President Obama Is Between a Roman Rock and a Republican Hard Place

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I am not much of a political writer.  I don’t really like arguing about politics, because I feel ill-informed most of the time.  I feel like I am ill-informed, because much of the information in our “news” media is biased (most likely for the purpose of stirring controversy in order to boost ratings and advertising revenue – but, that’s another rant).  I feel like the available information regarding politics and politicians is biased, because politics is an industry that puts some in control and makes many wealthy.  Oh, for Pete’s sake, I think you get the point – I digress.

 

In any case, however, I am occasionally stirred to write about political goings on.  Today, I have finally been agitated enough that I need to pose a question to the public, just to make sure I understand the facts (And you, out there in cyber-space, are as public as it gets – a well kept secret that someone should let the general population under the age of 25 in on some time).  I am talking about the recent brouhaha surrounding the Obama administration’s determination that health insurance plans ought to cover birth control – this, of course, includes health insurance plans provided by charities, hospitals, and universities.  This, of course, sets off the Roman Catholic Church (and probably others), because they run many charities, hospitals, and universities – institutions that belong to the church and employ Christians under the spiritual jurisdiction of the church.  Necessary qualifications should probably be made.  For instance, I am sure these institutions employ non-Christians.  However, I am too lazy to go looking for all such qualifications on a Thursday afternoon.  This is why I have you.

 

As I understand things, the Republican field of presidential candidates smells blood in the water, and has lunged at the opportunity to snatch up the Conservative Christian vote in the primaries.  They have spent a couple of days now relentlessly attempting to draw a mental association between President Obama and religious intolerance.  They are declaring that another term under the Obama administration will herald an age of Christian persecution at the hands of the federal government.  They intimate that another term will mean that more babies will be aborted, more people will be on welfare, and that the quality of life that all Americans experience will be diminished – all because the Obama administration wants Catholic (nay, ALL) women to have access to free birth control.

 

All of this causes me to gape stupidly.  First, I might be mistaken here, but where are all of these Roman Catholics that actually follow the church’s instruction not to use birth control?  Second, I might be mistaken, but doesn’t this equation follow logic: more birth control = fewer pregnancies; fewer pregnancies = fewer abortions; fewer abortions = better lives for women and the country as a whole?  So, somehow more birth control equals more abortions, and an open attack on religious freedom.  Third, doesn’t the following equation also follow logic: Fewer unwanted children = women that are healthier, happier, more productive; women that are healthier, happier, more productive = half of our nation being a more positive influence than when they are saddled with unwanted children;  preventing the conception of unwanted children = a better alternative to people being irresponsible (and in some cases criminal) and having an abortion as a way to deal with irresponsibility (or criminal behavior)?  Last, I am an educator at a private institution, and we get to set the agenda for our mission.  As some of the American Bishops have complained, the new rule violates their ability to decide what their instititions are “about.”  Well, point of order here, when private institutions accept federal money, they are giving up the right to call the shots exclusively – federal government’s money = federal government’s rules.  Are these institutions taking federal money?  I don’t know about all of these questions, so I am asking you, the people of the internets.  Help a brother out.

 

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Obama: A Hopeful Realist, and way cooler than I thought

Tony SigHere at Theophiliacs we sometimes show our cards that we are sometimes uncritical Obama supporters.  Well, here’s another one for the books.  I was reading through my latest “Relevant” magazine (I know, I’m so hip I can hardly stand it) when I came upon the article about Obama and Evangelicals.  We all knew that he was an intellectual, and now we know a bit more about who he reads:
“A few years ago, David Brooks wrote a column in The New York Times in which he described a discussion he had with Obama about theologian Reinhold Niebuhr.  Obama cannled Niebuhr one of his favorite philosophers, saying that from Niebuhr he takes away “the compelling idea that there’s serious evil in the world, and hardship and pain … but we shouldn’t use that as an excuse for cynicism and inaction. … We have to make these efforts knowing they are hard, and not swinging from naive idealism to bitter realism.” p40

So there it is, Obama reads Niebuhr … and that’s cool