There’s more to life than abortion

Frank Yonkof

From time to time, I used to watch EWTN

news, the Catholic cable channel, at night

before going to bed to catch up on the week’s

headlines in the church.

That stopped in late summer at the height

of the health care debate. I had seen for several

years that EWTN held a major conservative

bias, but the network seemed to provide fair

international coverage, and that is mostly why

I watched.

On the last night I watched EWTN, host

Raymond Arroyo interviewed a man who was

trashing the health care bill as the beginning of

a new welfare state. He then went on to compare

it to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New

Deal and how that made the Great Depression

last longer then it was supposed to.

I never caught the man’s name or what he

did for a living. I jumped to change the channel

and have avoided the network ever since.

In all fairness, this wasn’t the first time the

folks at EWTN had resorted to openly attacking

Democrats and their proposals. There was

never a week that had gone by where I didn’t

feel uncomfortable with their coverage.

When browsing their Web site last week,

I came across a Catholic Q-&-A page where

someone had asked why the Democrat’s health

care proposals were evil despite the fact the

government already pays for some abortions.

Their answer represented everything that is

wrong with the network.

“If the current health care proposal were to

become law, which — please God — it will not,

tax payers would literally be paying for abortion

on demand. No matter how you read it,

paying for killing is in there.”

Like health care, most coverage by the network

centers on the abortion topic. On one occasion, I remember watching a segment in

which a priest instructed people on how to get

as many voters to the polls to vote for pro-life

(i.e. Republican) politicians as possible.

Now, the abortion topic is a good thing to

talk about. But when your network spends

practically all of its time focusing on abortion,

you miss other important aspects of health

care, like coverage for disadvantaged people

and illegal immigrants.

Here’s my beef with the “Eternal Word Television

Network.” Aside from being extremely

conservative, it claims to be the de facto voice

of the church in the media, when in fact it is

not. Furthermore, they let their personal biases

affect the way they present the news.

How could it be that a Catholic news channel,

which claims to represent the views of the

faith, is against all things health care when the

Catholic Church itself is in favor of universal

health care for all people?

Of course, the church is not quick to push

the health care issue. While some priests can

talk for days about abortion, rarely (if ever)

do priests give a homily about the joys of universal

health care.

I didn’t even know the church officially

supported universal health care until I sat down to interview a priest back in November, although I just assumed it did because providing

health care to everyone is the morally right

thing to do.

I am often amazed that anyone could

oppose universal health care. When it comes

down to it, conservatives only oppose it

because they don’t want to pay for it. They

claim that it is not the government’s place to

provide for the poor, and instead, the poor

should go to churches and other organizations

when they are in need.

But if most conservatives claim to be good

church-going folk, why would any poor person

be naïve enough to go to a church for help

and expect these people to be generous? After

observing the health care debate for the past

few months, it’s clear conservatives believe it’s

every man for himself.

There is a theory among liberal Catholics

that conservatives fight for the rights of the

unborn, but once you turn 18, they have no

problem sending you off to war and don’t really

care if you can afford health care. In many

cases this is true.

Luckily, EWTN does not speak for the

church. While conservatives have a loud voice

in the church, Catholics as a group are the largest

swing vote in this country, so it is impossible

to label them one thing or the other.

It’s just unfortunate the group that makes

up a quarter of the population in this country

only has one major outlet for news.

Frank Yonkof is a sophomore newspaper journalism

major and columnist for the Daily Kent

Stater. Contact him at [email protected].