Obama Catholics vs. Bozell

Tuesday's Washington Post carries a letter to the editor opposing Brent Bozell's Post letter to the editor on Saturday. The writer is Stephanie Niedringhaus, communications coordinator for Network, a "Catholic social justice advocacy organization."

Naturally, this leftist group opposes the lawsuits against the Obama administration as a baldly political move (as if their website displays a group that's more religious than political): "There is also no denying that many Catholics believe that the bishops’ religious freedom campaign and the timing of the recent lawsuits have more to do with politics than faith. Not everyone is on board." But these people were pretty much always on board with Obama.


This is how they showed up in the press when other liberal Catholics were upset with Obama. They sounded like Obama advisers in a February 11 New York Times story: "Meanwhile, Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, a group founded by nuns decades ago to lobby on social justice issues, warned White House officials that nearly 500 Catholic activists would be in Washington this weekend for a conference, and that if no compromise had been reached by then, all of them would return to their parishes fired up about the contraception mandate."

Then they hailed the "accomodation" proposed by Team Obama -- force insurance companies to pay for free contraceptives without charging the Catholic churches -- as glorious "dialogue" and democracy in action. From NPR's Talk of the Nation on February 14:

NEAL CONAN: And let me ask you another question: Do you feel that the process by which this was worked out - a rule was proposed, people objected to it, the government changed its mind and adapted to it - that this was adequate, that this was responsive?

SIMONE CAMPBELL: Oh, it was definitely responsive. The White House certainly heard that they needed to make a change. They stood up and took notice. The key, I think, is that, yes, going forward, we continue the dialogue. This is a democracy. We raise these issues. We deal with them. We resolve them. We move on.

So Niedringhaus wrote in her Post letter that her group "praised the accommodation, and we support ongoing negotiations as details are worked out." But there are no "ongoing negotiations." The bishops have been told that Team Obama will not make any further compromises from its "accomodation."  You can oppose the lawsuits, but you're arguing against the facts to claim there's still a "dialogue" with any political meaning at the moment.

CORRECTION: I originally wrote the Niedringhaus letter appeared on Monday -- because this post-holiday Tuesday feels like a Monday.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis