If you roll your eyes when someone talks about anti-Catholicism, you should probably scroll by this column. If you get annoyed whenever someone suggests that conservative Christians are personae non grata in this current political climate, this is probably not the column for you. If you think that Harrison Butker’s commencement address at Benedictine College was a misogynistic mishmash of archaic tropes, maybe skip to the “funnies,” as Fiorello “Little Flower” LaGuardia used to call them.

This is about anti-Catholicism and more specifically, anti-pro-life Catholicism. Now not every Catholic is pro-life, and not every pro-lifer is Catholic, but if you take a Venn Diagram you will probably see that the area where those two characteristics intersect is by far the largest. And I’m quite proud to say I fall squarely in the middle of that diagram.

I wish I did more than I do, to advance the pro-life cause. I write about it, and I go to marches, and I send money to pro-life groups, and I even appear as a speaker at many pro-life events. But I’m not on the front lines, like the men and women who are risking their freedom. Why, you might ask, is their freedom in jeopardy? Simple: a politicized US Justice Department.

It appears that the Biden Administration is annoyed by those whose views violate the core beliefs of the current Executive, chief among them an understanding that abortion is a moral abomination. And if the situation ended there, with some fiery speeches from the president and fingers pointed from the mainstream media, that would be fine. Viva the First Amendment.

But it hasn’t ended there. The crusade of this administration to essentially erase and eliminate pro-life dissent has reached a breaking point, such that now it’s not enough to simply mock those of us who defend the right to life from conception to natural death. It’s not enough, even, for the NFL to throw a Super Bowl Champion under the bus, as it did with Butker, trembling at the thought perhaps that all of those newly-acquired Swiftie football fans would run screaming at the thought of a pro-life kicker.

It is now necessary to throw us in jail, by employing a law that-while ruled constitutional-is obviously designed to punish the pro-life movement. And the decision to use this law now, and with increasing frequency shows that selective prosecution is now the modus operandi of the organization we can call Biden Incorporated (he being from Delaware, and all.)

Back in October of 2020, a group of pro-life activists obstructed entrance to a notorious abortion clinic in Washington DC, whose principal physician had been known to perform abortions well into the last trimester of pregnancy. We are all aware of the horror story of Kermit Gosnell, the so-called “Butcher of West Philly.” Well, Dr. Cesare Santangelo was once caught on undercover video stating that he would deny lifesaving treatment to a child that had survived one of his abortions, and, according to a report from LifeNews, called a nearby hospital’s efforts to try and save the life of one such child “the stupidest thing they could have done.”

That is exactly the level of inhumanity that you find at many of these abortion clinics, the sense that they have a job to do, and that they are simply removing a tumor, or taking out the trash. One can forgive me for doubting the sincerity of anyone who believes that “reproductive rights” is anything other than a euphemism for “it’s not a baby until I say it is.”

But to be honest, this isn’t about our personal feelings regarding abortion. I call it barbarism, you call it health care, we will never agree, just as those who considered slavery an abomination and those who considered it property rights were forced to wage a war to settle their differences. I don’t plan to fire ammo over Fort Sumter.

What matters here, beyond morality and barbarity, is the very obvious fact that Congress passed a law targeting the pro-life movement, and after a few decades of leaving it on a statutory shelf decided to pull it out, dust it off and use it to crush a movement.

The Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE) criminalizes activities that prohibit access to abortion clinics and churches. Passed in 1994 and signed into law by Bill Clinton, its constitutionality was challenged and upheld by the Supreme Court. While some have argued that the inclusion of churches undermines the accusation that this law was designed to gut the pro-life movement by threatening our activists with jail time, it’s a specious claim. Virtually every prosecution under the law has targeted protesters at abortion clinics. To my knowledge, no one has been charged under FACE with a church bombing, a synagogue defacement or threats called into a mosque. This is designed to stop pro-life activists from doing what they’ve always done: lobby on behalf of the most innocent.

