Chicago's Cardinal Francis George is not the master of analogies by any stretch. Recently, when a persecuted minority wanted to walk by one his churches on a Sunday, they were "Nazis." Now, if someone requires that Health Insurers Provide a certain standard of care regardless of the religious affiliation of the insured employee, it's "identity theft."
Sadly, this remark seems to have followed upon the following (from the Chicago Tribune story):
"The difficulty of public discussion … is that the political is the highest level of public discourse," George said. "Therefore, the primary categories of discussion and mutual understanding are liberal and conservative. But they're not evangelical, Catholic or gospel categories. The categories that count in the Gospel are true and false. The bishops try to be people of God. And those are the first questions we ask is: 'Is it true or false?' Political terms are not adequate to discuss it."
The Cardinal recognizes the seriousness of his words, so this must mean he is just terrible at reasoning. Let's say we change the terms somewhat, and insist that a Jehovah's Witness who runs a hospital or university must, through a private insurer, provide coverage for blood transfusions. Yes, it's against their religion, alright. For them. But you just work for them. You are the janitor in Kingdom Hall, or you're their accountant. Unlucky you. I guess. How dare you steal their identity by wanting blood transfusions during surgery.
But we're talking about contraception for women. Not in the Tribune article, but in the local CBS story, was the Cardinal's very respectful and truth oriented threat: if some women can get the pill, the three percent of Catholics who actually care about this stuff will be forced to take their ball and go home.
“In order to do anything publicly, we’re going to have to cloak it in some kind of explicit religious circumstance that would not make it possible to run big universities and large hospitals as we’ve run them before,” George said.
The cardinal told members of the Union League Club downtown that the Church may otherwise sell its hospitals, pay penalties, or in a last resort, close them altogether, rather than offer birth control. George says offering birth control would be cooperating with evil.
The ad baculum, the appeal to force–that's what the Cardinal thinks the highest level of public discourse is.