Published Sunday, June 26, A.D. 2016 | By Donald R. McClarey
One of the more bleakly humorous aspects of this administration is just how Orwellian it is. The most recent demonstration of this is the appointment of Jesuit Father Thomas Reese to head the US Commission on International Religious Freedom. Obama appointed him as a member of the Commission two years ago.
Reese resigned as editor of the Jesuit rag America in 2005. At the time he was under fire from the Vatican due to his heterodox opinions. He holds the usual leftist political positions of most modern Jesuit, which explains his appointment. What sort of head will he make of the Commission? A bad one judging from this incident:
After Saudi Arabia sentenced blogger Raif Badawi to public flogging, seven of the nine members of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) stepped forward to ask the Saudis to commute his sentence or, if not, to whip them instead.
The only two members of the Commission who refused to sign the letter were James Zogby, the founder and president of the Arab American Institute, and Jesuit Father Thomas Reese of the National Catholic Reporter. Zogby’s abstention is understandable. As the author of Arab Voices, the co-founder of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, and an advocate of Saudi interests, it isn’t hard to guess where his allegiance lies. With dozens of Jesuit martyrs in his order’s history, however, and some of these to radical Islam, Reese’s case is more complex.
Reese, a vocal critic of the 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church, is the former editor of the Jesuit Magazine America, who was pressured to step down by the Vatican in 2005 for misrepresenting Catholic teaching on a number of issues, including same-sex marriage, homosexual priests, priestly celibacy, women’s ordination and offering Holy Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians.
Reese praised the administration in regard to the Contraceptive Mandate:
“HHS and the Administration have gone out of their way to resolve the concerns of religious institutions that object to covering contraceptives in their insurance programs. They have found creative ways to provide contraceptives to the employees of religious colleges and hospitals without the involvement of these institutions.”
In the hands of Father Reese, religious liberty is as safe and secure as would be the chastity of a maiden spending an evening with Bill Clinton at the No-Tell Motel. As always in regard to this administration, I am reminded of this historical vignette:
After Lenin toppled the Kerensky government in 1917, the Bolsheviks were briefly in coalition with other left wing parties, and Isaac Steinberg, an Anarchist, was Commissar of Justice. When he protested the summary executions ordered by Lenin, Lenin waved off his objections that these were unjust:
He resented my opposition in the name of revolutionary justice. So I called out in exasperation: “Then why do we bother with a Commissariat of Justice? Let’s call it frankly the Commissariat for Social Extermination and be done with it.” Lenin’s face suddenly brightened and he replied, “Well put…that’s exactly what it should be…but we can’t say that.”