THE BLOG
01/06/2014 12:51 pm ET Updated Mar 08, 2014

Big Sisters Needed for the Poor

If the Little Sisters of the Poor, who are suing the federal government on behalf of religious conformity, really believed in helping the poor, they would encourage Judge Sotomayor to decline their suit. Or they would withdraw it. The suit is embarrassing to their fundamental principles and mission to help the poor. Contraception helps people from becoming poor by allowing them to plan their parenthood. Why sue?

If the Little Sisters of the Poor believed in religious freedom, they would also believe in mine and not just theirs. Their suit implies that there is only one religious viewpoint on contraception and abortion. There is not. There are multiple beliefs. The United Church of Christ believes that contraception and abortion can be moral choices, religiously based. With all due respect, I see no reason that their refusal to claim a religious exemption is a religious act. It is more clearly an imperial act, coming from the most unlikely of places, a group of elderly nuns who don't seem to understand systemic issues and are quite content with federally funded charity, as long as it doesn't really do any real good for the poor. Charity often works that way: It helps those who give it more than those who receive it. On what moral basis would they not simply take their exemption and do their own thing, their own way? Why does everybody have to do health care their way?

The idea that religious freedom is only Catholic is finally offensive. What about Protestants? What about those who choose contraception, regularly, as a moral choice, in line with their religious belief? How dare nuns enforce an anti-contraception point of view as the law of the land? Which country or century do they live in? Don't they know how many people use contraception? Ninety percent of Catholics -- that's who uses contraception. Or have they spent too much time in nursing homes, where people don't need contraception any more? I'll bet if they did a poll of their nursing home residents, they would find that most of them had two or three children. I wonder how they did that.

I shouldn't have listened to Justice with Judge Jeanine last night on Fox. But every now and then the snow keeps me in and I think I should listen to alternative points of view. "Judge" Jeanine likes saying "Little Sisters of the Poor" a little too much. I thought she was less manipulative than that or at least more sophisticated. The word "Little" is out of place when people are actively hurting the poor by their lawsuit. Looks a lot like big money to me. Sounds a lot like Fox television to me. I wonder who is funding the "Little" "Sisters" of the "Poor" to be anti-contraception as a way to be anti-abortion? These are big sisters if they have a lawsuit -- and I applaud their ferocity and their willingness to go to bat for their small charitable, anti-justice principles. I even applaud their daily work with those who are feeble. By the way, Protestants do a lot of that kind of work as well and rarely politicize it the way the so-called "Little Sisters" have. Judge Jeanine is trying to make this a "woman's" issue by romanticizing and belittling the Little Sisters. Women disagree about contraception and abortion. Real women. And we are not all little. In fact, most of us don't want to win our victories by being "little" at all.

And dear Justice Jeanine, I don't think you qualify for the false accolade of "little" yourself.

Get a grip, sisters. People are going to use contraception. (They are also going to use Viagra). If they have to pay for it, they will. People are not stupid. They know that unwanted pregnancies and unwanted children are a sure route to the poor house. And many of them like recreational sex and don't think that the "Catholics" should frown on that.

I wonder which world the sisters really want. Apparently their otherwise genuine concern for the poor is stuck in their short sighted and small-minded principles. I certainly hope that their sister, Justice Sotomayor, will understand what it means to be a good Catholic and a smart one, as well. If she leads, the sisters will come along. Very few of them are as "little" as Justice Jeanine's sexism implies. What we all need -- and especially the poor -- are Big sisters really for the poor.

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