This week, Lauren Handy was sentenced to almost five years in federal prison after having been convicted under FACE. The fact that she is a well-known voice on the Left, a progressive Catholic, puts the lie to the idea that pro-lifers are right-wing fanatics looking to bomb abortion clinics. We come from every race, creed and nationality on the planet. The only thing we share is this: respect for unborn life.

And this: a disgust with this administration and its biased, overreaching Justice Department.

Every person who values their civil rights, as well as the human rights of the unborn, should consider that at the polls in November. And even though I am a bleeds-green Eagles fan, I’ll be rooting for Harrison Butker all season long.

Christine Flowers is an attorney and lifelong Philadelphian. @flowerlady61

This piece was originally published in the Delco Times.

25 thoughts on “Christine Flowers: Catholics, kickers and abortion”

  1. Had Lauren Handy held a Palestinian flag instead of a rosary at the time of her arrest, the Democrat Justice Department would have allowed her to pitch a tent.
    (Hat tip to The Babylon Bee.)

  2. Butker’s #7 jersey has catapulted to one of the top selling jerseys on Fanatics NFL shop site, according to Kansas City CBS affiliate KCTV 5. On the NFL site, the placekicker’s jersey is listed as “Most Popular in Jerseys,” putting his sales higher than that of Kansas City Chiefs star QB Patrick Mahomes.
    We do not encourage people with eating disorders. Why do we listen to the far Left trying to normalize bizarre and fringe disorders? They focus on trying to get society to normalize behavior that falls on the far ends of a bell curve. Pull and read the transcript of his 19-minute speech and if your think he said anything remotely insulting to women, you might be suffering, and I’ll say a prayer for you. By the way, “What is a woman?” These same silly people trip and fall all over themselves to not say what a woman actually is: an adult, human, biological female. Protect our children. Currently the U.S. birthrate has fallen below replacement level. Our society is very sick and dying and we have been following these Godless, corrupt fools for too long.

    1. How is women wanting to work and have careers instead of being wives and mothers, as stated by Mr. Butkers a sickness?

      1. Miss Judah-Kate,
        “Strawmanning” is considered a logical fallacy. Strawmanning is when you don’t argue your opponent’s actual point but instead argue and refute a weaker version of their point. That’s what you did. Any time you notice yourself starting to get tense or frustrated, intentionally slow down your breathing. The purpose of a debate shouldn’t be winning; it should be finding more truth or the best course of action! Embracing the possibility that you might be incorrect isn’t a sign of weakness; instead, it’s a testament to your commitment to truth and intellectual integrity.

        1. Gas lighting is what you do when you can’t refute facts. Butkers made it clear that women should be wives and mothers instead of have careers. What sickness do women who want to have careers suffer from?

          1. “What sickness do women who want to have careers suffer from?” is a question delivered with the intent to deceive. Neither Mr. Butker, nor any other person said those words. Your question shows a great lack of intelligence and common sense, and it reveals you did not actually listen to Mr. Butker’s 19-minute speech. He’s a Catholic and was talking to graduates of a Catholic school, and he never said women should not have careers.
            Despite the lies the legacy media peddled about Mr. Butker’s speech his jersey sales went thru the roof. Second, these morons who can’t define the word woman, but have no problem dismantling Title IX, focus on trying to get society to normalize gender dysphoria (which is defined by American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and falls on the far ends of society’s bell curve.) Source: “Is gender dysphoria a mental disorder? Here’s what you should know” CNN, Wed July 19, 2023. They are unhappy and Godless fools. And they are propagandizing little children at taxpayers’ expense.

    2. “Why do we listen to the far Left trying to normalize bizarre and fringe disorders?” Your the one who claimed there is sickness, so what is it?

      Sales of Butker’s jersey does not equal national approval, unless he has been selling tens of millions. It just means that conservative extremists are virtue signaling.

