Posts Tagged ‘Catholic Church’
Obama’s supposed compromise on a rule requiring religious institutions to cover contraception was summarily rejected by the U.S. Catholic Bishops.
Catholic bishops said Friday night that they would not support the Obama administration’s proposed compromise on a controversial rule that requires most employers to fully cover contraception in their workers’ health plans.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which had led opposition to the regulation, issued a statement saying that they didn’t believe their concerns were addressed by a new policy offered by President Barack Obama on Friday morning to allow religious employers who object to the use of birth control to turn over responsibility for covering it to insurance companies.
This line from a story in Politico exposes the true thinking of the administration:
A senior administration official told POLITICO Saturday that the White House didn’t expect to win the support of the bishops with Friday’s updated policy. Instead, the official said, the administration was focused on achieving a balance of respecting religious beliefs and ensuring women had access to preventive services.
This is another example that Obama doesn’t want to actually respect religious liberty, but rather push an aggressive anti-First Amendment agenda and try to wedge the Catholic Church against its members.
As further evidence of the disregard of religious liberty, a very smart political observer emailed HHS’s women’s health “Required Health Plan Coverage Guidelines” to me and made this point:
Nowhere does it talk about infertility or fertility treatments — which is a legitimate illness/disease, as opposed to pregnancy, which is not. The Church is opposed to artificial means of conception as well, and would fight this too. If the Administration genuinely cared about “women’s reproductive health” however, wouldn’t they care about treating infertility as much, if not more than, fertility? Why do they want to kill babies so badly?
I think that says it all about the real agenda of Obama’s administration.
The Obama Administration grossly miscalculated the reaction that American Catholics would have to the new Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate requiring Catholic institutions such as schools, hospitals, and charities, to purchase health insurance that covers contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs–all of which are immoral according to Catholic teaching.
Stories in the Huffington Post and others covering the controversy are quick to point out that 98% percent of sexually active Catholic women have used birth control; whether these women are all actively practicing Catholics is not discussed. Regardless, the point is moot. The Catholic Church is a 2,000 year-old global institution; its orthodoxy is not governed by polling in the United States. Further, the First Amendment says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” There is no stipulation saying, “unless Congress determines that some followers of that religion do not strictly adhere to all of that religion’s tenets.” Many Jews do not keep kosher, so can Congress pass a law prohibiting those who do from continuing?
Catholics may disagree with the rules of the Church, as children at times disagree with the rules of their parents, but it does not mean that Catholics do not respect or love the Church just as a rebellious child still respects and loves his parents. The Obama Administration gambled that Catholics would choose Obama over the Church. The sheer arrogance is mind-blowing. As Peggy Noonan wrote in her WSJ column, “there was nothing for the president to gain, except, perhaps, the pleasure of making a great church bow to him.”
Even some Catholic liberals like the Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne have spoken out against the mandate. When E.J. Dionne and I are in agreement, there is something incredibly wrong in the world. The pressure on the Administration is growing and will be unrelenting. The Catholic vote matters to Obama and eventually, I believe, the Administration will capitulate. If it isn’t soon, the damage to his image with Catholics could be irreparable.
This past weekend, Catholic bishops around the country wrote letters, to be read at Sunday Masses, condemning the attack on religious freedom. Among these bishops was Bishop Olmsted of Phoenix and Archbishop Timothy Broglio, the Archbishop of Military Services who wrote that the HHS rule was, “a blow to the freedom that you have fought to defend and for which you have seen your buddies fall in battle.”
As National Review reports, the Army’s Office of the Chief of Chaplains actually tried to prevent Catholic chaplains from reading Archbishop Broglio’s letter from the pulpit. The Executive Branch tramples on freedom of religion and then tries to silence those who object–these are not the actions of a man who respects our free society. Obama views the First Amendment, heck the entire Constitution, as optional.
He must be stopped.
First Things has an excellent piece about the Senate health care bill that the House is trying to pass later this week written by Charles Chaput, the Archbishop of Denver. As an outspoken voice for the Catholic Church, Archbishop Chaput is, to use evangelical vernacular, preachin’ the truth. And, to use Baptist vernacular, damning the Catholic posers to hell.
The Senate version of health care reform currently being forced ahead by congressional leaders and the White House is a bad bill that will result in bad law. It does not deserve, nor does it have, the support of the Catholic bishops of our country. Nor does the American public want it. As I write this column on March 14, the Senate bill remains gravely flawed. It does not meet minimum moral standards in at least three important areas: the exclusion of abortion funding and services; adequate conscience protections for health care professionals and institutions; and the inclusion of immigrants.
Groups, trade associations, and publications describing themselves as “Catholic” or “prolife” that endorse the Senate version—whatever their intentions—are doing a serious disservice to the nation and to the Church, undermining the witness of the Catholic community and ensuring the failure of genuine, ethical health care reform. By their public actions, they create confusion at exactly the moment Catholics need to think clearly about the remaining issues in the health care debate. They also provide the illusion of moral cover for an unethical piece of legislation…
The long, unpleasant and too often dishonest national health care debate is now in its last days. Its most painful feature has been those “Catholic” groups that by their eagerness for some kind of deal undercut the witness of the Catholic community and help advance a bad bill into a bad law. Their flawed judgment could now have damaging consequences for all of us.
Do not be misled. The Senate version of health care reform currently being pushed ahead by congressional leaders and the White House—despite public resistance and numerous moral concerns—is bad law; and not simply bad, but dangerous. It does not deserve, nor does it have, the support of the Catholic bishops in our country, who speak for the believing Catholic community. In its current content, the Senate version of health care legislation is not “reform.” Catholics and other persons of good will concerned about the foundations of human dignity should oppose it.