A person afflicted with superiority complex experiences an exaggerated feeling of being superior to others that portends dire consequences if the sufferer holds a position of power and influence. Over the past year, women have felt the wrath of Republicans who have become the legislative arm of the United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in their drive to maintain their exaggerated sense of supremacy by enforcing the Catholic ban on contraception on the entire country. The Republicans though, have went too far and are in violation of the 1st Amendment and are facilitating Catholicism’s violation of their tax-exempt status. Based on these serious violations, there is actionable evidence to strip the Catholic Church of tax-exempt status and investigate Republicans for violating their oath of office.
The controversy raised by Republicans over inclusion of contraceptives in health insurance plans was dealt a blow yesterday by President Obama who eased the requirements for Catholic run universities and hospitals. President Obama shifted the burden to cover contraception away from employers to insurance carriers in an attempt to assuage criticism from religious fanatics in the Republican ranks. The President did not have to compromise on this important health matter and he certainly did not have to acquiesce to the USCCB and Vatican’s edict that bans contraception, but that is another subject altogether.
John Boehner accused the President of violating the 1st Amendment. He said, “In imposing this requirement, the federal government is violating a First Amendment right that has stood for more than two centuries. And it is doing so in a manner that affects millions of Americans. If the president does not reverse the [Health and Human Services] Department’s attack on religious freedom, then the Congress, acting on behalf of the American people and the Constitution we are sworn to uphold and defend, must.” Those are insightful remarks, but they apply to Republicans and not the President. The 1st Amendment says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Any legislation establishing Catholicism’s ban on contraception is a violation of the Constitution and it applies to Republican attempts to deny access to birth control to employees of religious-run organizations.
The HHS rule stipulated that churches were exempt from providing contraception coverage, but organizations run by religious groups had to provide contraception coverage for women who did not subscribe to the Vatican’s ban. The USCCB disagreed and instructed their legislative arm (GOP) to craft legislation imposing the ban on contraceptive coverage to include organizations run by religious groups and their employees whether they use contraception or not. One legislator, Senator Marco Rubio, followed the USCCB’s order after learning, in church, of the bishop’s political instructions.
It was reported in this column that the USCCB sent out letters to be read in parishes around the country informing Catholics of the Obama Administration’s alleged “war on religious liberty.” When parish priests read the letter to their congregations, they politicized the pulpit and violated their tax-exempt status as a religious organization. Senator Rubio is complicit in not reporting the violation to the IRS, and for following the bishops’ orders and drafting legislation imposing the Vatican’s ban on contraception. It is time to revoke tax-exempt status from all Catholic churches and end their taxpayer-funded entitlements once and for all. There is no doubt the USCCB violated their agreement with the IRS and Rubio’s statement that he directed his staff to draft legislation after an officiant read a letter from the Catholic archdiocese opposing the administration’s decision proves it. Rubio claims he was ignorant of the issue prior to hearing the archdiocese’s letter and his willingness to obey the USCCB precludes him from serving as a U.S. Senator. Either Rubio follows Vatican law, or he follows U.S. law and the Constitution; he cannot do both.
There is a religious war being prosecuted in America and it is borne out of an exaggerated sense of superiority by extremists in the Republican Party at the behest of the USCCB. Since the start of the 112th Congress, Republicans have sought to impose religious superiority over women despite the Constitution’s guarantee of equal rights and non-discrimination. Whether it is redefining rape, personhood amendments, or invasive medical procedures, the GOP’s religious war is an attempt to impose faith-based rules on women. In the case of contraceptive use, many women use birth control for health reasons and not just to prevent impregnation so Republicans are endangering women’s health in more than one manner.
In the past two weeks, polls have shown that an overwhelming majority of women want contraceptive coverage in health plans and there are some large Catholic institutions, such as the Catholic Archdiocese of New York, that provided the coverage without a mandate. In fact, 53% of Catholic voters agree “that women employed by Catholic hospitals and universities should have the same rights to contraceptive coverage as other women,” and 62% of women agree that employers should be required to offer health plans that cover contraception at no cost. The poll numbers increase among Democratic voters (73%) and younger Americans (65%) who do not subscribe to the USCCB’s ban on contraception coverage.
This exaggerated religious superiority over the rest of America has become inflammatory and Republicans have made extreme comments regarding President Obama’s support of contraceptive health. Rick Santorum told an audience in Texas the Obama Administration was “crushing faith in America” and putting America “on a path towards the French Revolution and that what’s left in France became the guillotine, and if we do follow the path of President Obama and his overt hostility to faith in America, then we are headed down that road.” Santorum knows President Obama is not conducting a war on religion and has no intention of beheading Christians, but his religious superiority influences him to make absurd statements to incite evangelicals to action in lieu of any real threat.
The Catholic Church’s exaggerated sense of superiority goes back centuries, and as their influence over other countries wanes, they enlisted Republicans to legislate and impose their rules on America’s women. Boehner, Santorum, and Rubio are all practicing Catholics and they have demonstrated their allegiance is to their faith and not the Constitution they swore to uphold. The Catholic Church flaunts politicizing the pulpit and instead of reporting the offenders to the IRS, Senator Rubio followed the USCCB’s edict and instructed his staff to impose the church’s ban on contraception through legislation. The USCCB reigns supreme in their organization and that is their prerogative, but they have no authority over any citizen of the United States. The Republicans who obey the USCCB must choose whether they are employees of the Vatican or the federal government and rein in their imposition of religious edicts on women. American superiority rests with voters and it is not an exaggeration to say that if Republicans continue attempting to impose Catholicism’s ban on contraception on American women, even 98% of Catholic women who have used contraception in their lifetime will vote to end inferior Republicans’ tenure.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.