Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Catholic Contraception "Controversy"

98% of Catholics use birth control proscribed by the hierarchy
The current heat over requirements that employers such as universities and hospitals that are affiliated with churches provide full health insurance coverage, including access to contraception is based on some misinformation regarding who supports the Affordable Care Act regulations and who is raising a ruckus claiming the Obama administration is engaged in a "war on religion" as some sort of secularist plot. While the Catholic hierarchy set off this controversy, the shock troops against the administration are mostly coming from elsewhere.

The graph below shows current polling on public support, broken down into denominational factions ("white evangelicals" is an unfortunate-but-necessary separate race-based category, because the right-wing white populism that has infected many self-defined evangelicals among the GOP's largely lily-white base is a more defining characteristic than their asserted Christian values - values which are interpreted quite differently among very traditionalist or fundamentalist Christians who are also informed by the real-world experiences of African-Americans.)

Note that support for the contraception coverage is even higher among Catholics than the general population, while "white evangelicals" - i.e. demographic terrain for a major "usual suspects" segment of the hard-core GOP base among resentment-driven white cultural populists - are the predictable locus of dissent  :

 Via Wonkblog.

The fallout of this episode - wherein the President is supported not only by most citizens but by most Catholics - is that in service of the GOP's desperate last-ditch partisan wars of cultural and racial resentment, we get nutty stuff like this coming from the mouth of Rick Santorum:   "This is a very hostile president to people of faith. He’s a hostile president, not just to people of faith, but to all freedoms." 

Santorum, true to form, is some combination of irresponsible and perverse in his mendacious mudslinging.  In fact, Santorum himself is hostile to freedom in that he has expressed opposition not just to a woman's right to choose as regards abortion, but to all forms of birth control. He is on the extreme wing of the anti-gay equality crusades. Santorum is shouting from the gutter. That he cloaks his hate and lies in high-volume religiosity makes them just that much more disgusting.