The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is now one week deep into its “Fortnight for Freedom” campaign. As you may know, this activism has emerged as a protest against the Obama administration’s HHS mandates.
The health-care mandates–requiring most insurance providers to cover contraception for women free of charge in their health plans–have been understood by the bishops to be a massive violation of Catholic religious freedom. Of course, the success of this campaign hinges on the bishops’ ability to portray this decision as an affront to the religious freedom of all Americans.
In January, USCCB president Archbishop (now Cardinal) Timothy M. Dolan gave a statement to the effect that: “To force American citizens to choose between violating their consciences and forgoing their health care is literally unconscionable.”
The story focuses on a 54-page advertising plan that somehow dropped into the Times‘ outstretched hands “through a person not connected to the proposal who was alarmed by its tone.” The financial force behind the plan is the “conservative billionaire” Joe Ricketts who, according to a proxy, “is very concerned about the future direction of the country” (as conservative billionaires are wont to be).
The prospectus itself details a media strategy to flesh out the connections between Barack Obama and his controversial pastor,…
About 30 seconds before Professor Matthew Bowman of Hampden-Sydney College sat down for an interview with me, I whispered to him:
Matthew, this interview is not for our colleagues in the American Academy of Religion. It’s not for the specialists that we write for in our scholarly publications. It’s for intelligent people everywhere, who will benefit from the breadth of your knowledge on this subject. So keep it real!
And keep it real he did.
With his inner wonk summoned, validated, and released, Dr. Bowman (author of the fine monograph, The Mormon People: The Making of an American Faith) proceeded to dazzle us with highly sophisticated insights about the Mormon community, rendered in clear, accessible locutions.
Our guest tries to make sense of an extremely curious demographic finding: When it comes to voting for a Mormon president, conservative Evangelicals and secular…
The image of Karl Rove tracking down a member of the George W. Bush transition team and threatening him with the words “Just get me a F*%#ing faith-based thing. Got it?” is one that I will never forget.
This and many other behind-the-scenes revelations are to be savored in David Kuo’s 2006 tell-all, Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction. I am re-visiting this book as part of my current research on Barack Obama’s Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
The much-maligned OFBNP is the renovated, Democratic version of an earlier and highly controversial prototype. That would be the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. The latter was the brainchild of Kuo’s boss and idol, George W. Bush.
The two Offices—the conjoined twins of 21st-century American domestic policy—have been the subject of much discussion. Their deeper…