It seems the Catholic Church’s outrage over the Affordable Health Care Act has been brewing for some time. Now we discover that seven months before the Obama Administration made its decision to require religious employers to comply with the Act, the Catholic Bishops “had started laying the groundwork for a major new campaign to combat what they saw as the growing threat to religious liberty, including the legalization of same-sex marriage” (Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times, February 10, 2012).
Perhaps it was a bit of a hard sell for the Catholic Bishops to convince the majority of U.S. citizens that allowing GLBT people equal human rights with non-GLBT people was a violation of religious freedom. Despite the claims of groups like Exodus International, being gay is not a choice, nor is it a pathology. But, writes Laurie Goodstein, “the birth control mandate, issued on Jan. 20, was their Pearl Harbor.”
The Obama Administration is prepared to offer a white flag later today – and not a moment too soon. Using language that demonizes, equates disagreement with warfare, or denigrates, and dismisses the other, obscures the common ground to our peril. This controversy is not about “church vs. state” or “good vs. evil.” No one is requiring anyone to violate their beliefs. The government is requiring no one to use birth control, to have abortions, to marry, or to somehow become gay against their will. The controversy is about how we can assure a sustainable, fair, and just society for everyone.
This disagreement is not a culture clash. It is part of the psychic and spiritual evolution that has the potential to align conscious human life with how we know the universe works – the emergence of a new cosmology.