Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), a rabidly pro-abortion Catholic, has sent a letter to Pope Francis — signed by 93 of her House Democratic colleagues — urging him to focus on certain topics when he addresses Congress Sept. 24. And they are not content to have him speak in general terms about concerns like economic justice or the environment. They want him to advance specific items on their agenda, like paid sick leave, a higher minimum wage, and climate change. Nowhere, of course, do they express openness to what he might say on marriage, family or the sanctity of life. Indeed, if he addresses any of these issues from the House rostrum, be prepared to hear these same voices caterwauling about separation of church and state.
Speaking of which, Americans United for Separation of Church and State has already warned cities hosting the papal visit to respect church-state separation. But don’t expect them to rebuke DeLauro and company. Although this is not the first time she has sought to involve religious leaders in her political causes — she once urged Cardinal Timothy Dolan to mobilize the U.S. Bishops behind her anti-poverty agenda — she receives a 100 percent rating from Americans United. Why? Because their criteria primarily oppose religious voices exerting influence on public policies. No problem, apparently, for government officials to use their offices to try to influence religion or religious leaders.
Interestingly, there has been no similar correspondence to the pope from Congressional Republicans — so often accused, by political opponents as well as groups like Americans United, of trying to use religion to their political advantage.
Of course, if Rep. DeLauro were to have an epiphany, and urge the pope to defend the unborn and traditional marriage, she too would be condemned by Americans United. It’s not about party, and it’s certainly not about separation of church and state. It’s about which issues are being promoted. If you’re on the right side, in the view of DeLauro and company and groups like Americans United, then religious “intrusion” into government — or government intrusion into religion — is just fine.