      1. Judah, Great!. We both agree that actually the previous statement you made: “Butkers made it clear that women should be wives and mothers instead of have careers” was false. And we both agree he never said: women who want to have careers suffer from sickness.
        Now, moving on to your new assertion: “Your [sic] the one who claimed there is sickness, so what is it?” What I wrote was: By the way, “What is a woman?” These same silly people trip and fall all over themselves to not say what a woman actually is: an adult, human, biological female. Protect our children. Currently the U.S. birthrate has fallen below replacement level. Our society is very sick and dying and we have been following these Godless, corrupt fools for too long.

        1. You really need to stop putting words in my mouth.

          Butker’ s statement regarding women is; “I want to speak directly to you briefly because I think it is you, the women, who have had the most diabolical lies told to you. How many of you are sitting here now about to cross this stage and are thinking about all the promotions and titles you are going to get in your career? Some of you may go on to lead successful careers in the world, but I would venture to guess that the majority of you are most excited about your marriage and the children you will bring into this world.”

          He guesses they want to be mothers?? Is telling women they can have careers a diabolical lie?? This statement is patronizing and misogynistic to everyone that does not follow his version of Catholicism.

          “Protect our children. Currently the U.S. birthrate has fallen below replacement level. Our society is very sick and dying and we have been following these Godless, corrupt fools for too long.” America is a nation of immigrants, what you fear is becoming a minority. America has survived far worse than whatever you think is going on. Nor is America godless, the Constitution protects all Americans so they can follow whatever faith they have. As opposed to Europe which for over 1000 years fought wars and wrote laws based on whatever version of Christianity they followed, with monarchs who were anointed by God, and where the Catholic Church had to much involvement in government.

          1. Judah: …”He guesses they want to be mothers?? Is telling women they can have careers a diabolical lie?? This statement is patronizing and misogynistic to everyone that does not follow his version of Catholicism.”
            Being a mother has nothing to do with Catholicism. The number of children women have in their lifetime has declined over time. In the late 1970s, women at the end of their childbearing years (ages 40 to 44) had, on average, more than three children. Between 1976 and 2022, women ages 40 to 44 with at least a bachelor’s degree had an average of 1.75 children. in the U.S. we are now under 2.1 so your assertion immigration kept our population going in the past was a lie, and false. Immigration is what we will need moving forward.
            “America is a nation of immigrants, what you fear is becoming a minority.” I am a minority already. I was when I was born in the land as a native, and I will be when I die. What I fear is for the future for my mixed children. America has not survived “far worse.” Your statement really exposes your cognitive bias and keenness to lie.
            “In the 1963 Current Population Survey, a divorced person headed just 3.5 percent of American households, with another 1.6 percent headed by a separated person.” Today, 28 percent of children live in single-parent homes.
            “In 1963, there was just 18 arrests for drug abuse violations per 100,000 Americans.” (There were plenty of arrests for drunkenness, however: 1,284 per 100,000.) By 2010, arrests for sale/manufacturing drug offenses alone were about 100 per 100,000, according to FBI statistics.
            Religious values were widely held and shared. According to an October 1963 Gallup poll, just “1 percent of respondents said they did not have a religious preference, and half said they had attended a worship service the last seven days.” (The Gallup poll, Murray, notes did not use the term “worship service.” It used the word “church.”)
            It was not socially acceptable for men to be idle in the past. “…98 percent of civilian men in their thirties and forties reported to government interviewers that they were in the labor force, either working or seeking work.” Do you know what the percentage is now?! The labor force participation rate for able bodied men is 69%. Sick, sick, sick.
            Evidence for the decline of social capital and civic engagement comes from a number of independent sources. Surveys of average Americans in 1965, 1975, and 1985, in which they recorded every single activity during a day–so-called “time-budget” studies–indicate that since 1965 time spent on informal socializing and visiting is down (perhaps by one-quarter) and time devoted to clubs and organizations is down even more sharply (by roughly half). Membership records of such diverse organizations as the PTA, the Elks club, the League of Women Voters, the Red Cross, labor unions, and even bowling leagues show that participation in many conventional voluntary associations has declined by roughly 25 percent to 50 percent over the last two to three decades. Some of the most reliable evidence about trends comes from the General Social Survey (GSS), conducted nearly every year for more than two decades. The GSS demonstrates, at all levels of education and among both men and women, a drop of roughly one-quarter in group membership since 1974 and a drop of roughly one-third in social trust since 1972. Slumping membership has afflicted all sorts of groups, from sports clubs and professional associations to literary discussion groups and labor unions. Gallup polls report that church attendance fell by roughly 15 percent during the 1960s and currently on any given weekend, about 3 in 10 U.S. adults attend religious services, down from 42% two decades ago.
            Sick, sick, sick. I’ll pray for you, Judah.

