The powers that be n the Democrat party must be getting real nervous over the final passage of the health-care bill if Bob Shrum’s article in The Week Magazine is any indication.

Shrum, a Georgetown graduate and a political consultant who has led every major failed Democrat campaign for president for a generation, is in full on attack mode on any Catholic politician (Stupak by name) who actually considers what the Church teaches to be important.

In the most smug way possible, he derides any Catholic politician who lets their faith inform their politics and dropping a non sequitur reference to the abuse scandal to discredit the Bishops.

Stupak noted that his position was a product of his Roman Catholic faith. This is a simple-minded reading of the relationship between religion and the public sphere. As both Ted Kennedy and Mario Cuomo argued a generation ago — Kennedy in the lion’s den of Jerry Falwell’s Liberty Baptist University, and Cuomo at the Catholic stronghold of Notre Dame — in a free and pluralistic society, not every command of faith can be written into secular law. Otherwise, for example, the Catholic bishops might be pushing to outlaw divorce — a cause for which they have lobbied in other countries.

Here in America, the bishops have been unable to persuade a majority to ban abortion. It’s not for lack of trying; they’ve become overt political actors — assailing John Kerry in the 2004 campaign and Joe Biden in 2008 because both are Catholics who refuse to subordinate their judgments on public policy to church doctrine.

This is a long way from the commitment John Kennedy, the first Catholic President, offered during his 1960 campaign — to “an America where no public official requests or accepts instructions…from…any…ecclesiastical source, where no religion seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly on the public acts of officials.” Half a century later, the bishops are attempting to achieve by indirection what they cannot achieve outright — a partial ban on a woman’s right to choose. Having abetted thousands of priests in molesting children, they’re now set on abusing health reform.

Shrum is obviously not capable of making an actual argument against the position of the Bishops so instead he dismisses them and attacks them. The best his pathetic reasoning can offer is that nobody needs to listen to the church because Ted Kennedy and Mario Cuomo didn’t. Yeah, so?

To come out and attack his fellow Democrats like this reveals the desperation they must be feeling that abortion may yet still be the undoing of the health-care bill. I hope they are right.