They look the same to me: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is surrounded by clerics during his swearing-in ceremony in Tehran in August (above). Although Ahmadinejad holds the title of president, it is Iran’s clerics who hold the power and call the shots in Iran. Below is a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops earlier this month in Baltimore. The bishops’ conference is doing all that it can to sink U.S. health care reform unless its demands regarding abortion rights are met.
Associated Press photo
That a council of clerics calls the shots in the Muslim nation of Iran is ridiculed by the majority of Americans as oppressive theocracy, yet in the United States of America — “the land of the free” — we have shit like this (from The Associated Press today):
The White House is on a collision course with Catholic bishops in an intractable dispute over abortion that could blow up the fragile political coalition behind President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.
A top Obama administration official is praising the new Senate health bill’s attempt to find a compromise on abortion coverage — even as an official of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops says Sen. Harry Reid’s bill is the worst he’s seen so far on the divisive issue.
The bishops were instrumental in getting tough anti-abortion language adopted by the House, forcing Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to accept restrictions that outraged liberals as the price for passing the Democratic health care bill.
Reid, D-Nev., now faces a similar choice: Ultimately, he will need the votes of a handful of Democratic senators who oppose abortion to get his bill through. Republicans hoping to block the health bill in the Senate are relishing the Democrats’ predicament….
Reid has steered the Senate bill in a direction that abortion-rights supporters can live with: allowing coverage for abortion in federally subsidized health care plans, provided that beneficiaries’ own premiums are used to pay for the procedure. But abortion opponents say his compromise would gut current restrictions that bar federal funding of abortion, except in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother….
But Richard Doerflinger, associate director of the bishops’ conference Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, said Reid’s “is actually the worst bill” on [anti-abortion] issues….
On Friday, the bishops’ conference sent each senator a letter saying the Senate bill violates federal policy on abortion funding and must be changed. “If that fails,” the letter said, “the current legislation should be opposed.”
Reid’s bill would forbid including abortion coverage as a required medical benefit. However, it would allow a new government insurance plan to cover abortions and let private insurers that receive federal subsidies offer plans that include abortion coverage.
In all cases, the money to pay for abortions would have to come from premiums paid by beneficiaries themselves, kept strictly separate from federal subsidy dollars. Supporters say that would keep government funds from being used for abortions, except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother as allowed under a current law known as the Hyde amendment….
Of course, there’s no question that things like Viagra and other boner-inducing drugs and vasectomies and other forms of male birth control should be covered in every health care plan, right? It’s only abortion that is the problem. No misogyny or patriarchy there!
Worst, though, is that we have Catholic clerics dictating U.S. government policy – giving a brand-new meaning to the term “American Taliban.”
The big player here isn’t Reid or Pelosi but the Catholic Church, which helped get the Stupak [anti-abortion-rights] amendment into the House [health care reform] bill. Any abortion language may have to win the backing of the church for members to sign on – and the church is sticking by a tough anti-abortion stance that angers many liberals.
So the fate of health care reform is not up to our elected officials but is up to the Catholic church? Even though only about a quarter of Americans identify themselves as Catholic (and about 15 percent of Americans identify themselves with no religion at all or identify themselves as atheist or agnostic)?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: fuck the Catholic Church. That we non-Catholics still are battling these theofascists in the year 2009 is incredible.
First the Catholic church, with its partner in crime, the Mormon cult, pumped millions of dollars into a campaign of fear, hatred and lies that denied same-sex couples equal human and civil rights in my home state of California — equal human and civil rights that the California Supreme Court already had ruled belong to same-sex Californians.
Now, the Catholic church threatens national health care reform unless it contains prohibitions on abortion, even though the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1973 that first-trimester abortion is a legal medical procedure (and that later-term abortions are legal if the mother’s life is in jeopardy by the pregnancy).
If Catholics, Mormons and other “Christo”fascists want to enforce their backasswards beliefs among their own members, that’s fine – people (adults, anyway) have the option of leaving such dysfunctional, ironically anti-Christian organizations. But for the “Christo”fascists to force their backasswards beliefs upon all Americans is theocratic and is against the principles of the United States of America, which include the separation of church and state.
It’s time that we non-Catholics (and non-Mormons) do something about the theocracy that is being shoved down our throats. It’s past time, actually, to push back.
I, for one, refuse to be dragged back to the Dark Ages.