Sometimes the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops can be, well ... perplexing.
According to a Feb. 14 post at the website of The Washington Times:
While the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has attacked President Obama's new mandate that religious institutions pay for their workers' contraception, the group also has pushed more quietly for a Democratic proposal to extend the unemployment insurance benefits.
The Rev. Stephen E. Blaire, chairman of the bishop's Domestic Justice and Human Development Committee, has told lawmakers that extending an expiring unemployment benefits package for the long-term jobless is 'a moral obligation to help protect the life and dignity of unemployed workers and their families.'
As orthodox Catholic author Steve Kellmeyer points out:
Alright, this is just absurd. On the one hand, the USCCB is attacking Obama for forcing them (the bishops) to pay for contraception. On the other hand, the USCCB is pushing forward the idea that taxpayers should pay to extend unemployment insurance (again).
And that's just the beginning of the rich irony. You see, almost none of the parishes in the United States pay unemployment insurance. They get dispensed from the mandate to do so because they are religious organizations. So, if you are employed by a Catholic parish and you get laid off, so long, sucker. You can't collect unemployment because your bishop hasn't paid into unemployment for you....
At the risk of being absolutely gauche, might I point out that if the bishops really wanted unemployment benefits applied, they might try paying into the system themselves? I mean, isn't it remarkable that a system they are recommending so strenuously to others is something they themselves deliberately refrain from doing?
As I said, sometimes the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops can be, well ... perplexing. Don't get me wrong: It's great that the bishops are opposing the Obama contraception mandate -- I hope they continue to do so -- but things like this make me scratch my head.