But what people are going to miss about their statement is this:
"For the Catholic Church, health care is a basic human right and providing health care is an essential ministry. We pick up the pieces of this failing system in our emergency rooms, clinics, parishes and communities. This is why we strongly support Congressional action on health care reform which protects human life and dignity and serves the poor and vulnerable as a moral imperative and an urgent national priority."And that's what I thought! As Andrew Sullivan notes:
"It's important to note what the theocons will never mention. Catholic teaching very, very strongly backs universal health insurance as a moral imperative."Right. It wasn't just the hippies saying that. I actually remember this from when I was a kid.
The people in the Politico comments are freaking out about how the Church is now "Socialist". My favorite comment was this one: "Looks like the weekly church donations will be going to pay for additional cost of healthcare and taxes instead, if dems get their way." Maybe it's just me, but I sort of thought some of those donations were already going to "healthcare".
Look, I'm not saying that Catholics should support health care reform. Far from it. My own personal opinion is that the government will likely screw it all up and make things worse. That seems to be the norm. However! There are two things that have irritated the life out of me in watching this endless debate from abroad:
1. I live in a country with universal health care, a democratic government, and a very health economy. So, the conviction of some US conservatives that, if reform passes and like 5% of the working poor start buying their insurance from the government, the country will cease to be free and democratic strikes me as oh, a bit hyperbolic.
2. The near-constant conflation of religion and politics, so that, if you're an American Christian, you can be relied upon to support whatever dumb thing the Republican Party wants and to oppose whatever dumb thing they oppose strikes me as deeply offensive. When Catholics are opposed to tax dollars going to abortion, that makes sense to me. Of course they are.* But, when I hear people saying that Catholics need to oppose "the public option" because of the deep injustice of their tax dollars going to care for the lazy, worthless poor, it strikes me as nonsense.
*By which I mean, okay, we can argue amongst ourselves about the ethics of abortion. But, the fact that the Catholic Church is opposed to abortion shouldn't really come as a surprise to anyone.