De-fund “Immoral Institutions?” Let’s Start with the Archdiocese

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who has problems of his own in Milwaukee, is leading a procession of lawsuits opposing a national requirement of health insurance companies to cover contraceptives.  The cardinal called it a “totalitarian incursion against religious liberty.” His principle argument, is that religious institutions should not “… be forced by the government to provide coverage for contraception or sterilization,” because it “…  violates their religious beliefs.”

On that principle, legislators across the country are working to deny state and federal funding to organizations that provide contraceptive services. These lawmakers and their political allies echo the United State Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) reasoning that it is unjust to force taxpayers, employers, or members of the Church to support institutions or their affiliates which are committing acts they decry as “intrinsically evil.”

The morality of contraception has been debated for generations, but what if we apply Cardinal Dolan’s reasoning where the question of morality and legality is indisputable?

Recent polling shows that 80 percent of American Catholics find contraception morally acceptable and almost all Catholic women who have had sex have used a method forbidden by the Church.

On the other hand, protecting sexual predators is neither moral nor legal. At the same time the anti-contraception lawsuits were filed, a Wisconsin court ruled that the Green Bay Archdiocese illegally concealed sexual assaults of children and put other children at risk. If it is the bishops’ principle to stop federal and state funding for institutions and affiliates that have acted immorally, we can begin where there is no question of legality or morality. Let us deny funding to institutions, like the Green Bay Archdiocese, that have been convicted of conspiring to protect child sexual predators.

The bishops have tried and failed to make a credible cost or health argument against contraception even among their parishioners. Family planning saves taxpayer dollars and insurance premium increases for contraceptive coverage would be nominal.  Failing at persuasion, they turn to federal courts. They demand a series of exemptions for employers and institutions in the name of religious freedom:

The bishops invoke the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. in their insistence on being awarded federal grant funds without anti-discrimination protections for women, sexual assault victims, and homosexuals. The demands reveal that Dolan’s defense of civil rights begins and ends with imposition of his narrow institutional authoritarianism even on employees or students or women who disagree. This profoundly contradicts the individual liberty protections guaranteed by our Bill of Rights.

The bishops’ central argument is that we must enforce a standard of de-funding institutions engaged in actions they disapprove. Let us call upon Cardinal Dolan, the USCCB, and their political allies to practice what they preach. Eliminating public funds and taxpayer support for organizations criminally convicted of protecting child predators will prove they are standing on principle.

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  • wran

    This petition emails the IRS when you sign:

    IRS Commissioner Douglas H. Shulman: Investigate Catholic Church & Cardinal Dolan for Tax-Exempt Violations

  • julie-watkins

    Thanks for the link. Done.

  • wildthing

    Why should a religious institution of any kind, but particularly with tax subsidy, be allowed to deny people the freedom of medical choices available for all citizens of a collective society. If they wish to step outside of society then they shouldn’t have any subsidy or tax exemption either or faith based initiatives. If their sexually repressive precepts and principle cause them to violate public norms of behavior then they also shouldn’t be receiving any form of saction or support to promote their paraphilias. They have plenty of freedom within their own domain to establish sexual practices and activities that alleviate the necessity to act out in sexually inappropriate ways as member of the clergy with or without marriage for both priest and nuns… and it would be more humane to their own clergy as well as members. It seem thay are carrying with them some secret roman practices while at the same time trying to stamp out normal sexual freedoms for the rest of society by their suspect moral guidance.