Thursday, January 27, 2011

Legalism v. compassion

My friend and debate partner sent me this story. It's about a Catholic Hospital that performed an abortion to save the life of the mother. The local bishop had a hissy-fit and excommunicated the nun on the hospital's ethics committee that approved the procedure. The hospital refused to fire her. So the bishop excommunicated the whole hospital. The response was to drop it's Catholic affiliation and go about its business healing people.

There has long been a conflict around what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Some have felt the solution is personal holiness -- if I follow all these rules, perform all these rituals, avoid those bad things, then I'm properly following Jesus. This is also known as legalism. Others, including myself, say the proper response is compassion, no matter the rules.

This tussle between Catholic hierarchy and Catholic institutions is likely to get bigger.

Lisa Miller in Newsweek notes another reason why Congresscritters are so antagonistic these days. Most of them leave their spouses and families back in their home state. The House calendar is now designed to encourage that. The spouses, especially the wives, used to socialize together a lot and they were the ones who made sure lawmakers saw opponents as people, not simply as an enemy.

All during the crafting of last year's health care bill, reports Ezra Klein in Newsweek, the GOP forced the Dems (several times) to go to the Congressional Budget Office to get the bill analyzed. The final bill was fiscally responsible.

The CBO has long been firmly non-partisan, reporting only on the cost of a bill. But with the GOP trying to savage the health care law, the CBO is coming under fire. The GOP is now claiming the law will add to the deficit, something the CBO refutes. So the GOP says the numbers are "smoke and mirrors" and is trying to abolish the CBO.

File this one under the GOP working hard to make government not able to work.

No comments:

Post a Comment