With enemies like these …

I see Cardinal Dolan has taken a break from lobbying to protect child molesters from lawsuits by their victims in order to intervene in the Presidential campaign by picking a fight with Barack Obama over sexual morality.

That’s not as funny as Bristol Palin reading the President a lecture on the importance of two-parent families and the role of the father. But it’s even less convincing.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

26 thoughts on “With enemies like these …”

  1. In all honesty, this is a fight Obama picked with the Catholic church, not the other way around.

    1. In all honesty, this – along with accountability for child rape – is a fight the Church picked with the Twentieth Century. And we’re now a healthy distance into the Twenty-First.

    2. No, he didn’t. The HHS regulation codified the typical scope of employer-provided healthcare plan, as required by law (namely, sec. 1302 (b) (2) (A) of the PPACA). What the regulation says is, in fact, already the law of the land in a majority of the states and the vast majority of employer-provided plans (around 90%) already include contraceptive coverage. This is nothing that Obama conjured up; this was the Department of HHS following the letter of the law.

      When that met with opposition from the Catholic Church, Obama negotiated a compromise (which several Catholic organizations were fine with). Other Catholic organizations still decided to sue.

      The only one who has been picking a fight has been the Catholic Church.

      1. So its not an attack on liberty to compell private entities to do things that violate their consciences as long as what they are being forced to do is highly popular. Interesting

        1. I didn’t say that. I said that it wasn’t Obama picking a fight. Not every factual correction of one of Brett’s misconceptions constitutes a policy endorsement.

          For what it’s worth, my personal preference would be to not involve employers in the health insurance business in the first place.

          Also, I recommend laying off the artificially dramatic prose (“attack on liberty”). This is about contraceptive coverage, not a difficult ethical problem, such as war. While I think that society should do its best to accommodate the ethical concerns of small minorities [1] such as Catholic bishops or conscientious objectors, on a scale of 0-10, contraceptive coverage registers at best as a small fractional value compared to, say, world hunger.

          [1] While there are many Catholics and Catholic teachings largely prohibit the use of contraceptives, hardly any Catholic who is not already celibate actually follows it. Hence, a small minority.

        2. So church-affiliated hospitals taking public money are people now, as well as corporations?

        3. Do what things that violate their consciences? Provide insurance? Guess what– when a person uses birth control, it doesn’t violate the Church’s conscience because the Church didn’t take that action. And the Church doesn’t pay for it, either– the insurance company does. But apparently the Church is so sensitive that if they pay even a dollar into a pool of money that the insurance company has collected from many different sources, and that some potentially immoral benefit flows out of that to an employee of theirs, well, that is just too much.* AND it doesn’t even cost them a dollar. That is why the insurance companies will pick up the benefit for free. The cost of birth control is far less than that of unplanned pregnancies. But still, they object to anyone using birth control, so they must play the victim in this.

          *this is why Americans don’t have to pay taxes, too. The government does stuff that people object to, therefore they are not required to pay into the tax pool.

        4. Why does a catholic themed hospital get special conscience exemptions denied to other corporations?

          Here’s a better way to think of it.

          An employer compensates it’s employees with cash and benefits. Like the cash, the benefits belong to the employee, not the employer. Employees can do things with their cash that goes against their employers conscience, and their benefits as well. Freedom is a good thing.

          the catholic owned entities are not required to give their employees health insurance. If only there were some other system we could learn from in this wide world.

          1. Right, and because a Muslim’s employees could spend their salary on pork, there’s nothing wrong with forcing the Muslim to buy, cook, and serve, pork in the employee lunch room. Same thing, really.

            My barber could make campaign donations to Obama. So there’s nothing wrong with requiring me to make such donations in order to legally get a haircut?

            Here’s one for you: Anybody you hire might spend part of their pay buying guns. So let’s just pass a law requiring you to buy people guns as part of their compensation package. If you don’t like it, you can just not hire anybody. Go live in a cave somewhere…

            You guys really think anybody buys this kind of nonsense? Of course Obama picked a fight. He MEANT to pick a fight. He just expected the Catholic church to cave. I mean, hey, what’s the point of being king if you can’t order people to violate their consciences? Where’s the thrill?

            And, frankly, I don’t want to deny other corporations conscience exemptions extended to Catholic hospitals. I don’t believe people should get any special rights due to their religion, I believe people ought to have enough rights that they don’t NEED special exemptions, religious or otherwise, because nobody is forcing them to violate secular consciences, either.

