Dustin Siggins

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Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey on faith, the HHS mandate and religious freedom

Dustin Siggins

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 17, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – There may be a separation of Church and State in America, but “there is not a separation of faith and politics," says HotAir.com co-Senior Editor Ed Morrissey.

"Your faith informs your values, your politics come from your values. Faith first, that forms you, and your political values should flow from that," he told LifeSiteNews.

Since joining powerhouse conservative blog HotAir.com in 2008, Morrissey has become one of the nation's most widely-read Catholics, using his faith as a regular part of his writing about abortion, the abortifacient/sterilization/contraception mandate, and other issues. He reported live on the conclave in 2013, and recently began a weekly “Sunday Reflection” in the Hot Air “Green Room.” 

However, this use of his faith has not always come naturally. Morrissey says it wasn't until recently that he has “been as comfortable writing about my faith and framing issues in terms – from my faith perspective. I think I've become more comfortable with that over the last couple of years.”

What changed? Morrissey says he “went on a vacation to Rome in 2011. It was for the beatification of Pope John Paul II, and I was there with three million of my closest friends, in Rome.” 

“We were really looking at this as a vacation. We were going to be there for the beatification, but mostly as a vacation. We were going to spend six-and-a-half days in Rome, and relax and enjoy ourselves,” said Morrissey. “My wife and I, as we usually do when we're going on these kinds of trips, we sit down with the guides, because we don't usually do tours. So we do our own thing. And she was saying, 'I want to see this, I want to see that.' And I'd read things out of the book, and she'd say, 'I want to see that.'”

“I finally said, 'Are we going to spend the whole time in church?' Every time I mentioned a church, she would say, 'Oh, I want to do that.' I was like, 'Are we going to spend the whole time in church?'”

Though initially resistant, Morrissey says that “it became a real pilgrimage for me. In a way that it's very difficult to describe, and the only thing I can say is I think the Holy Spirit was moving me to be there. I actually wasn't going to go there for the beatification, but I felt somehow that I was supposed to take [my wife] Marsha there. It really became a pilgrimage for me – even though I was Catholic, a practicing Catholic – I think it really connected me a lot more to my faith than I had anticipated.”

“Since then, I've been discerning what my role is supposed to be, what it is I'm called to do, and so the Sunday Reflections that I started just recently, that's something I felt like I was at least called to try, just to see how it worked out, and so far it's been pretty well-received.” 

Always up for a laugh at himself, Morrissey says about his reflections, “I almost want to put a disclaimer: The Catholic Church does not endorse this. If I get anything right, credit the Holy Spirit. If I get anything wrong, it's me.” 

Morrissey's growing connection to his faith is often a source of amusement for Hot Air readers, since the site's other senior editor is an atheist. Writing under the pseudonym “Allahpundit” – little else is known about the writer, other than that he lives in New York City – he is also a supporter of same-sex “marriage,” something Morrissey opposes.

With over 2.5 million unique views per month, and more than 35 million page views per month, Hot Air is possibly the leading conservative blog in America. It has certainly been widely cited since the disastrous abortifacient/contraception/sterilization mandate went into effect in 2012. According to Morrissey, the mandate and contraception in general are extremely harmful to American society.

“If you want to know how harmful [contraception] is, go back to Humanae Vitae,” says Morrissey, “in which basically the Pope predicted everything that followed. At the time, he was ridiculed. ... He basically predicted the explosion of pornography, abuse – not just abuse in the legal sense that we talk about it, but in terms of using people in a disposable sense, for fleeting moments of sensory pleasure, which is an affront to human dignity, which is at the center of our faith.” 

With regards to the mandate, Morrissey says the implications are enormous. “You have to understand that there isn't a contraception crisis in the United States. The CDC [Centers for Disease Control] has a study that shows 99 percent of women who are sexually active and wanted to avoid pregnancy accessed contraception,” in part because of federal funding. 

“It is not up to schools and employers to supply [contraception] for free for their employees. And forcing government into those positions is exactly how we're going to see religious sensibilities, religious expression, curtailed.” 

“It's about more than just the contraception,” according to Morrissey. “It's about more than just the religious freedom, even though that's a really big deal. It's about the fact that government is forcing us to participate in economic transactions against our will. And that is, I think, a huge problem, in terms of personal liberty – whether it's personal liberty in terms of speech, in terms of religious expression, freedom of assembly.” 

“The HHS mandate is really just one big symptom of what the overall problem is.” 

With a weekly column at The Week and The Fiscal Times, as well as a twice-weekly radio show – aptly named “The Ed Morrissey Show” – Morrissey addresses issues from spending to taxes to abortion and immigration. But all of it, he says, “is informed by my faith.” 

Disclosure: LifeSiteNews.com reporter Dustin Siggins is a contributor to HotAir.com, and is providing content to Hot Air this week in place of AllahPundit.

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