October 14, 2016
The breathtaking insults contained in the Clinton campaign emails about the Catholic Church reveal a conviction that everything in life must be reduced to politics, and for extra measure, they smear all religious believers and especially women of faith.
A few important points are missing from current reactions to the breathtaking insults contained in the Clinton campaign’s anti-Catholic emails.
First, no one, ever again, should have to remind religious Americans that their salvation does not lie in politics. This isn’t just about the Clinton campaign or just about Catholics. It’s rather about the beast that politics is.
In its mind, all is politics - whether grist for politics, or an obstacle to be smashed or subverted for political ends.
I remember seeing this side of Clinton in 1995. There had been a U.N. Conference on women in 1994 in which the Holy See delegation rallied the world successfully to shut down the U.S. delegation’s move to force elective abortion rights on dozens of unwilling countries. Clinton had led this delegation.
I had been a press representative on the Holy See side. The First Lady’s office therefore called me before the next U.N. meeting, purring about our common interests regarding women and the poor and inviting me over to the White House. I declined on the grounds of work, but invited them to drop by my office anytime.
Two of her representatives did. The conversation was strictly an attempt to flatter the Church in order to prevent a face-saving loss for the U.S. in round two.
Second, the Clinton campaign email scandal is also about all religions, not only Catholicism. This isn’t strictly because the campaign ridiculed Evangelicals as reputedly less intellectual than Catholics. It’s because the Clinton campaign wants us all to practice a different religion - Hillaryism.
That is, whatever is in Clinton’s image and likeness and according to her judgments of good and evil. If we refuse, then we have broken rule #1: everything must be reducible to politics.
I have no illusions about any political campaign. I live and work in the DC political orbit. But today it is Clinton’s campaign that has some “‘splainin’ to do” where religious people are concerned.
Third and finally, the campaign also has some explaining to do where religious women are concerned.
The lazy way in which the Clinton campaign slanders Catholicism as “severely backwards” on gender issues, should be a wake up call for religious women generally. We know the freedom we experience precisely as religious women. We know that survey after survey shows practicing religious women to be happier and even more satisfied with their relationships and their sexual lives.
But the “brief” against our way of life - the brief that holds our way of life to contradict and not to uphold equality and freedom - is a big one. We have a lot of work to do to flip this lazy slander.
Helen M. Alvaré is Professor of Law, Scalia Law School at George Mason University and Founder of ‘Women Speak for Themselves‘.