"Hot on the heels of Kucinich's declaration of support for health-care reform, the Associated Press is reporting that Catholic nuns are urging Democratic lawmakers to support health-care reform," Newsweek's Katie Connolly informed readers of the magazine's The Gaggle blog this morning.
"This is a major break with the church's bishops, who have strongly opposed the legislation on the grounds that some federal subsidies may end up funding abortions," Connolly gushed, later closing her blog post with the conclusion that "[a]t the very least, the letter damages the validity of [pro-life Democrat Rep. Bart] Stupak's argument."
Both Connolly's post and the underlying AP story failed to delve into this, but the letter in question was not simply cobbled together by apolitical nuns. It was pushed out to the media by a group with a left-wing agenda, reports CatholicCulture.org:
A coalition of American nuns, claiming to represent over 50,000 members of women's religious orders, has broken with the country's Catholic bishops by coming out in support of the health-care reform legislation now pending in Congress.
In a statement released by the liberal religious lobby Network, the nuns say that the bill already approved by the Senate is "the real pro-life stance." Their statement accuses the US bishops' conference and pro-life groups of making "false claims" that the bill would allow support for abortion and would not protect the consciences of health-care workers who oppose abortion.
"This is politics; this isn't a question of faith and morals," said Sister Simone Campbell, the executive director of Network. Women religious have a direct interest in health-care reform, she added: "We are the ones who work every day with people who are suffering because they don't have health care."
Here's how Network describes their areas of concern when "Lobbying for Justice":
Issues on NETWORK's agenda include:
• Just and fair treatment for immigrants
• Affordable housing
• Healthcare for all
• Retirement security
• Food security
• Wage equity
• Peace in Iraq through economic development
• Fair and just global trade and responsible investment
• Fair and just taxation
• Investment in human needs domestically and globally
You may notice that sanctity of life of the unborn is missing from the list. Indeed, no mention of abortion is found on the group's "about us" page, which defines Network's mission as:
...a progressive voice within the Catholic community that has been influencing Congress in favor of peace and justice for more than 30 years.
Through lobbying and legislative advocacy, we strive to close the gap between rich and poor and to dismantle policies rooted in racism, greed and violence.