That's a fair assessment of President Obama, so far as it goes; indeed, Obama has overcome a very significant racial barrier, and one could say that he is “inspiring” in this regard.
Yet Jenkins’ implicit message is confounding. His response to the Obama outrage implied that abortion is not a preeminent concern, that it is merely one of several issues in the realm of political leadership and public policy that Catholics are supposed to care about, and not necessarily the MOST IMPORTANT issue.
If abortion is “one of several” public policy concerns for Catholics, then that’s fine. Yet now some of the Bishops seem to be back to the “abortion is preeminent” position. My point here is that American Catholic clergy are frequently “all over the road” on the abortion issue, and this inconsistency weakens their efforts at influencing any public policy at all.
So what are we to make of the Bishops’ concern that “healthcare should be affordable and available to the poor and vulnerable?” By federal law, healthcare is already made available to anybody who enters a hospital in America and requests treatment, regardless of their ability to pay (this is why Obama changed his own rhetoric back in July, dropping his calls for “healthcare reform” and morphing the agenda into “health insurance reform”). And the lack of affordability in healthcare is, in no small part, because of a lack of a truly competitive free market for health insurance, and because those who work for a living and actually pay for their health insurance are also paying for those who don’t work and don’t pay their way.
In short, the Bishops are proposing some lofty ideals, but they seem to be ignoring the economics of it all. They seem to be ignoring the wisdom of Pope John Paul II, who eloquently taught that all of life is connected to economics – and yes, this reality even applies to healthcare.
The Bishops’ own concerns even speak to this economic reality. They are fretting over Americans being coerced by government to pay for abortions - that’s an issue regarding the “sanctity of life,” yes, but it’s also an issue of economics. The two are inextricably attached, just as all of life is attached to economic concerns.
If the Bishops took more seriously the Church’s teaching on the virtue of free markets, and the immorality and devastation brought about by economic redistribution, they would find plenty more to dislike about Obamacare, specifically, but also Obamanomics, generally.
Hopefully the American Catholic laity are seeing things more clearly, even if the Bishops do not.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.