"[It] is quite unlawful to demand, defend, or to grant unconditional freedom of thought, or speech, of writing or worship, as if these were so many rights given by nature to man."
-Pope Leo XIII-
Face it, we live in a country in which the KKK can adopt "We shall overcome" as a song about their own struggle for freedom, where the unrepentant South can pretend that their secession was about protecting freedom -- and where only a 'genetically inferior Liberal,' as Allen West, Republican candidate for Congress in my district calls me, would mention anything like irony.
So really, I shouldn't be surprised to read in the local paper that the Roman Catholic churches of the Florida's Treasure Coast are hosting a "Fortnight for Freedom," in a pathetic attempt to avoid having to comply with the demand that in return for the tax exempt status they consider their due, they treat secular employees in the way that other employers must do. Perhaps the hope is that while a major political party, fond of asserting nearly absolute personal freedom can get away with saying "Take your government hands off my Medicare," they can get away with campaigning against reproductive rights, the equality of civil rights and other guarantees of a secular Democracy.
Forgive my recurrent mention of irony and my ridicule of organizations that promote freedom only when it suits the need to maintain authority, but if there is one single organization that has campaigned against religious and even secular freedom longer than any other in the Western world, it is the Roman Catholic Church, and please remember that heresy is just another word for religious freedom. We've had nearly 2000 years of genocide, repression, torture, war and the most grizzly executions imaginable resulting from claims to divine authority. A decent respect to the opinions of mankind, as Jefferson wrote in 1776, seems always to have been at odds with the peremptory proclamations of God's enforcers, and the idea that we the people have an innate and inalienable right to liberty and pursuit of happiness that owes nothing to the demands of priests, preachers and shamans is clearly anathema to the Catholic Churches of the Treasure Coast, much to their shame.
The fact is that nearly all American Catholics ignore the ban on birth control that is based on a rather flimsy interpretation of what their God(s) said to a man who never existed in a time long before birth control was an option. This embarrassing little attempt has little support amongst anyone but churchmen (Church women have no vote and are sworn to obedience anyway) and it certainly has nothing to do with our freedom. I hope that some people, even in this stupefyingly religious and resoundingly Republican part of the country, will see through it.