          2. Your first analogy is immensely wrong.
            Catholic employers are not hosting the action in question. No birth control pills touch a catholic hospital.

            It is not the same thing at all.

          3. Right, and because a Muslim’s employees could spend their salary on pork, there’s nothing wrong with forcing the Muslim to buy, cook, and serve, pork in the employee lunch room. Same thing, really.

            Actually, how about if the Muslim employer isn’t required to buy the pork, but the supermarket the employee shops at is required to purchase pork for the employee. The employer’s claim for religious freedom is that he wants to make it impossible for the employee to obtain free pork from the supermarket.

          4. i’ve tried not to get involved in this one because i’ve been suffering from brett fatigue but brett’s analogy here is so ridiculously wrong-headed it’s almost making my head explode. he’s used this before and i see the exact same refutations that were offered the last time he did.

            my prediction is that brett will either consider these statements as not refuting his point because of some obscure aspect that only he gets or that he will not respond again thus denying anyone who was annoyed by his statement closure on the discussion. again, my hat is off to brett as a cancer survivor but as a rational interlocutor i put on a dozen hats.

        5. No, it’s a requirement that an entity obey generally applicable laws.

          As for conscience, the bishops have been proven to not have one.

          And since both you and Brett have a long history of defending extremely bad behavior,vneither of you get to invoke conscience or morality.

          1. Yes, that’s why a law that requires everybody to consume pork would not be an attack on Islam and Judaism, any more than a law requiring everybody to accept blood transfusions would be an attack on Jehovah’s Witnesses. Because generally applicable laws can’t possibly be attacks on the only people who’d find them objectionable…

          2. somehow it seems like brett has refuted himself with that last statement unless it was pure snark and i missed the sarcasm. interesting.

          3. of course, if it was snark, then it just demonstrates that he’s still missing the point of the previous refutations of his original logic. it’s not a law requiring everyone to buy pork that he’s calling for, instead it’s a law allowing jewish and muslim employers to prohibit their employees from buying pork with their salary and benefits that he’s demanding and then claiming that not allowing for that prohibition would be an attack on judaism and islam.

            shall i just chalk this up to chemo-brain or is it possible you really are in the wrong on this one?

    3. The Catholic Church is a distinct entity from the various Catholic affiliated hospitals and employers.

      The hospital is not a place of worship, ministering to the faithful.
      When the Catholic Church buys a doughnut shop, they play by the same rules as every other doughnut shop out there. You may fairly make the case that it’s an imposition upon everybody, having to provide said benefits. (and I think you hold that.)

      But catholic themed businesses get no special rules.

      1. This exactly.

        If the KKK opened a hospital and refused to treat black patients would it be legal? No. So why should the Catholic Church be treated any differently?

    4. Brings to mind the time some guy prefaced a statement to Judge Wapner, “Well to tell the truth…” at which point the judge said, “You better tell the truth!”
      “In all honesty” does kind of beg the question. But we’ll take your word for it Brett. Honest we will.

  2. I’m beginning to think that the Liberal Media Conspiracy has been playing the long game after all. By giving completely unrepresentative, unqualified people like Dolan and Palin endless opportunities to spout their lines, they’ve exposed the loony right’s moral and intellectual bankruptcy. I didn’t think Rupert had it in him.

  3. The nice thing about the sin blame-game and the correponding charges of elitism is the right can deploy them any way it pleases. If a liberal family has a dad and a mom, the right can accuse it of following the elitist principles that the left would deny the importance of to other families. If it’s a single parent family, the right can accuse it of immorality, decline, etc.

    A single idiot teenage mom on the right, though, is a tough, forgiven, learned little cookie who can now lecture everyone else on morals and integral family structure.

    God, isn’t Calvinism great.

  4. I’ve just read the Palin piece. If hypocrisy were sugar, I’d be in a diabetic coma now.

    I think the best howler was the schtick about upsetting “thousands of years of marriage.” The girl needs a cab ride to get to the Clue Bus (TM).

    1. I didn’t see the hypocrisy myself, and especially nothing about two-parent families. Even if she had said that, there’s nothing hypocritical about a single mother thinking that a two-parent family is preferable. But mostly it was just a blog post about parenting.

      That said, I probably lost a few brain cells while reading her blog. And I can’t help but be thankful for the fact that blogs weren’t around when I was her age, so there was no temptation for me to immortalize my own immature teenage and college-age thoughts.

  5. “On gay marriage, Dolan said they expressed worries to Cuomo about the implementation of the law — that its implementation might intrude on ‘the integrity of the church.'”

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