Jamie Stiehm: Anti-Catholic Bigot


“Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we begin by declaring that “all men are created equal.” We now practically read it “all men are created equal, except negroes.” When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read “all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics.” When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty-to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy.”

Abraham Lincoln, letter to Joshua Speed, August 24, 1855


Jamie Stiehm is a journalist and a bigot.  Her bigotry of choice is anti-Catholicism.  Go here to see one of her anti-Catholic screeds at US News & World Report.  She is getting 15 minutes of fame currently for a diatribe against Catholics on the Supreme Court which appears this week at US News & World Report, charmingly entitled The Catholic Supreme Court’s War on Women.  My fisk of her post follows:

Et tu, Justice Sonia Sotomayor? Really, we can’t trust  you on women’s health and human rights? The lady from the Bronx just dropped  the ball on American women and girls as surely as she did the sparkling ball at  midnight on New Year’s Eve in Times Square. Or maybe she’s just a good Catholic  girl.

This is in reference to Sotomayor granting a temporary injunction to The Little Sisters of the Poor in reference to the contraceptive mandate.  Since Ms. Stiehm is obviously as bone ignorant of the law as she is of Catholicism I will explain for her benefit that this is a fairly routine matter.  The country is divided up into areas between the Justices of the Supreme Court.  After a case has been ruled upon by a federal appellate circuit court, it is not unusual for the losing party to attempt to gain a stay from the Supreme Court justice overseeing that circuit.  Injunctions are often granted if, as in this case, it is obvious that the case will ultimately be resolved by the Supreme Court.  Granting a temporary injunction is no indication of how the Court, or the individual Justice, will rule on the case, assuming the Supreme Court agrees to take the appeal.

The Supreme Court is now best understood as the Extreme  Court. One  big reason why is that six out of nine Justices are Catholic. Let’s  be  forthright about that. (The other three are Jewish.) Sotomayor,  appointed by  President Obama, is a Catholic who put her religion ahead  of her jurisprudence.  What a surprise, but that is no small thing.

This of course is vastly amusing.  Over the years many Catholics have served on the Supreme Court, and I defy anyone to establish any consistent pattern of voting that distinguishes Catholic justices from non-Catholic justices.  Of course facts and logic are a small matter to a true bigot like Ms. Stiehm.  The fact that someone is a Catholic is all she needs to know, and she will listen to nothing else.  Like an anti-Semite who will not care that Isaac and Rebekah differ on much, to the anti-Semite they are just, and only, Jews, just as to a true anti-Catholic, Catholics are not individuals but merely Catholics, the locus of evil in this world.

“In a stay order applying to an appeal by a Colorado  nunnery, the  Little Sisters of the Poor, Justice Sotomayor undermined the new   Affordable Care Act’s sensible policy on contraception. She blocked the  most  simple of rules – lenient rules – that required the Little Sisters  to affirm  their religious beliefs against making contraception  available to its members.  They objected to filling out a one-page form.  What could be easier than nuns  claiming they don’t believe in  contraception?”

Ms. Stiehm has no concern for the violation of the religious freedom of the sisters.  Rich Lowry at National Review Online explains what is at stake:

When the contraception mandate first caused an uproar, the administration contrived a so-called accommodation for religiously oriented groups (actual churches have always been exempt). But whoever crafted it had a sick sense of humor. The very same document by which a group registers its moral objection to contraceptives and abortifacients also authorizes the insurer to cover them for the group’s employees. What the accommodation gives with one hand, it takes away with the other.

The Little Sisters refuse to sign such a document. They happen to be in an unusual situation because they get their insurance from another religiously affiliated organization opposed to contraceptives and abortifacients, so it may be that these drugs don’t get covered no matter what. But the Little Sisters can’t be sure of this — the regulations are complicated and subject to change.

Regardless, they don’t want to sign. They want no part in authorizing coverage of contraceptive or abortive drugs. Enthusiasts for the mandate scoff. What the nuns are objecting to, they insist, is just a piece of paper.

Just a piece of paper? So is a mortgage. So is a wedding certificate. So is a will. How would the board of directors of NARAL react if the government forced them to sign a “piece of paper” tacitly condemning contraception or abortion? Would they shrug it off as a mere formality?

Sotomayor’s blow brings us to confront an uncomfortable  reality. More  than WASPS, Methodists, Jews, Quakers or Baptists, Catholics  often try  to impose their beliefs on you, me, public discourse and  institutions.  Especially if “you” are female. This is not true of all  Catholics –  just look at House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. But right now,  the  climate is so cold when it comes to defending our settled legal ground  that  Sotomayor’s stay is tantamount to selling out the sisterhood. And  sisterhood is  not as powerful as it used to be, ladies.

Nancy Pelosi has not spent her career seeking to impose her views on others?  Hilarious!  Ms. Stiehm has no problem with people imposing their views on others apparently, so long as Ms. Stiehm agrees with the views being imposed.  Raising this argument about imposition of views in regard to the Contraceptive Mandate imposed by the government is truly an Orwellian touch by Ms. Stiehm.

Catholics in high places of power have the most trouble,  I’ve  noticed, practicing the separation of church and state. The pugnacious   Catholic Justice, Antonin Scalia, is the most aggressive offender on the  Court,  but not the only one. Of course, we can’t know for sure what Sotomayor was thinking, but it seems she has joined the ranks of the  five Republican  Catholic men on the John Roberts Court in showing a  clear religious bias when  it comes to women’s rights and liberties. We  can no longer be silent about  this. Thomas Jefferson, the principal  champion of the separation between state  and church, was thinking  particularly of pernicious Rome in his writings. He  deeply distrusted  the narrowness of Vatican hegemony.

