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How Obama Set a Contraception Trap for the Right

Posted by on Feb. 12, 2012 at 10:23 PM
  • 27 Replies

 

Andrew Sullivan: How Obama Set a Contraception Trap for the Right

Last edited Sun Feb 12, 2012

Andrew Sullivan: How Obama Set a Contraception Trap for the Right 
Feb 13, 2012 12:00 AM EST 

Conservatives gleefully revived the culture wars. But they're not winning. How Obama set a trap for the right. 


snip// 


Suddenly no-drama Obama was neck deep in the kind of religious warfare he vowed to avoid. Many pundits—led by older white Catholic men, such as Joe Scarborough and my friend Chris Matthews and even the fair-minded liberal Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne—declared his decision on contraception as not only morally wrong but a politically disastrous violation of religious freedom. Suddenly the specter of 2004—when the culture-war issue of same-sex marriage gave Ohio and the entire election to George W. Bush—reemerged, and some conservative Catholic Democrats began to panic. Within the administration, almost all the white Catholic men opposed the decision—from Bill Daley to Leon Panetta. But critically, the support for the decision came from women, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and key adviser Valerie Jarrett chief among them. So Obama didn’t ignite just a culture war but a religious and gender war as well. Welcome to the election focused almost entirely on jobs. 

But the conflict-driven headlines and predictions of disaster for Obama are, in my view, deeply misleading. Right now, they are driven both by cable news’s love of a good fight and high ratings and by the Republican primary campaign, in which the candidates, especially Newt Gingrich and Santorum, are desperately battling to unify the evangelical base, which is convinced its faith is somehow under attack. In the longer run, however, I suspect this sudden confluence of kerfuffles will be seen as one of the last gasps of the culture war, not its reignition. That’s especially possible since Obama’s swift walk-back last Friday, when he proposed an utterly sensible compromise, which exempts both churches and other religious institutions that cater to the general public from directly covering or paying for birth control, shifting the coverage requirement to insurance companies. So Catholic organizations will be able to stay out of the contraception question entirely, while contraception for all women will be kept free of charge. Instead of being lose-lose for the president, it became win-win. Most Catholics will be fine with this compromise, as are the Catholic Health Association and Planned Parenthood. But the bishops? They’ve gone out on a very long limb. This could be the moment when the culture-war tide finally turns and the social wedge issues long deployed so effectively by the Republican right begin to come back and bite them. 

The more Machiavellian observer might even suspect this is actually an improved bait and switch by Obama to more firmly identify the religious right with opposition to contraception, its weakest issue by far, and to shore up support among independent women and his more liberal base. I’ve found by observing this president closely for years that what often seem like short-term tactical blunders turn out in the long run to be strategically shrewd. And if this was a trap, the religious right walked right into it. 


snip// 

In other words, this is a potential political winner for President Obama, not just among liberals, many women, younger voters, and moderates—but among American Catholics! And even more so in light of the pragmatic compromise announced last week, which puts the administration precisely where it should be, and in a much better place than it was before the announcement, and reinforces Obama’s reputation as a man willing to compromise, one of his core strengths among independent voters. I found the original rule a step too far. To my mind, when religious institutions play invaluable roles in helping the poor, curing the sick, and housing the homeless, they should be rewarded, not punished. And within reasonable limits, their right to set their own rules on health-care plans should be respected. One reason they do such great work is their religious convictions. We should celebrate that—and try to balance their views (however wrongheaded we may consider them to be) with other legitimate social goals. 

more... 

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/02/12/andrew-sullivan-how-obama-set-a-contraception-trap-for-the-right.html

by on Feb. 12, 2012 at 10:23 PM
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Replies (1-10):
yourspecialkid
by on Feb. 12, 2012 at 10:32 PM

 IMO if he was trying to set the trap he fell in it himself.  We had a letter from the Bishop read at Mass today.  Father got a standing clapping ovation when he was done.  Who would have thought bc would bring so many people together in support of the Church? 

