Progressive Revival

Progressive Revival

The Stupak Amendment and why the Post Card Campaign would make it easy to Hate Catholics Right Now

Rev. Donna Schaper is the Senior Pastor at the Judson Memorial Church in New York City.    

William James in his
marvelous book, THE VARIETIES OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE, speaks of the transition
from Catholicism to Protestantism as the transition of the brocaded, artistic,
colorful Baroque to one man in a black suit carrying a black book which he
places on a plain table in an unornamented meeting house.  His observations are on target.   There is nothing perfect about
Protestantism.  Still it has a few
values that might make a non-violent approach possible for those of us who
spiritually and theologically value the right to choose an abortion.  With Hillary Clinton, many of us think
abortion should be safe, legal and rare. 
We also think it is a constitutionally guaranteed right.  We also have respect for the constitutional
promotion of a brocaded right to the separation of church and state.


When Roman Catholics
take up a separate offering to remove abortion from federal funding and send
their people home with an experience of the body of Christ – and a postcard to
send to their congressional representatives – they violate both the body of
Christ and the constitution.  These
are not small matters.  Some of us
are tempted to do more than growl: our stomachs churn at the deeper issue of
one theology dominating another, illegally.  Some of us find ourselves filling up with a kind of hate at
injustice, abuse of the constitution, power gone amok.  Some women are wearing T-shirts saying
that we are feminists formerly for Obama. 
Not me: I see what he is up against. We surely understand the President’s
dilemma and praise our baroque friends for their protection of immigrants,
gays, even women to a point in the new and overall positive health care
bill.  We sense ourselves eating different
bread but not being part of a different body.


The reason hate is so
tempting is that we are in fact so close to our Roman Catholic brothers and
sisters.  In the name of all that
is good about Jesus and his international body, I spend a good bit of time
praying for the hate and anger to subside.  I also pray for the right lawsuit to stop my sisters and
brothers from abusing the constitution by handing out post cards and taking up
special offerings.   Protestants may be plain but we frown on
this sort of imperial moral legislating. 
We actually believe in the separation of Church and State and hope no (consenting
and believing) Catholic will ever have an abortion.


It is not hateful to
call to account. Nor is it hateful to enjoy the right to be different.  While frowning on the temptation to
hate a group of unmarried men, namely the bishops, who don’t even represent
their people, who believe more than not in the right to choose an abortion
being protected by the federal government, we who are hurt and we who will be
hurt by the lack of funding for abortions have a right to call for strong
countervailing action.  A good
lawsuit against the postcards would go a long way towards resolving this dilemma.  Then we might go back to living on a fair
and even playing field when it comes to politics, theocracies and women’s

Comments read comments(16)
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Your Name

posted November 10, 2009 at 3:28 pm

Amen, sister. I can add nothing to your incisive remarks, except this. I am still old enough to remember a time when desperate, usually young, women were butchered by illegal abortionists or did considerable, sometimes fatal, harm to themselves trying to self-abort. I also remember the good Christians at Judson Memorial who compassionately and illegally took the risk of referring young women to doctors who would perform safe abortions. The doctors, of coure, also risked their careers and possibly even the threat of jail time.
We cannot under any circumstances go back to those horrible days

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posted November 10, 2009 at 3:38 pm

I support legalized abortion. I wish women wouldn’t need to seek an abortion, but they do, and it should be legal and safe for them to do so. What I don’t understand is why it’s necessary for the government to pay for it. Abortion is a choice, right? Isn’t that what I’ve heard? If it is a choice, then it is an elective medical procedure, and no more deserving of federal funding than other elective medical procedures.

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posted November 10, 2009 at 3:47 pm

“Separation of church and state” doesn’t apply to one’s motivations.
For example, some people believe in universal health care because they feel that their religious beliefs command them to help out the less fortunate. So would this be a violation of the separation of church and state?
Other people oppose war because of their personal religious beliefs. Should they not work for non-violence in the poltical arena because their motivations are religiously based?
To say so would be incorrect.
So why would be it unconstitutional for the Catholic bishops to lobby for the Stupak amendment as they believe that human life begins in conception?
Congress is limited from supporting or discriminating against any particular religion due to the 1st Amendment. However, there is nothing that limits Congress from taking their personal views, including religious views, into account when making laws.
The Stupak amendment doesn’t promote Catholicism. It is neutral in respect to any religion and thus does not raise any 1st amendment concerns. It simply doesn’t provide any federal funding for an elective medical procedure. As it doesn’t affect the legality of this elective medical procedure, it doesn’t violate the constitutional right of privacy guaranteed in Roe v. Wade. There is absolutely no constitutional problem and no violation of church and state here.
To require members of Congress to separate their religion from their political views would be impossible as our religious beliefs, or lack thereof, help shape our worldview.

