The Religious Right has gone into a frenzy over the nomination of of Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius to Obama’s cabinet, to head up Health and Human Services. As CNN reports, they have not yet forgiven her for having vetoed Republican-promoted legislation which would have made abortion difficult in Kansas:

“Sebelius’ support for abortion is so far off the charts that she has been publicly criticized by the last three archbishops of Kansas City,” [head of the Catholic League Bill] Donohue said in a statement. …

In May, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, said that Sebelius’ stance on abortion had “grave spiritual and moral consequences.” He asked that Sebelius no longer receive Communion until she repudiated her stance and made a “worthy sacramental confession.”

Naumann was reacting to Sebelius’ veto of state Senate Bill 389 and the subsequent House version, titled the Comprehensive Abortion Reform Act, either of which would have tightened abortion regulations in Kansas.

In shooting down SB 389 in April, Sebelius wrote that the bill was problematic because it included no exceptions for pregnancies that endanger a woman’s life and it allowed for individuals to seek court orders preventing a woman from obtaining an abortion, even if the procedure was necessary to save her life.

“I am concerned that the bill is likely unconstitutional, or even worse, endangers the lives of women,” Sebelius said in a statement.

She further said that Kansas had striven to lower its abortion rates through adoption incentives, extended health services for pregnant women, sex education and support services for families.

I’m not quite sure why these advocates of the Catholic Church believe that the secular government is required to operate only inside the borders of Roman Catholic doctrine. After all, we’re not living in the Middle Ages when the papal bull Unam sanctam was issued. The Catholic Church does not run the country, nor should it. Why Bill Donohue and a Catholic archbishop are assuming authority over the US government, I don’t know.

Donohue is a miserable creature in any event; he’s spouted off maliciously on any number of topics … have a look if you care to hear anything this creature has had to say. The other usual suspects, such as Focus on the Family and Operation Rescue, are also foaming at the mouth over Sebelius’s nomination to HHS.

But the CNN report goes on to say that some Catholic conservative politicians (e.g. former US Senator from Kansas, Sam Brownback) are not against this nomination. What’s more, some progressive Catholic groups are speaking out in opposition to Donohue, as US News & World Report explains:

[T]he first faith-based political outfit to respond to word of Sebelius’s nomination was the progressive Catholic organization Catholics United, which E-mailed reporters on Saturday explaining why “Catholics Applaud Nomination of Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as HHS Secretary.” The group, founded after the 2004 election, also launched a new Catholics for Sebelius website.

I’ll be interested to see if these progressive advocates are able to put a drag on the Religious Right’s efforts to keep Sebelius out of the Cabinet.

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