This has already bitten him in the behind badly among church members.  I'm not sure a full reversal would help him now.  The thumbed his nose at the Church...that doesn't sit well with a lot of us.

rccmom
by Gold Member on Feb. 12, 2012 at 10:36 PM

Interesting article. We will all have to see how this plays out in the end.

rccmom
by Gold Member on Feb. 12, 2012 at 10:39 PM


Quoting yourspecialkid:

 IMO if he was trying to set the trap he fell in it himself.  We had a letter from the Bishop read at Mass today.  Father got a standing clapping ovation when he was done.  Who would have thought bc would bring so many people together in support of the Church? 

This has already bitten him in the behind badly among church members.  I'm not sure a full reversal would help him now.  The thumbed his nose at the Church...that doesn't sit well with a lot of us.

But with no longer requiring the Catholic organization to cover the cost, but having the insurance company cover it, it is still thumbing his nose at the church? I find it an interesting stance in the church to be against not them, but the insurance covering bc. Especially since every married Catholic woman of childbearing years I have known have used some form of bc during their marriage, some with their Priest's blessing, so most Catholic women will use bc sometime during their lives.

matreshka
by on Feb. 13, 2012 at 6:44 AM
1 mom liked this

I watched his announcement and flund him to be very respectful of the church while making it.

new_mom808
by Bronze Member on Feb. 13, 2012 at 8:31 AM

 

Quoting rccmom:

 

Quoting yourspecialkid:

 IMO if he was trying to set the trap he fell in it himself.  We had a letter from the Bishop read at Mass today.  Father got a standing clapping ovation when he was done.  Who would have thought bc would bring so many people together in support of the Church? 

This has already bitten him in the behind badly among church members.  I'm not sure a full reversal would help him now.  The thumbed his nose at the Church...that doesn't sit well with a lot of us.

But with no longer requiring the Catholic organization to cover the cost, but having the insurance company cover it, it is still thumbing his nose at the church? I find it an interesting stance in the church to be against not them, but the insurance covering bc. Especially since every married Catholic woman of childbearing years I have known have used some form of bc during their marriage, some with their Priest's blessing, so most Catholic women will use bc sometime during their lives.

 Do you really believe that is what will happen?

yourspecialkid
by on Feb. 13, 2012 at 8:45 AM
1 mom liked this

 

Quoting rccmom:

 

Quoting yourspecialkid:

 IMO if he was trying to set the trap he fell in it himself.  We had a letter from the Bishop read at Mass today.  Father got a standing clapping ovation when he was done.  Who would have thought bc would bring so many people together in support of the Church? 

This has already bitten him in the behind badly among church members.  I'm not sure a full reversal would help him now.  The thumbed his nose at the Church...that doesn't sit well with a lot of us.

But with no longer requiring the Catholic organization to cover the cost, but having the insurance company cover it, it is still thumbing his nose at the church? I find it an interesting stance in the church to be against not them, but the insurance covering bc. Especially since every married Catholic woman of childbearing years I have known have used some form of bc during their marriage, some with their Priest's blessing, so most Catholic women will use bc sometime during their lives.

 The problem Obama is facing is that it has morphed beyond the original issue.  The last 2 Sundays have been standing room only..at the 7:30 am mass!  It isn't just about bc control but about the legislated attempt to tell a church what their doctrine can and cannot be.  I used bc with my priests blessing, it was that or get a hysterectomy at an early age and have no children.  I may not agree with the church's doctrine on bc, but I will stand up for my church when the govt comes a'legislating.  kwim  This is what is happening with many Catholics.  I find it interesting that even Biden could see what would happen...he usually seems to be such a dolt.

Meadowchik
by Gold Member on Feb. 13, 2012 at 8:52 AM

But unless I'm mistaken, in some cases, the church IS the insurance provider.

