KC Voices: Watching the Catholic Church buy up religious freedom in Kansas

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Women’s reproductive rights protest at the Plaza June 24, 2022. // Photo by Angela C. Bond

We’ve been asking members of the KC community to submit stories about their thoughts and experiences in all walks of life. If you’ve got a story you’d like to share with our readers, please send it to brock@thepitchkc.com for consideration. Today, former lawyer and current KU law teacher Amii Castle weighs in on the upcoming Amendment 2 vote in Kansas.

KC Voices local submissions

Illustration by Jack Raybuck

KC Voices local submissions

My religious freedom is up for sale, and the Catholic church is buying. Since January 2022, three Catholic dioceses—the Archdiocese of Kansas City, the Catholic Diocese of Wichita, and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Salina—have primarily funded the Value Them Both campaign—the campaign that urges voters to “Vote Yes” on August 2 to ban abortions in Kansas. Those three Catholic dioceses contributed over $3,100,000 to fund Value Them Both—over 66% of the $4,461,596 in cash donations. Value Them Both has spent much of that money on advertising, marketing, and paying campaign workers. 

The Catholic church opposes abortions, and many Catholics (though not all) believe that getting an abortion violates their religion. Indeed, the Catholic church teaches that allowing any woman to get an abortion violates the Catholic religion. Catholic priests preach that abortions violate fundamental tenants of the Catholic religion, and that’s a religious belief to which Catholics are perfectly entitled.

But Catholic leaders are buying their way to imposing their religion on me, even though I’m not Catholic. Most of us Kansans—75%—are not Catholic. Yet, the well-funded Catholic church has given millions of dollars towards this massive effort to impose a Catholic belief—that abortions should be banned in all cases—on the other 75% of us. Many of us in that 75% believe that abortion should remain legal, at least in some cases, like rape, incest, or to save the life of the pregnant person.

If the anti-abortion amendment passes and the Kansas legislature bans abortions (which it likely will), I—along with every other Kansan—will have to abide by and live according to the Catholic church’s religious values: all legal abortions will be prohibited, even though banning all abortions could very well go against my religion. The Catholic church is buying out my religious freedom, but I never put my religious freedom up for sale. 

If you are Catholic and you believe abortion is wrong in all cases, then don’t get an abortion. But please keep your religion—and your money—out of my religious freedoms. 

Vote on or by August 2 (early voting has begun). A “yes” vote passes the amendment, a “no” vote defeats the amendment. 

Categories: Politics