We are all Vatican Citizens today.
Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) pledged on Tuesday morning to defeat healthcare reform legislation if his abortion amendment is taken out, saying 10 to 20 anti-abortion-rights Democrats would vote against a bill with weaker language.
"They’re not going to take it out," Stupak said on "Fox and Friends," referring to Senate Democrats. "If they do, healthcare will not move forward."
On the off chance you haven't been keeping up with your congressional baseball card collection, Stupak is the C Street tenant the US Conference of Catholic Bishops settled on to be the conduit through which the even-tangential-federal-abortion-funding-ban amendment they wrote would splurt all over the House health bill. So after all our progressive blogwringing about the Mormons and the evangelicals trying to worm their respective theologies into civil law, the Catholics dispensed with the subterfuge and just flat-out did it.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops defended its involvement in the health-care debate, saying Monday that church leaders have a duty to the nation and God to raise moral concerns on any issue, including abortion rights and coverage for the poor.
[Francis Cardinal] George [Asshat-Chicago] made the remarks at the start of the conference's fall meeting in a wide-ranging speech that re-asserted the bishops' role not only as guardians of the faith, but also as moral guides outside the church.
Really, Frank? Really? The bishops' role is to be moral guides for all of America, including non-Catholic America and, apparently, Congress? Jesus, did these guys help negotiate Charlie Weis' contract extension too? The hubris levels are certainly compatible.
This came up before, I think, in some presidential race or another, involving some Irish guy. Can Bart Stupak even recognize himself as belonging to the same institution--the Congress--this other Catholic did and comport himself in the same way?
I support the United States Constitution. I am concerned as a public official with the maintenance of that Constitution. I take the same oath of office as the President of the United States takes and have taken it for 14 years in the Senate and the House, and four years before that in the service. The Constitution provides very happily under Article 1 of the First Amendment, a provision for the separation of church and state, and I consider that to be the most admirable organization of society that we could possibly devise.
And I would feel that any group existing outside the United States, whether it is the Vatican or anyone else, respects our basic conviction that church and state must be separate and that my obligation is to the Constitution and to uphold my duty.
I also suggest that there is another part of the Constitution also relevant which is Article 6, which says there shall be no religious test for office. That protects all of us.