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Political Cartoonist: Contraception Debate’s About Controlling You

Chalk another one up for media anti-Catholic bigotry.

Syndicated editorial cartoonist Mike Luckovich, writing for the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, created a cartoon bashing the Catholic Church for controlling women. The cartoon features a wizened old bishop in a confessional, saying to a woman that “The contraception debate’s about controlling you.” The cartoon has the caption “Confession” at the bottom. 

Luckovich’s implied argument is false, of course. Contraceptive access is hardly a problem in America. But the HHS mandate decrees that religious employers be forced to pay insurance companies that pay for birth control. Many that self-insure must essentially pay directly for treatments including the “morning after” pill. 

Contraception is against the teachings of the Catholic Church, and has been since its foundation. By forcing employers to subsidize a product they and many of their employees hold to be immoral, the government is forcing the Church to violate its own beliefs. The contraception debate really is about control – the government trying to control the Catholic Church, not the Church trying to control Catholic women.

But Luckovich’s cynical bigotry in depicting the Catholic hierarchy as control freaks is even more troubling than his flawed logic. Would Luckovich’s cartoon have been published, if he had depicted an imam, talking about burqas being designed to control Islamic women? For that matter, would any cartoon featuring Islamic imams in a negative light – as Catholics are frequently depicted – be tolerated?

Somehow, it seems unlikely. But anti-Catholic bigotry is clearly acceptable to newspaper editors.