        2. Judah: …”He guesses they want to be mothers?? Is telling women they can have careers a diabolical lie?? This statement is patronizing and misogynistic to everyone that does not follow his version of Catholicism.”
          Being a mother has nothing to do with Catholicism. – This statement was made by a Conservative Catholic at a Catholic University. I have yet to hear of this happening at any another commencement.
          America has not survived “far worse.” Your statement really exposes your cognitive bias and keenness to lie. – You mean worse than Sen. Joseph McCarthy and his Communist witch-hunts, Nixon being impeached, the violent resistance to the Civil Rights Movement, the imprisonment of Japanese American citizens during WWII, the Red Scare of the 1920’s, or the KKK.

          “In the 1963 Current Population Survey, a divorced person headed just 3.5 percent of American households, with another 1.6 percent headed by a separated person.” Today, 28 percent of children live in single-parent homes.
          “In 1963, there was just 18 arrests for drug abuse violations per 100,000 Americans.” (There were plenty of arrests for drunkenness, however: 1,284 per 100,000.) By 2010, arrests for sale/manufacturing drug offenses alone were about 100 per 100,000, according to FBI statistics……….As for the rest of this gobbledygook. You’re right. How dare men have leisure time that allows them to pursue their own interests outside of a structure group. One does not need to go to a house of worship to have faith. The reason we have smaller families is because the infant and childhood mortality rates of the past no longer require people to have more children. Along with improved technology that makes our ability to handle household chores easily. To say nothing of the fact that big families have higher expenses.

          Sick, sick, sick. I’ll pray for you, Judah. – Pray for yourself. Building a society based on a specific faith is why the Founding Fathers made sure their was separation of Church and State and why we haven’t had faith based wars.

  3. While I am strongly anti-abortion, and have serious doubts about the use of the FACE Act by the Department of Justice, I believe that we should be honest in our comments even if the government isn’t. Abortion is not “reproductive health care.” Apparently, Lauren Handy did not just pray outside the abortion clinic. According to the press release issued by the US Attorney: “According to the evidence, Handy, Hinshaw, and Goodman – along with their co-conspirators – forcefully entered the clinic and set about blockading two clinic doors using their bodies, furniture, chains, and ropes. Once the blockade was established, their activities were live-streamed. The evidence also showed that the defendants violated the FACE Act by using a physical obstruction to injure, intimidate and interfere with the clinic’s employees and a patient, because they were providing or obtaining reproductive health services.”

    1. You would think that since Christine as a lawyer would not have ignored the terms of the FACE act and the evidence as to why Ms. Handy as convicted. Which is the problem, when it comes to Christine’s passion projects she is blind when it comes to the law. Lets see how badly reacts to facts as presented in the press release.

    2. But professor, no one was injured. The fact is they entered by trespass, and could have easily been prosecuted under criminal laws. This law was specifically tailored to intimidate the pro life movement. And “Catholic” Biden has directed husDIJ to use it more often, as a political ploy. So the fact is, no one was hurt, perhaps some anxiety, and there was little property damage. And even if there was, the extant criminal jaws are sufficient. But hey, let’s destroy the pro life movement and call it Justice.

      1. This law was created because the Pro-life movement has had a long history of threats, intimidation, arson, bombings and murder. Much in the way that anti-mask laws were created to deal with similar issues from the KKK.

