Yes, anyone has a right to petition government, including religious leaders, as did Martin Luther King, most notably. The difference is that Protestant or Jewish leaders advocating certain social programs are informing their views based on what they perceive as doing good. The Catholic Church, however, is different in these respects:
- It insists its doctrine become law.
- It requires politicians to vote according to religious canon over what their constituentsmay want or face damnation, or at least denial of the sacraments. However it will not allow priests to hold high elective office, forcing from the House some years ago Father Robert Drinan – resign or be defrocked – because he was a liberal and, even worse, an intellectual policy expert
- It ordered 30-some liberal-to-moderate Democrats in the House last Friday how to vote on an amendment that the bishops negotiated, after they had seemingly been all right with a less vicious attack on women’s health the day before.
Shame on the church but bigger shame on the Democrats who violate their oath of office by paying allegiance to the Vatican over the United States.
Then today, the Washington Post reports the Church is threatening to end their faith-based contracts with the District of Columbia to provide social services, including help to the homeless if the City Council passes, as is likely, same-sex marriage legislation that forbids discrimination against like-gendered couples.
Somehow, this seems un-Christian. But acting that way, of course, is the entire history of the Catholic Church, isn’t it?
However, among the institutions lower in my estimation than the Catholic Church is the Republican Party. You want hypocrisy? Take a look at my favorite author’s investigative piece showing that the insurance plan for employees of the Republican National Committee covers abortion.