Kennedy and Obama vs. Catholic Church and Fox

Something’s been gnawing at me since Andrew posted video of Congressman Patrick Kennedy proving once again why we should all hope his handlers keep him well away from any real power, and it took a revistation of Ed Achorn’s concern about the Obama administration’s jihad against Fox News to jar the pest loose. Here’s Achorn:

The White House’s declaration of enemy status for Fox seems to reflect a growing disrespect throughout our society for free speech, the wellspring of America’s greatness and generous spirit. A president of all Americans, even those who disagree with him, should have the grace and bigness to realize that.
Ominously, growing numbers of Americans seem to think that it is illegitimate for anyone to have an opinion at variance with their own. And that those who disagree — or would report facts that challenge their viewpoint — become a fit target for retaliation, punishment, abuse, even the coward’s art of slander.

Kennedy’s dismissing the Church’s easily foreseeable objection to the probability that the Democrats’ version of healthcare reform will fund abortions as a “red herring,” and his declaration that the bishops are sowing “dissent and discord” is precisely in the line of Achorn’s criticism.

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Mike P
Mike P
11 years ago

Kennedy is obviously a moron. How come it’s not a “red herring” when the Catholic church speaks out in favor of illegal immigration?
As far as Obama and Fox News goes…he is overstepping his bounds. If his administration does anything serious to silence them I’d like to believe that the other networks will close rank around them. If not we are doomed.

Mike Cappelli
Mike Cappelli
11 years ago

Let’s remember that we’re talking about Patrick Kennedy everyone. Probably one of the most retarded individuals every to sit in Congress. While generally against abortion, I would have made one exception – for his mother.
Listening to Kennedy on the radio left me wondering if he was drunk, stoned or some combination of the two. Tough to say.

BobN
BobN
11 years ago

I’ll say it again: Patches is the national poster child for fetal alcohol syndrome.

old gray fox
old gray fox
11 years ago

It’s about time Tobin spoke out about Catholic politicians suppoting abortions. He never said a word during the last elections. I often wonder if Kennedy graduated from Providence College of if his father had a shill for him taking tests. Is there anyone that went to college with him??? People in Rhode Island must have their heads up their you know what.. He has the support from Unions, seniors and Latinos.I still think he is on drugs and booze.

rhody
rhody
11 years ago

I still think the GOP could take Patrick if it runs a pro-choice woman (although just about any Republican capable of taking Patrick would be condemned as a RINO). He could’ve made the same point with much more sublety.
The other networks would close ranks and support Fox…if not for the simple matter than FNC throws just as many bombs at the other networks as it does at Obama (witness O’Reilly trying to blackmail GE CEO Jeff Immelt into firing Olbermann with that garbage about GE parts in Iraqi IEDs). Personally, though, I think the Obama administration’s being a little heavy-handed – I’d rather see them just make fun of FNC (which will get O’Reilly and Hannity’s respective goats much more than complaining about them).

Andrew
Editor
11 years ago

Rhody, the problem with your analysis is that if, for example, Elizabeth Dennigan had switched her party affiliation to Republican and had decided to run for Congress in her district-of-residency, wouldn’t you be first in line to accuse anyone who questioned her Republican credentials of unreasonably attacking a true “moderate”?
OT Inquiry: As our resident expert on North Providence, any opinion on Frank Ciccone trying to take out Charlie Lombardi’s job?

steadman
steadman
11 years ago

Mike Cappelli said: “Let’s remember that we’re talking about Patrick Kennedy everyone. Probably one of the most retarded individuals every to sit in Congress. While generally against abortion, I would have made one exception – for his mother.
Listening to Kennedy on the radio left me wondering if he was drunk, stoned or some combination of the two. Tough to say.”
greatest cappelli comment ever, sums it all up

Tara
Tara
11 years ago

“Ominously, growing numbers of Americans seem to think that it is illegitimate for anyone to have an opinion at variance with their own. And that those who disagree — or would report facts that challenge their viewpoint — become a fit target for retaliation, punishment, abuse, even the coward’s art of slander.”
Great point in this quote, but remember this when you next discuss Donna Hughes and the prostitution law in Rhode Island.

Tabetha
Tabetha
11 years ago

I dislike Patrick Kennedy and think that at least his antics will probably keep him from ever rising any further than he already has. Additionally, I think that any attempts to silence voices of dissent in the media will only lead to the loss of freedom. I do not like the idea, however, of the Catholic Church being involved in legislation. Everyone has the right to vote his/her conscience and freely practice their religion. I just don’t want other people to impose their religion on me. As a non-Catholic, why should I be subjected to Catholic doctrine? Doesn’t that violate the first amendment as well?