        In America we have separation of church and state to prevent the wars that rippled through Europe for centuries over whose version of Christianity was the most valid and to prevents laws that favored any one religion. President Biden serves all Americans, not just Catholics, its the same reason President Kennedy, the first Catholic American elected President, had to make an national address to make it clear he was not going to take orders from the Pope.

        Just how are Catholics being discriminated in America? Are you required to register with the government, excluded from working in government jobs, are Catholic Churches being closed at the order of the government, are Catholics required to wear yellow arm bands with crosses on them so you can be readily identified, or are pregnant Catholic women being forced into Abortion Camps where numbers are tattooed on their arms and they are forced to get an abortion? No they are not. What you can’t do is pass laws based on your faith that affect others.

        “According to the evidence, Handy, Hinshaw, and Goodman – along with their co-conspirators – forcefully entered the clinic and set about blockading two clinic doors using their bodies, furniture, chains, and ropes”. But according to you they should have gotten a pass because no one got hurt. This was a targeted, organized assault and if this had happened at your Church the public outcry would be so great they would never get out of prison.

        The pro-life groups have chosen to embroil themselves in a legal war and that does not mean you get a pass because you think your cause is just. If you don’t like abortions, just like some people don’t like guns, don’t get one.

          1. I am not pro-2A. The response of if you don’t like guns, don’t own one is the go to response of gun nuts. If you don’t like abortions don’t get one also applies.

          2. “So you use the ‘gun nut’ response to justify your opinion about abortion?” – No, what said is that gun nuts use this statement to justify gun ownership. I am pro-choice, I am not forcing anyone to get an abortion or preventing them from doing so.

            “Big difference between opposition to a constitutional amendment than a supreme court ruling, don’t you think?” No, SCOTUS refused to hear the case and let the lower court ruling stand. So they had no problem with the constitutionality of FACES.

            “Your hyperbole regarding how Catholics are discriminated is entertaining.” – Ms. Flowers has long claimed that Catholics are discriminated against in the U.S. Her only claim is that Catholics don’t get to pass laws that favor their faith, at the expense of every American.

            at some point in history, the people who were subjected to the treatment you describe would have never thought it would happen to them. – Jews have been subject to many of the same things for over 1000 years in Europe. In the lead up to WWII most European Jews considered themselves assimilated, citizens of their countries first, Jews second. Many of the German Jews who were rounded up in the very beginning were veterans of WWI and arrived at the camps wearing their medals. No one anticipated the industrialized precision that German’s used, that they would conquer Europe, or how the rest of the world turned their back on them. After the war their were progroms and the Swiss bankers refused to turn over financial assets to Jewish survivors until they were caught destroying records in 1997.

            Interesting points about Kennedy. How did his presidency end up again? Kennedy was not killed because he was Catholic so one dies not have anything to do with the other.

          3. “So you used the same response as a ‘gun nut’ uses to justify 2A and substituted ‘abortion’ and you’re not a nut also?” You’re right, I’m not an abortion nut, because women should have a right to chose as they see fit. I am not forcing anyone to get an abortion or denying them. A nut is one who would you force women to get an abortion or deny them one.

            “Your Jewish history lesson is interesting, but doesn’t negate my statement at all, regardless of any sequence of events going back thousands of years.” – Since you didn’t read it the first time let me reiterate. The Jews of Europe considered themselves citizens of their respective nations first and Jews second. No one could have seen the collapse of Europe to Germany, the refusal of countries like America and Britain to accept Jewish refugees or the massive precision mechanized organization that Germans used to exterminate Jews.
            So you tell me, how are Catholics being discriminated against in America by the government?

            “Do you still believe LHO killed Kennedy?” Yes, Lee Harvey Oswald was a trained U.S. Marine who achieved a Sharpshooter rating and no one has been able to prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt that he wasn’t.

            “Isn’t it abundantly telling that 1.) he even had to make that speech, and 2.) that it took 172 years for the first proclaimed Catholic president of the U.S. to be elected?” – Kennedy made that speech because Americans believed he would follow orders from the Pope. Nothing more nothing less.