This woman is truly delusional.  Catholics in the Democrat party have been notable for the past 40 years in defying the teachings of the Church on any number of issues.  Evangelical Protestants, as a group, have been much closer to the teachings of the Church in Congress than Catholic Democrats.  However, as stated earlier, reason and logic are so many pearls before a swine when it comes to a true bigot like Ms. Stiehm.  In regard to Thomas Jefferson, in reference to the separation of Church and State he was primarily thinking of the Anglican Church, Catholics being about two percent of the population of the United States in his time.

The seemingly innocent Little Sisters likely were likely  not acting  alone in their trouble-making. Their big brothers, the meddlesome   American Roman Catholic Archbishops are bound to be involved. They seek  and  wield tremendous power and influence in the political sphere. Big  city mayors  know their penchant for control all too well. Their  principal target for years  on end has been squelching women and girls –  even when they should have focused  on their own men and boys.

Scratch a bigot and you will always find a conspiracy monger.  People cannot disagree with a bigot on rational grounds.  It always has to be a result of a grand conspiracy.

In one stroke with ominous implications, there’s no such  thing as  Catholic justice or mercy for women on the Supreme Court, not even  from  a woman. The rock of Rome refuses to budge on women’s reproductive  rights  and the Supreme Court is getting good and ready to strike down  Roe v. Wade,  which became the law of the land 40 years ago. President  Clinton had it exactly  right in his formulation: abortion should be  safe, legal and rare.

Ah, if only she were correct in this analysis.  Actually Roe is quite safe, thanks to the almost certain votes of two of the six Catholics on the Court.

Meanwhile, the forces arrayed against women’s right to self-determination have been busy taking their campaign to the  statehouses. In  roughly half of them, women’s human rights have been  eroded. On the airwaves,  the anti-woman conspiracy goes on, with Rush  Limbaugh leading the pack of  thousands of men. He uses the Obamacare  contraception mandate to say, just  about every workaday, that young  women are just using the government to get  sex, or some such thing. He  wins the prize for virulently infecting the public  dis-coarse.

Too bad, eh Ms. Stiehm, that Limbaugh is not Catholic.  Or maybe, wink, wink, he is a secret convert!  If you had made such an allegation you could have kept on theme, and such a charge would have been just as sane as everything else you wrote.

With friends like Sonia, we don’t need opponents like Rush.

With “liberals” like you Ms. Stiehm, who needs the Klan?



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  1. I read a lot of things on the internet, and most of them are overreactions to something else on the internet. I followed the link to Stiehm’s article, and wow, she’s an anti-Catholic bigot. You’ve nailed it in connecting her bigotry to Know-Nothingism. I didn’t think a person could say this kind of thing any more (like, in the most recent 150 years) without being laughed, or thrown, off the stage.

  2. It was of course the Anglicans that Jefferson was concerned about. Baptists at that time were a persecuted minority in the South. Jefferson wanted to limit Anglican hegemony.

  3. Ms. Stiehm does not name names for she might have to prove her allegations against an Archbishop Lorri or an Archbishop Chaput in a court of law and be held accountable for her defamation and unsubstantiated statements. Ms. Stiehm, in her ferocious assault on Supreme Court Justice Sotomeyer blames Sotomeyer’s religion, Scalia’s religion, the nameless Archbishops’ religion, the Catholic Church’s religion, and every Catholic who dares to be Catholic and have religion for not allowing her to have and take victory in this War against Women as though the First Amendment had never been ratified. Ms. Stiehm incites to riot, mindlessly disturbing the peace, while poking the bear of real human rights violations with hearsay, unproven accusations and no name individuals. Without proof or provocation the bloodthirsty assault leaves no law, no Justice in place.
    Ms. Stiehm is full of hot air.

  4. Good for you Justice Sandra Sotomayor for maintaining the status quo by granting the Temporary Restraining Order in favor of the Little Sisters of the Poor.

    The sisters at Blessed Sacrament Grammar School and Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx would be very pleased with your sense of justice and proportionality. They no doubt helped you develop these noble virtues.

    Your parents would be proud; they raised a good Catholic girl.

    Stand strong against the anti-Catholic bigotry of Ms. Stiehm and other contemporary Know Nothings.

  5. I must have crossed paths with this miscreant, since we’re the same age and I was at Bryn Mawr when she was at Swathmore and we shared a bus linking the campuses. Stiehm is a bigot of the highest order, a journalistic parasite feeding off of the shock and legitimate anger if Catholics and conservatives and, most importantly, a very bad writer. Trying to wade through her oped is like taking a trip with Jean Valjean through the sewers. Truly wretched stuff.

  6. Surely, “piece of paper” was a slip of the pen; it should have been “a scrap of paper.”

    One can only imagine that, In this centenary year, Ms Stiehm was alluding to Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg’s famous remark.

  7. Michael P-S I finally got time this afternoon to look up you reference to the German chancellor’s famous remark.. ( we don’t want a day to go by without a new wrinkle in the grey matter) – interesting – a reference to the Treaty of London guaranteeing the safety of Belgium as merely a scrap of paper. Further reading shows that some of the bad things the Brits are blamed for in that era could be blameable on German maneuvers behind the scenes (Hindu–German Conspiracy)… a rabbit hole for me….

    back to the nuns and their scrap of paper– may it occupy an important place in history!

  8. I’ve read so many fisks on this in the last few days that this minor line leaped out a me: “the anti-woman conspiracy goes on, with Rush Limbaugh leading the pack of thousands of men. ”

    AAAAhhhhhh!!!! Thousands of meeeeeeeeeeen!!!!!!

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