyed the comfort of knowing a conservative Supreme Court would have their backs if they lost everywhere else may not find relief if all this ends up there. Talking Points Memo, for example, notes the majority opinion in Employment Division v. Smith, written by practicing Catholic and Justice Antonin Scalia that held, in part, that religious believers and their institutions are not exempt from generally-applicable laws.
We may be seeing a re-run of the Terri Schiavo debacle, though less a travesty this time and more theater-of-the-absurd.
Meanwhile, Senate Republicans are on the attack over re-authorizing the Violence Against Women Act.
UPDATE – LA Times blog shakes its head ruefully, and reminds us it wasn't so long ago . . . .