Sunday, June 07, 2009

Riddle Me This

President Obama made a surprising appointment last week:

President Barack Obama's appointment of Alexia Kelley, founder of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, as director of the Department of Health and Human Services' Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives took the pro-choice movement by surprise. On Thursday, the day that news of the appointment leaked out, Marcia Greenberger, co-president of the National Women's Law Center and a quintessential Washington insider, told me that she "hadn't heard anything about it till today, and we are trying to get to the bottom of it."

What Greenberger and others will want to know is why the post, which includes oversight of the department's faith-based grant-making in family planning, HIV and AIDS and in small-scale research into the effect of religion and spirituality on early sexual behavior, has gone to someone who both believes abortion should be illegal and opposes contraception. That's right -- Kelley's group of self-described progressive Catholics takes a position held by only a small minority, that the Catholic church is right to prohibit birth control. Were there no qualified religious experts who hold more mainstream views on family planning and abortion, views that are consistent with those of President Obama?

What was he thinking? That's the riddle. Is this part of his attempt to tame the fundamentalist anti-women folk and turn them liberals-in-all-but-reproductive-choice? And if so, is he throwing as girlies to the wolves? The wolves being the Pope's boyz. Or is this all part of some extremely advanced chess game which will leave us all so much better off, ultimately, but which we are unable to follow with our puny little brainz? Or are we to hold the hands of the contraception foes because they care about the poor?

I don't know the answer, but recommend reading the linked article, even if it means you have to sit through an ad.