If there were still any doubt about the anti-Catholic agenda of the advocacy group SNAP, an angry tirade by Rev. Barry Lynn at the group's annual conference in Chicago last month should erase any such doubt.
Lynn built upon a similar speech he gave only months earlier to the pro-abortion lobbying group Feminist Majority (and at which Lynn sat next to Barbara Blaine, President of SNAP). Lynn took aim at the United States bishops' opposition to the Obama administration's healthcare mandate. It is an objection which Lynn went on to describe as a "total fraud" and an "unimaginable distortion of the very idea of freedom." As the description of Lynn's speech in SNAP's conference booklet declared:
"The Roman Catholic hierarchy is trying to radically redefine the meaning of religious liberty. It is no longer the right to worship, engage in rituals, evangelize with parishioners' donations and believe what you want. Now it is 'have your hired lobbyist squeeze as much as much as money as possible out of American taxpayers and follow only the secular rules and laws they feel like obeying.' This concept is now at the heart of the debate over healthcare coverage as well as the ongoing sex abuse litigation involving clergy. It is a hypocritical claim, and it cannot be allowed to prevail."
A shaky argument, and not about clergy abuse
Lynn's attempt to make a connection between the HHS mandate and clergy sex abuse was wobbly, at best. But his lack of cogency did not seem to matter to the SNAP conference attendees, who frequently broke into joyous applause when Lynn took slaps at the Catholic Church, according to sources present.
Lynn asserted that Catholic bishops have "no moral authority to speak" on women's issues and human sexuality, and the Church – even today – "considers itself to be above the law." He then claimed that the Church's objections to the government's mandates were not really about religious liberty, but about Catholic employers being given "special treatment" and the "power" to impose their religious doctrine on others.
In the end, the issue of clergy sex abuse was nothing but window dressing for a larger broadside against the Catholic Church. And Lynn's speech played well into SNAP's real motive: to promote a radical, "progressive" social agenda in direction opposition to that of the Catholic Church.