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Monday, November 23, 2009

Bishops May Flex Muscle..........

In the health care debate, for instance, the bishops have consistently identified three priority areas: abortion, religious conscience clauses and immigrant rights. The pressure from the church to ease restrictions on immigrants was “not even close” to the abortion language tug of war. The church’s strategic decisions are significant because, Catholics represent 30 percent of the largest single religious group among members of Congress and it can gain access across party lines.

But it remains to be seen if the bishops can have the same results as the broader health bill moves forward or on more complex life issues such as embryonic stem cell research. The bishops simultaneously contacted House Republican leaders and warned them against using procedural tactics to torpedo any amendment. The Catholic bishops have also allied themselves with advocates for labor rights and the poor because of the church’s traditional advocacy for the downtrodden.

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