Moderates and women are fleeing the Republican Party. Between rush Limbaugh and the Roman Catholic bishops' war on women's access to contraception the Democratic Party is sitting pretty for 2012.
But this issue might have gone away if it wasn't for the fact that the Roman Catholic hierarchy aided, abetted and goaded by some Republican operatives, is working hard to make sure that they keep the so-called social issues on the front burner all the way to Election Day.
Rather than let what activists in the Democratic Party are calling "the war on women" fade away along with Rush Limbaugh, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, and thus refocus on what most American care about -- the economy -- the Pope, the American bishops and several key mostly behind-the-scenes Roman Catholics on the hard right of both the Church and the Republican Party seem determined to make the "war on women" into the central issue of the 2012 race.
Are these hard right Roman Catholics secretly working for President Obama? Okay, they're not; but they might as well be. Consider these points:
Most Roman Catholics would not sign on to such weird extremism. But "most Roman Catholics" are not in charge of their church today.
And most Americans will not thank the Roman Catholic activists suing our government to force us to adopt Anscombe's view of contraception even in the name of "religious liberty." Liberty as defined here as the "right" of the Roman Catholic Church to deny progress in women's rights. The suit will mean that any time the social issues might have faded away the Roman Catholic church's attack on women will remain "news."
The far right ideologues who want to turn depriving women of contraceptives into a "religious liberty" issue are counting on trying to get their "case" before at least 4 Supreme Court Justices that have a right-wing Catholic worldview -- Roberts, Alito, Scalia and Thomas. This fact alone will make millions of women vote for reelecting the President just to make sure he has the chance to appoint another one or two moderate pro-women justices.
Bluntly put, between the Becket Fund/Wall Street suit, the Pope weighing in and the American bishops anti-Obama activity ramping up to try and defeat him in 2012, the Roman Catholic leaders seem anxious to declare holy war on the Democratic Party. Democratic Party candidates everywhere will reap the benefit because most Americans treasure their freedom from religion as much as they respect freedom of religion.
Frank Schaeffer is a writer. His latest book is Sex, Mom, and God: How the Bible's Strange Take on Sex Led to Crazy Politics--and How I Learned to Love Women (and Jesus) Anyway
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