The Catholic Church has once again been nominated for the Doublethink Award, given annually to the person or organization that most ingeniously epitomizes the Orwellian concept of 'doublethink'.
For those who have never read George Orwell's 1984, and for those who have not read it since … well, 1984 … doublethink is the ability 'to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancel out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them.'
"The Catholic Church this week has accomplished all of this and more," said Christopher Krosside, Executive Director of the Benevolent League of International Nurturers of Doublethink, in announcing the nomination.
Krosside was referring to a statement by the Catholic bishops' conference which said that a health insurance mandate allowing women to decide for themselves whether or not to use contraception, based upon the dictates of their own personal consciences, was "an unprecedented threat to religious freedom."
The bishops' statement was in response to a mandate by the Department of Health and Human Services that requires all health insurers to cover FDA approved contraception methods without a co-pay. The mandate does not require any person to use any form of contraception. It only increases the access women have to such services, which, of course, diminishes the ability of financially powerful individuals and organizations - such as the Catholic Church - to inhibit their use.
"The true gauge of the ingenuity of any application of doublethink is the response it generates," Krosside said in making the announcement for BLIND. "In this case, the depth of self-deception and confusion generated by the statement has been remarkable."
The impact of the bishops' statement was immediately felt in the United States presidential campaign, where Suzie of POM-POM instantly programmed a doublethink response into Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney. Romney, who as governor of Massachusetts made no effort to repeal a similar state law, said "this kind of assault on religion will end if I'm president of the United States."
Another candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, Newt Gingrich, who is Catholic and whose three marriages to progressively younger women have produced a total to two children, called the effort to allow women to exercise their individual freedom of religion "the Obama administration's attack on the Catholic Church."
"To be fair," Krosside said, "while it appears Gingrich made consistent use of contraception during the course of his several marriages, it is possible that he held himself to a more consistent moral standard during his countless extra-marital affairs. We don't know how many illegitimate little Newts there might be running around."
For his part, Gingrich denied ever having used any form of contraception, saying, "My wives gave me the cold shoulder for years at a time because I never put the toilet seat down."
Fellow candidate and Catholic Rick Santorum, who once consented to an abortion when his wife's life was in danger, indicated the administration was trying to "use their power to force people" to violate their beliefs. He neglected to say how making a service available forced anyone to do anything.
"But it's not unusual for candidates on the campaign trail to engage in doublethink to attack their opponents and tell their supporters what they want to hear," Krosside said. "The truly astonishing thing has been the utter inability of their opponents to see through the doublethink and respond in any logical manner. President Obama soon spoke of compromise. Bastions of normally intelligent discourse were flummoxed. The brilliant Tom Ashbrook, for example, on Friday led his weekly news round table in a half hour discussion of the issue on NPR, and not one of the panel members mentioned that the Catholic Church might be - even just a little, perhaps - attempting to force their religious views on the people who depend on their health care."
Krosside emphasized that BLIND takes no stand on the issue of birth control. They only hold a deep and abiding admiration for any individual or organization that ingeniously applies the art of doublethink.
"We are all big fans of the Catholic Church," Krosside said. "After all, long before Orwell coined the term 'doublethink,' the Catholic Church, whose morality is based upon the Ten Commandments, one of which is 'thou shalt not kill,' coined the term 'holy wars.'"
Now, Krosside said, after using its financial position to insert itself into the health care industry, the Catholic Church is claiming that their own religious freedom is undermined unless they are permitted to force their views on those who depend on their services.
"The coup d'état," Krosside said, "was the way the bishops advanced their agenda when they saw the effectiveness of the doublethink offensive. They immediately started talking about the right of Catholic business owners to force their religious beliefs upon their employees. Imagine that! A doublethink application, based upon the concept of freedom of religion, which might one day allow the Catholic Church, through wealthy Catholic business owners, to define the morality of countless employees, Catholic and non-Catholic alike. The same Catholic Church that for decades systematically allowed their priests to sexually abuse children entrusted to their care. Yes, that Catholic Church!
"It's true," Krosside continued, "that the Catholic Church won the Doublethink Award in 1996 for their support of the Defense of Marriage Act, a law that did nothing to address issues such as divorce or adultery among heterosexuals but actually denied federal benefits to married couples who were gay." He shook his head in admiration. "But this might be their best application of doublethink since Father Pedo Murphy convinced little Timmy Christianson that his parents were shameless sinners doomed to hell for utilizing condoms, while simultaneously showing the wide-eyed boy his 'wong-wong.'