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Imagine this: A conservative congresswoman, her voice edgy with religious fervor, stands before a press corps announcing her intention to end abortion rights in her state, and alongside her appallingly theocratic claims that human life at all stages of development is of equal value, she quotes the Bible, and even pushes Catholic piety, praying for the intercession of the Lady of Guadalupe.

Can we begin to imagine the media’s reaction? She would surely be Palinized, and, if all other efforts failed, would be called a pedestrian poser, having breached the cardinal rule of public life—that is, not to mention the transcendent. Well, such a shocking thing did indeed happen today, though its origin was on the persnickety religious left, not the religious right. Nancy Pelosi, chair of the theology department at Pelosi State, today invoked St. Joseph’s intercession as she pushed for health care reform. At a news conference she claimed , incorrectly, that today is the feast of St. Joseph the Worker:

Today is the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, particularly important to Italian-Americans. It’s a day where we remember and pray to St. Joseph to benefit the workers of America, and that’s exactly what our health-care bill will do.

Aside from the fact that today’s feast is, in fact, the Solemnity of St. Joseph, a colleague pointed out to me that the feast of St. Joseph the Worker—actually on the first of May—was placed there to foil May Day, a fete wrought with Communist labor philosophies. In any case, Nancy came just inches short of dubbing the United States a “worker’s paradise.” For good measure, she highlighted her recent photo shoots with babies and young people, and gave an admiring footnote to the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, and their missive promoting the health care as “life-affirming.” Theocracy, theocracy, theocracy! —right?

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