Home > Bold Faith Type > Catholic Bishop Repeats Right-Wing Smear About Islam in Health Care Law

Catholic Bishop Repeats Right-Wing Smear About Islam in Health Care Law

June 14, 2012, 12:01 pm | Posted by Nick Sementelli

Yesterday, the U.S. Catholic Bishops began their summer general assembly which prominently featured a long afternoon session on religious liberty. Following presentations from Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty Chair Bishop William Lori and Catholic University of America President John Garvey, the floor was opened for questions and comments from fellow bishops.

One of the bishops who took the mic was Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska. Prefacing his question with the caveat that he hasn’t actually read the Affordable Care Act, he asked about a rumor he had heard:

I haven’t had a chance to read the Obamacare Protection Act, but somebody told me that there’s a total exemption for Muslims in the back of that act, that all Muslims are exempt because insurance for Muslims is a type of gambling which is contrary to the Koran and therefore Muslims are not obliged in any way to observe the insurance mandate which derives from the act. I’m not sure if that’s true or not, I just want to know if any of you know anything about it.

The allegation that the Obama administration is giving broad exemptions to Muslim Americans is a self-evidently ridiculous right-wing myth meant to further shameful smears of the President as un-Christian and un-American.

It’s shocking to think that Bishop Bruskewitz not only believed there was a chance this smear was true, but also that he was willing to repeat it in a publicly-broadcast forum. When concerned Catholics warn of the dangerous influence of Republican politics among Church leadership lately, this kind of revelation only bolsters their point.

13 Responses to “Catholic Bishop Repeats Right-Wing Smear About Islam in Health Care Law”

  1. Mark Michaud says:

    What’s equally disturbing is that this church leader had not read the legislation. He was ready to buy into and further distribute misinformation based exclusively on hearsay and rumor!

  2. Joe Williams says:

    So, what was the answer he recieved?

  3. Rev. David Strommen says:

    Of course Bishop Bruskewitz is the most conservative Bishop among all the Catholic Bishops. So I don’t think it is a new thing that he would be listening to this stuff and being influenced by it.

  4. Greg Metzger says:

    Don’t stop with Bruskewitz!! The other part of this terrible moment is the terrible “answer” from Lori/Garvey. I outline the full story here:

  5. Dianne Roche says:

    Is this Bishop really the wide eyed innocent he proclaims himself to be in this question?

    Wide eyed yes. Innocent, I wonder. If one observes carefully when such questions are asked or when very self evident ridiculous statements are made, the human face exhibits this wide eye feature. The other is the slight, slow turning of the head from left to right, repeatedly. Watch Mitt Romney; he absolutely cannot control it. John McCain is the same way.

  6. Daniel Sanchez says:

    What an asinine question. I remember the day — not too many years ago — when we could look up to our Bishops as bastions of faith, good judgment and intelligence. Now many are this kind of right wing pandering fool. What a pity.

    • tkreacher says:

      There was never a time, years ago – or centuries – when we could look “up” to “our” Bishops as bastions of good judgement and intelligence.

      Firstly, because they declare themselves “holy” doesn’t put them in a position above anyone else.

      Secondly, dressing yourself up in ridiculous costumes and pretending to speak for some invisible wizard in the sky is exactly the opposite of good judgement and intelligence.

      • Daniel Sanchez says:

        I can only speak about my experiences and would never pretend to speak about yours, or for that matter, your own prejudices and bigotry. You seem to do a perfectly good job of revealing the latter all by yourself.

        What I can bear witness to were the actions of brave Catholic leaders who once stood for peace, social justice and economic equality. Those are gone now only to be replaced by fools such as the Bishop in this story. I find this situation to be disgusting.

  7. Joan Zekanis says:

    This man admits he has not read the Affordable Care Act but he repeats in a public forum a lie that he heard about Muslims and the Affordable Care Act. This shows you how intelligent he is and he is a Bishop? He knows nothing about Islam. This is a man of Christ??
    Our hierarchy has failed in their role as leaders of the Church. They all belong to the “good old boys club”. We need to pray for them.

  8. Dan Madigan says:

    One can expect stuff like that from Bruskewitz, but did you notice what Lori said in reply? He admitted that he hadn’t read the whole act. “I don’t really know,” he said. And the other idiots in the room laughed. They’re making a huge fuss of this, resorting to court cases, making the Catholic Church a laughingstock, and they have the temerity to laugh about the fact that the one leading the charge can make a joke about not having read the Affordable Care Act. And Garvey as well! President of CUA. He’s a lawyer for God’s sake, and he says he’ll have to ask the lawyers.

    Let’s imagine that this right-wing smear were true. One can make a good case for saying that under Islamic law insurance of this type is forbidden because it is a kind of gambling. Everybody knows that it’s a gamble. That’s why some people who could afford it don’t buy insurance. They take a gamble that they’re young and healthy enough not to need any expensive health care so the return on their stake would not be sufficient to make it a good bet. A solid principle of Islamic law is not to buy things that you cannot either quantify or actually see. What if I say I’ll sell you next year’s crop from my field for X, and next year’s crop turns out to be a complete failure? I might be prepared to take that gamble, and I’d probably try to get a lower price because of the uncertainty involved, hoping all the time that there’ll be a bumper crop and I’ll make a killing. Islamic law says such contracts of sale are invalid. If I say I’ve got a stack of old LPs in my house that I want to sell, Islamic law would say that the sale is not valid unless the buyer sees or can verify the size of the stack. That would be an interesting case for them to argue over. Some lawyers would probably say that such a contract of sale was invalid because the buyer had not sees the actual merchandise — the value of each disc would be different. If he’s taking a calculated risk on what he’s likely to find in that stack, then the contract would be invalid even if he had an idea of how many records there were. [You fascinate me. Tell me more.]

    Sorry for the excess detail, but what would our bishops say about a supposed Muslim exception apart from laughing about it as they did? Or what should they say if they are going to be consistent about this religious liberty campaign? They should defend to the death an exemption for Muslims, because it is arguably a settled issue of religious law. Somehow I don’t see that happening.

  9. me says:

    Oh my. He asked a question. A question which is politically incorrect. He admitted he didn’t know and he (I cringe even thinking about it) asked a question.

    Well. The nerve of that man. He admitted he didn’t know and asked if what he’d heard was true. A right winger, I’m certain of it. someone must s\Shut. Him. Up. Speaking in public, nay QUESTIONING in public is evidence of right wing taint and must be suppressed.

    The government will be unhappy with us. We will be unpopular. *gasp*

    DId he get an answer, or did he just get banned having the temerity to question (in public)?

    I guess we’re just supposed to keep all unapproved questions on the down low. LOL

    • Cathi says:

      Lol,,, my thoughts exactly. I’m still trying to figure out what he did so wrong? There are articles that indicate this is true online. Guess it just depends on what article you read.

  10. kevin says:

    Outrageous. Look what Rick-with-the-small… hath wrought. (Santorum) Opposition to this life saving-and-affirming legislation – the compete legislation, which respects EVERYTHING in our blessed
    constitution – reveals tragic ignorance.