            Did you just say that respect and protection of human life is a ‘catholic’ law that is an ‘expense’ to every American? That is plain morally corrupt. – No, that is not what I said. I said that laws should not be passed to favor a specific religion and its beliefs.

            It’s not a matter of ‘passing catholic laws’, its a matter of passing laws that go directly against Catholic faith and standards,” – No one is passing laws that target Catholics, they are passing laws that protect everyone who is not. Once the Church has done something about the Magdalene Laundries, its continued failure to deal with pedophile priests, selling babies, its reprehensible action’s during and after the Holocaust and its illegal financial transactions then they can talk about others.

            “Catholic Institution healthcare programs had to include paying for contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs in their healthcare plans for employees, or would lose any form of federal funding and possibly tax status. Catholic Health agencies do not have to accept government funds if they find this offensive and the government is not obligated to provide them with money if they can’t follow American laws. Healthcare is the same for everyone at every hospital, regardless of affiliation.

            The very first clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Oh that pesky Constitution again, right? Thank you for agreeing with me, Congress should not pass laws that favor one faith over another.

      2. Christine, I completely agree that the FACE Act is being used improperly by the government against those who are prolife. A better example of that is the unjustified prosecution of Mark Houck rather than Lauren Handy. Despite the Supreme Court’s ruling, I have doubts about the constitutionality of the FACE Act.

          1. Judah, you say “The Supreme Court has ruled that the FACES act is legal . . . .” I think you meant to say that the Supreme Court ruled that it was “constitutional.” However, the Supreme Court has not ruled on the Act. They merely refused to hear cases challenging the constitutionality of the Act. Several Courts of Appeal had ruled that it was constitutional. That means they let those rulings stand. Of course, the makeup of the Supreme Court has changed and so it is possible that the Court could hear a challenge. There are many who believe the Act is unconstitutional, including some in Congress.

        1. By refusing to hear on the FACES act the Supreme Court made it very clear that they do not see any concerns with lower court rulings. As for Mr. Houck, he had his day in court and was ruled not guilty and has followed up with a civil lawsuit. So the courts did their job.

          1. So you use the ‘gun nut’ response to justify your opinion about abortion?
            So your an abortion nut?
            Big difference between opposition to a constitutional amendment than a supreme court ruling, don’t you think?
            Your hyperbole regarding how catholics are discriminated is entertaining, but I guarantee you this: at some point in history, the people who were subjected to the treatment you describe would have never thought it would happen to them.
            Interesting points about Kennedy. How did his presidency end up again?

          2. So you used the same response as a ‘gun nut’ uses to justify 2A and substituted ‘abortion’ and you’re not a nut also? Good illogical response there.
            Your Jewish history lesson is interesting, but doesn’t negate my statement at all, regardless of any sequence of events going back thousands of years.
            Do you still believe LHO killed Kennedy? Want to buy a bridge? Isn’t it abundantly telling that 1.) he even had to make that speech, and 2.) that it took 172 years for the first proclaimed Catholic president of the U.S. to be elected?
            Did you just say that respect and protection of human life is a ‘catholic’ law that is an ‘expense’ to every American? That is plain morally corrupt.
            It’s not a matter of ‘passing catholic laws’, its a matter of passing laws that go directly against Catholic faith and standards, like repeal of Hyde, or Obama’s HHS department mandate: Catholic Institution healthcare programs had to include paying for contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs in their healthcare plans for employees, or would lose any form of federal funding and possibly tax status. The inclusion of abortion-inducing drugs was particularly offensive. The administration could have settled for contraception, but instead it sought to blatantly punish Catholics. Its real long-term interest was plain: eventually, Catholic hospitals would be required to perform abortions. The very first clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Oh that pesky Constitution again, right? Obama’s admin is chock full of Catholic attacks if you care to look up. I expect not. You should just quit while you’re behind.

Leave a (Respectful) Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *