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William C. Altreuter
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Thursday, February 09, 2012

Contraceptives. I cannot believe that access to contraceptives is a hot button issue in 2012. How did this happen? Griswald v. Connecticut was decided in 1964. How far back do you imagine the American Right wants to roll constitutional jurisprudence? And just who do they think they are appealing to with this anti-contraceptive drivel? I suppose there are some American Catholics who believe that birth control is a sin, but most of them are men, and nearly all of those men are priests. (According to this study 98% of Catholic women who have had sex have used birth control. I know it is not in the nature of Catholic clergy to shut the hell up, but sex is a particularly stupid thing for Catholic bishops to be on about. They spent that particular credibility coin a while back, and ought not to be complaining about the motes in other people's eyes, you know?

| Comments:
Do you think the Catholic Church is ever likely to retract the ban on contraceptives?
On the plus side, you could improve the lives of untold millions of people with Aids and help prevent the spread of other STDs, but on the down side... it would be the biggest political reversal of our time, and I don't know if the Catholic Church could survive that sort of fallout.
 
They won't, not in our lifetime, although the possibility exists in centuries hence, I suppose, but why should Rome matter anymore, if not especially in the US, where we're not supposed to be beholden to "foreign powers", as the Kennedy fears had it, and, even, to allow religious belief not to trump civic regulation? The bishopric weighing in on contraception and public health and public funding is worth nothing to anyone except the extremists on the right, those "American Taliban", as some have it, who wish only to divide the public to drive other agendas. Who thinks the Republicans actually care about abortion above getting elected? They are fools. The GOP has been co-opted from a conservative party to a fundamentalist one, and that has driven their platform to extremes that generations of Republican voters past could never recognize. Goldwater, Reagan, Nixon, Eisenhower . . . go where you will, this Republican party is not anymore a mainstream party. Thank all the supernatural powers you want that Newt is in it. At least the GOP deities know what he's about, even if it's just money-grubbing, power grabbing, self-indulgence. That's more than (R)Money, S(catalogy)antorm, or "Get Off My Lawn" Paul have got.
 
The church won't back off on this because it can't. Humanae Vitae was issued ex cathedra, and thaat means that it is the immutable word of g-d. So there you go. What is more likely to happen is for what has been happening to continue-- the Catholic Church will become more and more irrelevant to industrialized societies.
 
I think that this is a pity; the Catholic Church has so much influence around the world, even if that influence is weakened in most Western countries. But compare the number of people who identify as 'Catholic' in Africa, compared to America.

That leads on to the mega-hot topic of 'How much of a role should religion play in our lives?' I don't want to open that can of worms.
 
Sorry, I should clarify that: I think it is a pity, given the influence of the Catholic Church, that they can't reverse a decision that has caused untold hardship around the world. That influence could be used to enrich lives (on more than a spiritual level) but is unfortunately mired in politics.
 

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