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posted November 10, 2009 at 4:17 pm

When Roman Catholics take up a separate offering to remove abortion from federal funding and send their people home with an experience of the body of Christ…
I’m proud of Rev. Schaper for acknowledging that the healthcare legislation without the Stupak-Pitts Amendment contains federal funding for abortion (something Pres. Obama and other establishment politicians claim is excluded).  This flies in the face of so many other Progressive Revival posts that claim otherwise, including excerts from ex-Beliefnet blogger (& sojourner) Jim Wallis.
…And no doubt Rev. Schaper is equally peeved at Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Catholics United for their role in persuading parishioners to take up so-called progressive causes.  No doubt she would’ve wrote several “guest blogs” that would’ve been profiled on Progressive Revival shunning the eggregious violations of seperation of church & state.
This blog never ceases to amaze me.

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Ant c.

posted November 10, 2009 at 4:46 pm

The logic and reasoning skills behind this post are dead on arrival.
Of course voting your conscience, contacting your local officials to explain your stance on issues and collecting money to legally influence pending legislation has nothing to do with the separation of church and state.
“Protestants may be plain but we frown on this sort of imperial moral legislating.”
The writer seems to be under the delusion that Roman Catholic bishops can somehow force their own legislation through, instead of just being another group of constituents.
“A good lawsuit against the postcards would go a long way towards resolving this dilemma.”
So you would deny one group their voice simply because or disagree with what they are saying? This is incredibly anti-American.
This post is so bad that I am embarassed for the person that wrote it.

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Ellie Dee

posted November 10, 2009 at 6:46 pm

I completely agree with Ant C.
If you want to hate Catholics, because of they believe in the sanctity of Life. Than do so. On what moral ground do you then support killing a helpless life? At what stage of life, can we support on moral grounds, kill a life thats in the process of becoming? If choice is the issue, shouldnt we chose to be more responsible before we conceive? And lastly, on both the gay and abortion issue, the first mistake our Govenment made, was to involve themselves in the privacy of Americas bedrooms. Especially when both issues effect a persons moral values and core principles.

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posted November 10, 2009 at 7:37 pm

Per the First Amendment, there is NOTHING anyone in government or elsewhere can do to Catholics desiring to stand against abortion socially, politically, or religiously.
I applaud a bold move to stand up for the rights of the innocent unborn not to be murdered for someone else’s convenience.

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posted November 10, 2009 at 10:47 pm

-Mere Christian:
Congress cannot restrict the free speech of any religion but they can take away tax-exempt status. However, the chances of this are slim as it doesn’t seem politically viable. Plus, if they took away the tax-exempt status of one particular religion and not every religion then it could violate the 1st Amendment.

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Your Name

posted November 10, 2009 at 11:32 pm

I have no doubt that the vast majority of Catholics who were given those post cards after Mass will either throw them away when they get home, leave them in the car for months, or throw them in a drawer full of useless items when they get home. The majority of Catholics who voted in 2008 voted for Obama knowing full well he is Pro-Choice. Most Catholics do NOT want to be told by their priests and bishops WHO to vote for or WHAT to vote for. We may not “confront” our priest and tell him to “lay off the political talk at Mass”, but we will ignore any attempts to tell us that in order to be “good Catholics” we have to support a certain political party, political candidate, or political position. Amen!

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posted November 11, 2009 at 10:55 am

I hate the Catholic Right for the same reasons I hate fundamentalist Islam. They both have the same vision for our country. Only the theology is different.

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posted November 11, 2009 at 12:28 pm

What country you belong to has no berring on God’s laws. If you believe that life begins at conception then abortion is murder. NO state law can change that. God’s laws do not have loopholes.
In the west, animals have more rights than the unborn.
At least Catholics are consistant on this.
M. Theresa said, “that if abortion is not evil nothing is.”

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Nate W

posted November 11, 2009 at 2:59 pm

I find it quite rich that the website of your own church has plenty of stuff on it about “social justice” advocacy. I guess it’s only out of line when the vision of “social justice” another church is pushing for doesn’t agree with your own, huh?

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Nate W

posted November 11, 2009 at 3:05 pm

And I see you’re preaching against the amendment in your most recent sermon? There’s a word for people like this: “hypocrite.”

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posted November 12, 2009 at 9:33 am

Monk21 you would also have to beleive the death penalty is morally wrong
Unless you were one of those Life-Begins-At-Conception-and-Ends-At-Birth Catholics

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Julia Benedict

posted May 10, 2010 at 6:18 am

It was certainly interesting for me to read this article. Thanx for it. I like such themes and everything that is connected to this matter. I would like to read a bit more soon. BTW, pretty good design your blog has, but what do you think about changing it once in a few months?
Julia Benedict
London escorts asian

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posted September 30, 2010 at 11:03 am

It was many years ago we first selected Top Restaurants in the U.S. See it.

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