The “Preventing Unintended Pregnancies, Reducing the Need for Abortion and Supporting Parents Act,” introduced on July 23 by Representatives Tim Ryan and Rosa DeLauro, has a long list of supporters. Many of these are from the religious community; some are Jewish, many are Protestant (from Unitarian to Evangelical), and a few are Catholic. Catholic Exchange, in reporting on Catholic support for the Ryan-DeLauro bill, has lost all credibility by running an alarmist, exclusionary (that is, typical) LifeSiteNews article.
LifeSiteNews, a Christian website covering “Life, Family, and Culture,” spends much of its energy doing battle with its own kind. One of the website’s “Feature Spotlights” is “Development and Peace,” which, rather than being a discussion of the Christian vision for development and peace, links to a page condemning the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace. The organization funds groups in Latin America that, among other things, empower women and gays and work to improve health care. This kind of development and peace is offensive to LifeSiteNews.
Indeed, to certain conservative religious groups, health care is a formidable foe. LifeSiteNews announced yesterday that the National Right to Life Committee has launched a “Tim Ryan, pro-life impersonator” webpage in retribution for that Congressman’s interest in preventing unintended pregnancies, etc. And at the bottom of LifeSiteNews’s homepage, a list of NewsBytes includes several links to YouTube videos of anti-health care protestors disrupting “town hall” meetings with elected officials. (One link advertises a Congressman getting “soundly booed for total acceptance of Global Warming propaganda.”)
So we shouldn’t be surprised when LifeSiteNews takes offense to a nun who claims that social and economic justice, including affordable health care, are part of God’s vision. Sister Simone Campbell is an attorney who has been advocating for the poor and underserved for thirty years. The organization she’s now heading, NETWORK, “strive[s] to close the gap between rich and poor and to dismantle policies rooted in racism, greed and violence.” Some of their concerns, besides access to health care, are “wage equity,” “fair and just taxation,” and “peace in Iraq through economic development.”
These are not issues in which LifeSiteNews has any interest, and they make it clear in the first sentence of their article, branding NETWORK and other Catholic supporters of the Ryan-DeLauro bill “left-leaning.” Some of these other groups include the National Coalition of American Nuns and Catholics United for the Common Good.
LifeSiteNews is not concerned with the common good, of course. And its commitment to “life” seems quite different than NETWORK’s. The Catholic social justice lobby has the following to say about “the dignity of the human person”:
The dignity of the human person flows from his/her creation in God’s image. This divine image gives sanctity to every human life. Consequently, every human being possesses an inalienable dignity and fundamental value that transcends gender, race, class, ethnicity and nationality.
We can only support human dignity and achieve healthy communities if we protect human rights. Every person has a fundamental right to life and a right to those things required for human dignity, such as adequate food, housing, work, education, transportation, healthcare, and freedom of communication and expression.
“Every human being possesses an inalienable dignity and fundamental value.” Not according to the purportedly “pro-life” LifeSiteNews. In a final jab at Sr. Campbell, they point out that she “also threw her weight behind immediate health care reform.” A grave sin in the eyes of conservative religious groups, who’ve done their best to make sure that people don’t get the health care they want, and need.