Body Politics

Oh for the love of Voldemort. Reuters:

bishopsInternal Komen documents reviewed by Reuters reveal the complicated relationship between the Komen Foundation and the Catholic church, which simultaneously contributes to the breast cancer charity and receives grants from it. In recent years, Komen has allocated at least $17.6 million of the donations it receives to U.S. Catholic universities, hospitals and charities.Church opposition reached dramatic new proportions in 2011, when the 11 bishops who represent Ohio’s 2.6 million Catholics announced a statewide policy banning church and parochial school donations to Komen.

Such pressure helped sway Komen’s leadership to cut funding to Planned Parenthood, according to current and former Komen officials.

Stop it. Just be quiet already. Is there no eff-up that the bishops of my previous church aren’t intimately involved with? Any single one? If a memo comes out that has one of these American bishops suggesting to Rush Limbaugh that he start calling people “sluts,” I may have to reserve a flight to that moon colony Newt Gingrich is going to build.

You will note, dear reader, that there was never any question as to whether or not Komen should partner with the Catholic Church despite some very, very freaking notable investigations of that Church that conflict dramatically with Komen’s newly invented policy of not partnering with groups that are under “investigation.” You will also note that, to my knowledge, Planned Parenthood never pressured the Komen foundation to cut off their ties to the Catholic Church because of their extremely controversial pro-covering-up-child-rape policies, which suggests Planned Parenthood has significantly more grace than your average Bishop John Q. Vaginawatcher. Seventeen million dollars is a lot of money and, according to popular conservative logic, getting those grants frees up other “fungible” money for use by the church in their efforts to push back against child rape victims. (You may note I am decidedly not over that particular issue. Given that apparently they haven’t yet given up on fighting victims, I plead guilty.)

The problem for Komen, and for conservatives pressuring it, and for bishops pressuring it, is that once you politicize something as seemingly bipartisan as fighting against breast cancer, you’ve poisoned the effort. You’re saying that sure, saving lives is important—but not as important as your own moral edicts against unauthorized sexytimes. That’s asinine. From a religious standpoint, from an ethical standpoint, and even merely from a self-serving strategic standpoint, it makes you look like, well, this.

During my entire life, in the church and out of it, I have never seen the Catholic Church fight so hard for something as they have fought contraception and, yes, abortion. Poverty, social justice, civil rights—there are plenty of pronouncements against all, but I never seem to hear of anyone being threatened with excommunication or denied communion for being a racist, or treating the poor like crap, or being pro-death-penalty. No, it’s all about sex. Who should be having it, who should be condemned for it, and who should be punished in which ways for daring to have it. If I just once saw this nation’s Catholic leadership be as insistent with political leaders over that whole making sure children have enough food thing as they were about anything having the slightest bit to do with women’s vaginas, my goodwill for them would skyrocket. Instead, we get this. And we’ve been getting this, unrelenting, for decades.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published March 15, 2012, at Daily Kos. Photo by DonkeyHotey via Flickr photostream, used with Creative Commons 2.0 License.
Mike ”Hunter” Lazzaro

Mike ”Hunter” Lazzaro

As a Daily Kos contributing editor, Michael Lazzaro —a.k.a. ”Hunter”—has gained a reputation for passionate, explorative, and offbeat progressive writing. His wide-ranging essays and editorials are alternately probing and combative, provide stirring defenses of progressive and liberal ideals, and frequently explore the underlying dynamics of the progressive and liberal online communities themselves. An Internet consultant who currently makes his home in rural Northern California with his wife, child, and a varying assortment of animals, Michael helped design and build some of the very first e-commerce sites on the emerging World Wide Web.