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I was planning to write a long post about Jamie Stiehm’s op-ed “The Catholic Supreme Court’s War on Women”, but Elizabeth Scalia hit it out of the ballpark with her post “Fisking Stiehm’s Bigorty at US News”  much more intelligently than I could ever dream of doing. Joanne McPortland added to the Anchoress’s fisk with this brilliant post citing a letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Ursuline Sisters. Both of these women make me so proud to be a Catholic.

Ms. Stiehm needs to take notes because we Catholic women are far from the mindless sheep that she wants so hard for us to be. We have brains and we are not scared to use them.  Helen Alvare has led the fight for Religious Freedom with her Open Letter to President Obama. It is signed by plenty of women who don’t fall in line with Ms. Stiehm’s brand of feminism. She may want to open her eyes and mind to realize that it’s not Catholic men alone standing against the HHS Mandate. It’s women too, and we are a force to reckon with. Mrs. Alvare has plenty of other articles that Stiehm may want to read so that she can learn a thing or two. *

See, we are smart and faithful women. We don’t just want a freedom to worship but we want our freedom to practice our faith as it is taught. It’s hard to know that we exist when you cite Catholic women like Pelosi who don’t know the first thing about living their faith. Funny thing is, Justice Sotomayor has never, until now anyway, been accused of being any other kind of Catholic than the kind Pelosi is. I don’t know if Justice Sotomayor is or isn’t a “good Catholic girl”, but I do know that she is not waging a war on women. In fact she wrote the opinion that denied Hobby Lobby their injunction against the HHS Mandate; the same Justice, the same claim, and the same mandate. Nobody in this country is waging a war on women. To say that not getting free birth control is a war on women is an insult to women around the world who are getting shot just to be able to go to school.

I really hope that Ms. Stiehm is ready for the heat that she is about to get because not only are Catholic women a force, but Justice Sotomayor is no push over. She is one smart cookie and she will not be impressed with someone calling her out and accusing her of being a pawn for the Catholic Church. I sure hope that her Latina blood will boil at the idea of someone trying to put her in check.

The Church’s teaching is 2,000 years old. If some Catholics want to ignore that teaching while still calling themselves Catholic, then that is on them, but the rest of us have a God-given right to practice our faith, and that includes not paying for birth control, sterilizations or abortions. A real right, not one made up for the sake of  women who don’t know how to go to Planned Parenthood and get affordable birth control that is already available to them.

If we as Catholics have no right to tell anyone that anything they do sexually is wrong, heaven forbid anyone JUDGE anyone else’s sexual activity, then why the hell should we be forced to pay for it? There are plenty of resources for women to get affordable birth control. If there isn’t, then Planned Parenthood has been lying for a very long time because they claim to do just that. That is their sole mission in life, hence their name.

Even with all the yelling and screaming of how Catholics are trying to take away women’s birth control that is not true. Not one person has argued that birth control should not be bought or sold. We are simply saying that as Catholics, who believe it is immoral, we should not have to pay for it. Period. It is a matter of Religious freedom.

I challenge Stiehm to respond to any of the women who have written in response to her article. I’d pay to see her take on Elizabeth Scalia. You can say that we are brainwashed and oppressed all you want, if that is the case, then take us on, please, because the one thing we will not stand for is anyone messing with our sisters. As Joann says, “please don’t dismiss this as Catholics crying persecution. We’re not stupid. We know the difference between persecution and ignorant, rabble-rousing bigotry. We will pray for those around the world experiencing the former, but by damn we will not stand for the latter.”

It seems to me that it’s you, Ms. Stiehm, who is so blinded by ideology that you can’t even seem to grasp simple concepts like Freedom of Religion and what it means to everyone, even you.

** More articles written by Helen Alvare.