On Wednesday’s “The O’Reilly Factor” on the Fox News Channel, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York and a man considered the post powerful cleric of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States, leveled the charge that the Obama administration and its supporters are attempting to divide the Catholic Church.
Dolan said that the issue of contraception is being used as a political tool, and that its use is infringing on religious freedom.
“You are right on target,” Dolan said, addressing that the church’s position on banning contraception is unpopular with large sections of the American public. “It’s a tough battle because of that, and our opponents are very shrewd because they have chosen an issue that they know we are not very popular on and that is why, Bill, we have to be vigorous in insisting that this is not about contraception — it’s about religion freedom. And I don’t want to judge people, but I think there would be a drift in the administration that this is a good issue and if we can divide the Catholic community (because it’s already divided) and if one can caricature the bishops as being hopelessly out of touch — these bullies who are trying to achieve judicially and legislatively what they’ve been unable to achieve because their moral integrity was compromised recently. There is the force out there trying to caricature us, alright? But we can’t back down from this fight because it’s about religion freedom — it’s close to the heart of the democratic enterprise what we know and love and the United States of America is all about.”
Dolan dismissed the notion that there is a wall between church and state, saying that it isn’t the church itself that wants to be a force in American politics, but its members.
“The Catholic Church wants its people to be a player in the American politics. Twenty-eight percent of the population of the United States are Catholics, OK? And the Catholic Church, through them, you bet, wants to have a say in the direction of our beloved country,” he said. “To think that there is a Berlin Wall between one’s religious convictions and one’s political activity is crazy. It’s ludicrous. It’s not only non-Catholic, non-Christian, non-biblical, it’s also un-American.”
Dolan added that these efforts to undermine the church are “un-American” because there has been a traditional role for religion in matters of politics.
“You know that every great movement in American history has been driven by people of religious conviction, and if we duct tape the churches — I’m just not talking about the Catholic Church — if we duct tape the role of religion and churches, and morally convince people in the marketplace, that is going to lead to a huge deficit, a huge void, and there are many people who want to fill it up, namely a new religion called secularism, OK, which would be as doctrinaire and would consider itself as infallible as they caricature the other religions doing. So, to see that morally-driven, religiously-convinced people want to exercise their political responsibility, I think that is not only the heart of biblical religion — it is at the heart of the American enterprise.”