The New Know-Nothings

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Lynn Woolsey

Back in the first half of the Nineteenth Century a political movement arose called the Know-Nothings which thought the path to political power lay in Catholic bashing.  Many fine non-Catholic Americans, including Abraham Lincoln, joined in supporting Catholics in opposing this poisonous, and aptly named, movement.  Unfortunately, some current politicians are attempting to follow in the footsteps of the Know-Nothings.  As part of a new series on this blog I will designate Catholic bashing politicians who have earned, by their bigotry against the Church, the designation Know-Nothing.

First up is Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, (D-Ca), a pro-abortion fanatic, who vented her anger at the Stupak Amendment, which banned all funds for abortion in the ObamaCare bill that passed the House, by writing this screed in  Politico:

I expect political hardball on any legislation as important as the health care bill.

I just didn’t expect it from the United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Who elected them to Congress?

The role the bishops played in the pushing the Stupak amendment, which unfairly restricts access for low-income women to insurance coverage for abortions, was more than mere advocacy.

They seemed to dictate the finer points of the amendment, and managed to bully members of Congress to vote for added restrictions on a perfectly legal surgical procedure.

And this political effort was subsidized by taxpayers, since the Council enjoys tax-exempt status.

When I visit churches in my district, we are very careful to keep everything “non-political” to protect their tax-exempt status.

The IRS is less restrictive about church involvement in efforts to influence legislation than it is about involvement in campaigns and elections.

Given the political behavior of USCCB in this case, maybe it shouldn’t be.

In other words Catholic Bishops, shut up on abortion or something “unfortunate” might happen to your tax exemption.  The hypocrisy here is breathtaking since “progressives” have always been glad to enlist the support of churches for their pet causes. Many  black churches, for example, have been used as campaign rally sites for Democrats for years, and the opposition of many religious leaders, including Catholics, to the Iraq war was eagerly trumpeted by Democrats in Congress.  However, this goes far deeper than mere hypocrisy.  Many non-Catholic denominations opposed abortion funding in ObamaCare, but they are not mentioned by Woolsey.  She singles out the Catholic Church on which to vent her spleen, and for that, and for her inability to understand that the Bill of Rights applies also to the Catholic Church, she deserves the appellation of Know-Nothing.  It will come as small surprise to the readers of this blog that the Presbyterian Woolsey is a graduate of the Jesuit University of San Franciso and has taught at Dominican Unversity of California, “an independent university of Catholic heritage”, as they say on their web site.

Update:  This is a big day for Congresswoman Woolsey.  My friend Jay Anderson at Pro Ecclesia has awarded her a Rosie.  Read all about it here.

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  1. Even atheist Allahpundit at Hot Air, whose jabs at religion I normally find grating, defended the Bishops’ right to petition the government. Allahpundit noted that they are American citizens and it is fully within their rights to do so.

  2. Bishops aren’t elected by the people–but Congresswomen are. What the people giveth, the people can taketh away.

    She best ought to keep a tight leash on her galloping lips.

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