Over at Mirror of Justice, Rick Garnett responds to the Commonweal editorial on religious freedom. I would differ from Garnett's fine essay in only one regard: He refers often to "the bishops" and how they do not want to be partisan and how their statement should not beunderstood in partisan terms. This is mostly true. Sadly, there are some bishops who really are Obama-haters, their hatred clouds their judgment, and too often they can hijack the entire debate in ways that are unhelpful. Additionally, there are other bishops who are too quick to listen to people like Mary Ann Glendon or Robbie George, neither of whom are unclean when it comes to partisan politics. Overall, "the bishops" are not engaged in a partisan enterprise, but some are only too delighted if their legitimate concerns about religious liberty were to make it more likely Obama was defeated in November. (It is also worth noting that some of the Obama-haters are so ham-fisted they probably have helped Obama more than hurt him, e.g., When Bp Lori agreed to be a part of five person, all male panel testifying before Congress, he did as much as anyone to turn this debate from a religious liberty debate to a contraception debate.) That said, I do not think most bishops see their engagement on this issue as a chance to unseat Obama. Most experienced the HHS mandates as a kind of tipping point, making them feel they must move to address an issue that has been concerning them more and more, in different ways, over the years.
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