Justin Katz
11 years ago

Tabetha,
The First Amendment forbids Congress from “establishing” a national religion or forbidding the practicing of religion. Of course, our fading allowance of federalism has led to Congressional rules’ being binding on state governments, as well.
Nonetheless, if Catholics (for example) were prevented from working to pass legislation in accordance with their beliefs, then the government would effectively be establishing a non-Catholic religion. You have no right, in other words, to disenfranchise Catholic voters or the Church as an organization. You have every right to oppose and work against legislation with which you disagree, but not to develop a rule that Catholics’ beliefs must be excluded from the legislative process.

rhody
rhody
11 years ago

I agree with Tabetha – pretty ironic that the same class of folks who complained that the election of Patrick’s uncle meant Rome would dictate to the United States now welcome Rome’s interference in our affairs (and I speak as the product of 13 years of Catholic education). Bishop Tobin has the right to participate in political affairs, but not the right to demand we all kiss his ring, Catholic or not.
Andrew, I’m not a one-issue voter. While I disagree with Langevin on abortion, I’m also impressed by his standing up to the bishops who put John Kerry on wafer watch over abortion. On balance, I support him.
As for Ciccone-Lombardi, I don’t see Charlie getting knocked off unless he gets caught with his hand in the till. I don’t particularly like him, but the ship is clean compared to the one his predecessor ran.

Patrick
Patrick
11 years ago

“I don’t particularly like him, but the ship is clean compared to the one his predecessor ran.”
HA!! Buddy Freaking Cianci ran a clean ship compared to Charlie’s predecessor. The only difference is one has served time.

Tabetha
Tabetha
11 years ago

If the Catholic (or any church) has legislation passed based on their doctrine, then that IS establishing a state religion. It is a slippery slope from there to Sha’ria law. Would anyone here enjoy living in an Islamic country with Sha’ria law? I doubt it. Then why defend legislation base only on religion? Naturally you would need a majority vote, and I don’t think that would happen, but it is conceivable that a law such as outlawing all contraception and sterilization could, for example be passed by a majority. Then, Catholic or not, folks are stuck with few options for birth control. How is there freedom in that? Catholics and all others are free to follow their religious beliefs. Not creating legislation based on them does not exclude Catholics from freely practicing in any way, shape, or form. It just means that non-Catholics are not forced to follow a doctrine that they do not believe in. In countries where the laws are based on a religious practice, all people are forced to effectively follow that religion and are therefore precluded from having religious freedom. Part of what sets the US apart from such nations is that we do NOT allow a religion to dictate our law. Saying that there shall be not state religion but then that it is fine to create legislation based on a religious doctrine seems contradictory to me. Why should any religious leader, be it the pope, a bishop, a rabbi, or a mullah, be allowed to dictate the law for all people regardless of their personal belief systems?

Justin Katz
11 years ago

Not creating legislation based on them does not exclude Catholics from freely practicing in any way, shape, or form.

First of all, you’ve changed the terms of the debate significantly. I’m not arguing that “not creating legislation” excludes Catholics; I’m arguing that “not allowing legislation to be created” does. Suggesting that voters cannot act according to the set of their beliefs that you define as wholly religious in nature denies their right to self-government.
Suppose I believe that the strength of marriage as a public institution depends on a strong message across social strata (e.g., religion and government) setting sexual relationships between men and women apart as something distinct and worthy of acknowledgment. Disallowing me from working toward legislation that would define that principle into the law would disenfranchise me.

Why should any religious leader, be it the pope, a bishop, a rabbi, or a mullah, be allowed to dictate the law for all people regardless of their personal belief systems?

Why are you so dismissive of your fellow Americans? I’m not suggesting that the structure of our government should be changed to permit religious leaders to set government policy. I’m suggesting that religious leaders have a right to explain their religious principles to followers and that their coreligionists have a right to advocate and vote in such a way as to shape their government. This is a fundamental right, and disagreeing with it is tantamount to dictatorship, only a dictatorship in which government must conform with your sense of what individuals ought to be allowed to do. Thus do libertarians drift toward totalitarianism of the id.
You simply cannot prove an individual “right” to anything without an ultimately religious belief of some kind.

Tabetha
Tabetha
11 years ago

Interestingly it seems that for both of us totalitarianism is a concern. However we each seem to be concerned that the path towards a totalitarian government might be achieved through opposing routes. From what I gather, you believe that not allowing for a religious influence in government disenfranchises people of said religions and thus leads to a totalitarian secular government. I believe that allowing for a religious influence can eventually allow a particular religion to get a stranglehold on our government and lead to a theocracy in which religious freedom would quickly be abolished. So, while I think that you craft an intelligent argument and are quite a good debater, at the end of the day we are both too entrenched in our own idealogical camps to really arrive at a common ground. I do believe that this is when the phrase “agree to disagree” becomes of good use. Neither of us is about to sway to the other, so I think we should just accept that we each have different perspectives.

Justin Katz
11 years ago

There may be a key difference between our two positions: I’m not saying that any particular point of view should be considered inapplicable in the development of legislation. In all cases, though, I would insist on maintaining structural democracy: Our Constitution must continue to guarantee representative democracy, and people must always be free to (1) work to change their government and (2) leave.

Tabetha
Tabetha
11 years ago

Well, according to your perspective, how would we stop the majority from imposing their religion on everyone else? I think everyone should be free to practice their religion but they should not be allowed to impose their religion on others. I am not excluding viewpoints but rather saying that all ideologies should be protected (within the bounds of public safety). The Constitution does protect freedom of religion and thus any law that would infringe upon freedom to practice as one chooses would be un-Constitutional. I agree that the people should be allowed to work for change but it should be within the bounds of the Constitution. Changes that could lead towards the establishment of a state religion would violate the Constitution.

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