There are worse things to call Sandra Fluke than the names Rush Limbaugh called her.
I’ll admit to wincing when I heard his comments last Thursday, and then when he doubled down on Friday.
The thing was, Ms. Fluke’s testimony notably avoided all details about her own sexual choices. Consequently, Rush’s use of the terms he used only had the effect of defaming her. In fairness, Rush was also responding to the context of her appearance, and the inferences anyone could draw from it. Here is this young lady willingly making a televised appearance before a Congressional committee, styling herself as spokesman for a body of female law students whose grim faces tell the story of all they’ve “suffered, financially and emotionally and medically,” from a lack of free contraception.
Rush’s comments unleashed several days of the rest of us having to listen to the indignant denunciations of both sides. The left’s opportunistic attacks on Rush there’s no need to chronicle, except to note their consensus that we’ve all just lived through the Foulest Insult Ever Uttered in All of Recorded History. On our side Monday Bill Bennett, whom I swear donned his whitest surplice for the segment, sanctimoniously bullied any callers daring to take issue with his denunciation of Rush, especially if they cited the left’s double standards and hypocrisy. We can’t descend to their level, he intoned.
Their level? We don’t even inhabit the same universe. The two sides aren’t even mad about the same thing. Conservative consciences are outraged by the word Rush used because it impugns a woman’s chastity. But between laughing at the idea of chastity and quoting expert findings that abstinence plays no role in preventing unwanted pregnancies, the left has no track record of treasuring that particular virtue. The only time the word “slut” sets liberal hounds baying is where its use suggests a moral distinction between chastity and the – so far – boundless sexual experimentation for which our forebears fought and died, or something like that, in the storied upheaval of the 1960s. The left doesn’t give any more of a damn about Sandra Fluke’s besmirched honor than they did about Cindy Sheehan’s fallen son: Ms. Fluke is a willing and useful idiot, and both Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama have used her as one the best they could.
Now Rush has apologized, and in true liberal style Ms. Fluke is refusing to accept his apology, because doing so would mean dropping the subject, and these people aren’t ready to drop it yet by a long shot.
And so the opportunistic lefty criticisms of Rush continue, while I guess we’re all stipulating that Ms. Fluke is not a lewd woman. Fine with me. And I’ve even read a few conservative commentators generous enough to say that, while they don’t agree with her on the contraception issue, they’ve no objection to her activism, which is, of course, her right.
Well, I have an objection to her activism. I don’t see it as morally defensible to select a church-affiliated law school that refuses to fund birth control with the express purpose of undermining its principled position.
Which is exactly what Sandra Fluke did when she selected Georgetown as her law school. As reported at the Jammie Wearing Fools blog, “In one of her first interviews she is quoted as talking about how she reviewed Georgetown’s insurance policy prior to committing to attend, and seeing that it didn’t cover contraceptive services, she decided to attend with the express purpose of battling this policy.” (“Sandra Fluke’s Appearance Is No Fluke”).
And as far as I’ve been able to find out, Ms. Fluke’s not even Catholic.
And yet she has purposely made herself into a weapon to attack a fundamental teaching of the Catholic faith. The victory she was aiming for wasn’t free contraception at all, but forcing the Church to step down from the moral high ground to her ground. She wasn’t so much a student in Georgetown as a sapper.
Obviously, a social activist like Ms. Fluke, savvy enough to get noticed even before all this leading a host of lefty causes -- and then get into Georgetown’s law school -- doesn’t need the Jesuits to buy her birth control. She can get her own. But that isn’t what she wants.
What she wants is for the Church to give her the Pill. She wants the Pope and all those bishops who stand in contradiction to her values to give in, and admit that 98% of Catholics and 100% of the modern world must be right, and Christ and His Church must be wrong.
Kathleen Sebelius, who is a Catholic, showed the same single-mindedness in mandating away the Church’s freedom of conscience. That didn’t have anything to do with achieving any political goal of the Obama administration, either, because Obamacare was already a Leviathan; in fact, Sebelius could have saved the President a lot of flak by just granting the waiver the Church requested. But Sebelius’s motives were elsewhere.
Politics doesn’t explain everything, and it doesn’t explain this, because this isn’t primarily a political clash. Sebelius and Ms. Fluke’s objectives are not political ones, but spiritual, (bearing in mind that “spiritual” isn’t a synonym for “good”): they want the Church’s shepherds to corrupt themselves, and through them, to corrupt the Church.
Cathy Cleaver Ruse at the Wall Street Journal Online asks it this way: “Should Ms. Fluke give up a cup or two of coffee at Starbucks each month to pay for her birth control, or should Georgetown give up its religion?” (“Limbaugh and Our Phony Contraception Debate”).
Clearly, Ms. Fluke chooses the latter, but for something much more important than her Starbucks. Besides, hasn’t she already proved her willingness to give things up? She already told us she gave up being educated elsewhere so she could fight to get the Jesuits into giving up Humanae Vitae.
Whether people know it or not, the Church recognizes sins far graver than fornication -- sins against the soul that are far deadlier than those of mere bodily weakness. In early 20th century Mexico, the bitterly anticlerical government tormented the Church with a hundred humiliations, including forcing priests to marry. The idea being, once make them break their solemn vow of celibacy, and then what good will they be to the faith? Lacerating the conscience has always been the weapon of choice for the pimp, the pusher, the pederast, and the dictator.
What do I care if Sandra Fluke is sleeping around? Or if she’s prim and pure as Sister Carol Keehan?
That’s not what disgusts me about Sandra Fluke. It’s not her sexual choices that matter, so much as her spiritual ones. What disgusts me about her is that she’s out to destroy my Church.
And I don’t really know if there’s a single word to call people like her.
But if there is, it’s a damned sight uglier than “slut.”