“Class Warfare” has become the verbal cudgel of choice for the GOP candidates for President. People like Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have been trying to add some nails to that cudgel by screaming “Religious Liberty!” over President Obama’s insistence that all women have access to healthcare provided for by the Affordable Care Act.The protection of the law is particularly important to the poor. It simply lets women CHOOSE THEIR HEALTHCARE and GET IT LEGALLY.
The law does not require churches to teach contraception anymore than it requires it to promote the death penalty or war. Yet the church lives with these realities while preaching against both. Arguing for different strokes for women folks on the issue of contraception gives an Alice in Wonderland quality to these men of the cloth and men on the stump thundering about their conscience and their turf.
It’s class warfare when institutional power and dogma trump personal freedom and one’s own conscience.
It’s class warfare when women are treated as an inferior class apart, incapable of making their own health decisions even though they bear, often alone, the consequences of sexual behavior from which their partners too often walk away with no accountability.
It’s class warfare when men of the cloth insist on their institutional religious “liberty” so that they might exercise power over the individual liberty of one class: women. This notion of institutional “liberty” has the effect of denying poorer women contraceptive care. Those who have money will get the care they need and want, no matter what the church teaches. And the leaders of the church know this.
Do the Bishops question wealthy donors about whether they abide by their teaching on contraception before they accept their money? Does receiving the donations of the 98% of Catholics who practice contraception while contributing to their parish coffers every week not taint the conscience of the bishops?
If the good bishops do not feel compelled to get into the heads and hearts of their wealthy donors where their sexual behavior is concerned, let them stay out of the bedrooms of the poor as well. It is neither Christian nor American to deny one group of women—those without the independent means to buy it on their own– the right to full healthcare coverage as provided by law.
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31:8-9
It’s class warfare when we, with middle class comforts –or offshore accounts– speak of “the poor” as if they were a faceless mass, not real people who have names and lives lived in starkly different circumstances with often frighteningly few choices.
It’s class warfare when Mitt Romney keeps his income outside the nation he wants to lead as President and pays 15% in taxes while my friend, a retired college professor from Massachusetts pays 28% on a small sum she recently withdrew from her retirement account.
“Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.” Ecclesiastes 5:10
Why do the Bible-thumping Christians who defend unbridled capitalism, who insist that the wealthy not pay a dime more in taxes have such trouble remembering the numerous verses in the scriptures that warn that
“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” Matthew 6:24
Romney, Gingrich, Santorum and the GOP cast of thousands would have us believe they can.