A couple of big stories came out this week (neither of which have anything to do with Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court!).
The first is out of Michigan. The Attorney General of Michigan, Bill Schuette, has initiated a probe of the Catholic dioceses in Michigan prompted by the grand jury report recently published in Pennsylvania on sexual abuse by Catholic priests in that state. All seven dioceses in Michigan were subject to raids this week by police looking for any information on child abuse committed by priests in those dioceses.
No Catholic is unaware of, denies the reality of, or excuses the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church in the United States. While the progress the Church has made is rarely reported or acknowledged, it goes without saying that any effort to expose and remove any remaining canker of this infestation from the Church is worth the effort, even if it means involving secular institutions that are, at times, actively hostile to the Church.
What does upset Catholics, and rightfully so, is the selective outrage against the Catholic Church and the selective targeting of the Catholic Church by secular officials on the matter of the sexual abuse of minors. The investigation in Michigan and the raids on the Catholic dioceses is another example of this selective outrage and selective targeting. Bill Schuette became attorney general of Michigan in 2011. In 2016-2017, USA Today published a series of articles on child abuse in schools across the country. In one of those articles, USA Today graded each state on teacher background checks. Michigan received a grade of “F”. Michigan’s failing grade was the result of the following:
- weak screening of prospective hires
- weak mandatory reporting of misconduct on the part of teachers
- no information online about disciplinary actions taken against teachers
- some of the records of misconduct by teachers were not made available to other states (this would allow abusive teachers to get jobs in other states without that state being aware of their history of abuse)
You probably hadn’t heard of USA Today‘s series. It didn’t get much press.
I cannot find any information that Attorney General Schuette has initiated or conducted any investigations into child abuse in or on the background check policies of the Michigan public schools. Bill Schuette is running for governor of Michigan.
There is some good news out of Missouri. U. S. District Court Judge Audrey Fleissig struck down the meat of an ordinance passed by the City of St. Louis that hoped to make St. Louis something of a “sanctuary city” for so-called “reproductive rights” by prohibiting discrimination against persons based on their reproductive health choices.
The ordinance was challenged by Our Lady’s Inn, a ministry that provides shelter to pregnant women seeking alternatives to abortion, by the St. Louis Archdiocese’s elementary schools, and by O’Brien Industrial Holdings, LLC, whose owner is a devout Catholic. Our Lady’s Inn and the Archdiocesan schools claimed that the ordinance would have required them to employ people who were actively pro-abortion, contrary to their mission. O’Brien claimed that the ordinance would have required him to provide coverage to his employees for abortion, sterilization, and contraception, contrary to his faith as a Catholic. Judge Fleissig agreed with the challengers, citing the ordinance in violation of the First Amendment and Missouri’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. While she did not strike the ordinance down entirely, it will become essentially unenforceable against any entity or business that opposes abortion, sterilization, and contraception. The bottom line is, if you’re a pro-life organization, you cannot be forced to hire pro-abortion activists.
Sarah Pitlyk of the Thomas More Society, which represented the plaintiffs, criticized the ordinance: “This law that claims to protect abortion supporters from discrimination is actually an attempt to suppress the viewpoint of those who believe that abortion is harmful or wrong by making it impossible for them to operate in accordance with their beliefs within the City of St. Louis. … We are especially pleased with the Court’s acknowledgement that there is no evidence whatsoever of the kind of discrimination that this ordinance purports to address, because it exposes the law for the sham that it is.”
On the other hand, Alderwoman Megan Ellyia Green, who sponsored the bill, attempted to identify the ruling as an action in the purported war on women. Green said, “From the confirmation hearings of Brett Kavanaugh to restrictive laws passed at the state level, to this ruling, it is clear that reproductive health rights are under attack at every level of our government and every branch of our government. … Anti-choice extremists are intent on imposing their private religious beliefs on others in pursuit of their anti-woman agenda.”
Apparently, in Green’s mind, pro-life ministries, businesses, and churches who do not want to hire pro-abortion activists because the work they do is contrary to their faith and mission are simply “imposing their private religious beliefs” on these poor activists. “You won’t hire me because I will actively work to undermine the reason for your existence? Well, that makes you an anti-woman extremist!“
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.