Quoting new_mom808:

 

Quoting rccmom:


Quoting yourspecialkid:

 IMO if he was trying to set the trap he fell in it himself.  We had a letter from the Bishop read at Mass today.  Father got a standing clapping ovation when he was done.  Who would have thought bc would bring so many people together in support of the Church? 

This has already bitten him in the behind badly among church members.  I'm not sure a full reversal would help him now.  The thumbed his nose at the Church...that doesn't sit well with a lot of us.

But with no longer requiring the Catholic organization to cover the cost, but having the insurance company cover it, it is still thumbing his nose at the church? I find it an interesting stance in the church to be against not them, but the insurance covering bc. Especially since every married Catholic woman of childbearing years I have known have used some form of bc during their marriage, some with their Priest's blessing, so most Catholic women will use bc sometime during their lives.

 Do you really believe that is what will happen?


new_mom808
by Bronze Member on Feb. 13, 2012 at 9:28 AM
2 moms liked this

 

Quoting yourspecialkid:

 

Quoting rccmom:

 

Quoting yourspecialkid:

 IMO if he was trying to set the trap he fell in it himself.  We had a letter from the Bishop read at Mass today.  Father got a standing clapping ovation when he was done.  Who would have thought bc would bring so many people together in support of the Church? 

This has already bitten him in the behind badly among church members.  I'm not sure a full reversal would help him now.  The thumbed his nose at the Church...that doesn't sit well with a lot of us.

But with no longer requiring the Catholic organization to cover the cost, but having the insurance company cover it, it is still thumbing his nose at the church? I find it an interesting stance in the church to be against not them, but the insurance covering bc. Especially since every married Catholic woman of childbearing years I have known have used some form of bc during their marriage, some with their Priest's blessing, so most Catholic women will use bc sometime during their lives.

 The problem Obama is facing is that it has morphed beyond the original issue.  The last 2 Sundays have been standing room only..at the 7:30 am mass!  It isn't just about bc control but about the legislated attempt to tell a church what their doctrine can and cannot be.  I used bc with my priests blessing, it was that or get a hysterectomy at an early age and have no children.  I may not agree with the church's doctrine on bc, but I will stand up for my church when the govt comes a'legislating.  kwim  This is what is happening with many Catholics.  I find it interesting that even Biden could see what would happen...he usually seems to be such a dolt.

 I know exactly what you mean. I'm neither Catholic or agains BC, but a violation is a violation and I will stand with the church on this.

Raintree
by Gold Member on Feb. 13, 2012 at 9:55 AM

I heard a series of interviews of Catholics leaving mass yesterday, and not one agreed with the bishops. Of the Catholics I know, only the gay, not in the closet, but not practicing because of his religious scruples guy is for a virtual ban on contraception. For everyone. Not just Catholics. LOL! The rest of them already use the pill- of my acquaintance. It's why they have 0-2 kids.

Raintree
by Gold Member on Feb. 13, 2012 at 9:56 AM

Then the church should be a church and not a huge business.

Quoting Meadowchik:

But unless I'm mistaken, in some cases, the church IS the insurance provider.

Quoting new_mom808:

 

Quoting rccmom:


Quoting yourspecialkid:

 IMO if he was trying to set the trap he fell in it himself.  We had a letter from the Bishop read at Mass today.  Father got a standing clapping ovation when he was done.  Who would have thought bc would bring so many people together in support of the Church? 

This has already bitten him in the behind badly among church members.  I'm not sure a full reversal would help him now.  The thumbed his nose at the Church...that doesn't sit well with a lot of us.

But with no longer requiring the Catholic organization to cover the cost, but having the insurance company cover it, it is still thumbing his nose at the church? I find it an interesting stance in the church to be against not them, but the insurance covering bc. Especially since every married Catholic woman of childbearing years I have known have used some form of bc during their marriage, some with their Priest's blessing, so most Catholic women will use bc sometime during their lives.

 Do you really believe that is what will happen?



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