Obama vs. The Church: Round 2

The Obama Administration’s new mandate proposal is insufficient in adhering to individual rights of religious freedom.  It is clear that the administration is now playing games and does not intend to respect religious liberty.  The new mandate continues to refuse to respect the rights of Catholic institutions that are unaffiliated with a particular church.  The administration fails to realize that religion does not stop at the church doors.  Catholicism is a beautiful religion that extends beyond Sunday mass and is to be lived throughout the week by all practitioners.  The Church teaches the enumeration of the corporal works of mercy as follows:

  • To feed the hungry;
  • To give drink to the thirsty;
  • To clothe the naked;
  • To harbor the harborless;
  • To visit the sick;
  • To ransom the captive;
  • To bury the dead.

The new mandate also falls short of respecting the religious rights of for-profit Catholic employers who cannot provide insurance coverage that would be morally illicit.

As Archbishop Cardinal Dolan said earlier today, February 7, “In obedience to our Judeo-Christian heritage, we have consistently taught our people to live their lives during the week to reflect the same beliefs that they proclaim on the Sabbath.”  He continued, “We cannot now abandon them to be forced to violate their morally well-informed consciences.”

The administration will draw this fight out as long as possible.  They will keep forcing the law firm representing Catholic institutions, Jones Day, to file new cases and new motions in an attempt to bleed the firm dry in a war of attrition.  In the end, it does not matter if the Church wins the legal battle or not; it cannot and will not comply.  Some bishops have stated that they are willing to go to jail to defend their religious beliefs.  That will look great on the administration, hauling men of the cloth out in cuffs for practicing their religion and defending the faithful.

Further reading:






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3 responses to “Obama vs. The Church: Round 2

  1. Or is it round 3? I’m losing track…

  2. If a religious person owns a book store, and does not want to sell pornography, that’s fine. But that doesn’t mean that they get to pay their employees in some kind of scrip that can be used to buy everything except pornography.

    So first, you don;t get to say how your employees spend their compensation. Insurance is compensation for work performed.

    Second, part of this deal is that if religious organizations which operate secular businesses wish to pay for insurance that does not cover birth control, fine. The insurance companies will simply offer the birth control themselves, since it cost much less to insure people who use birth control than to cover those who do not. In other words, the cost of “paying for birth control” is negative. If firms owned by religious organizations are self-insured, then insurance companies will provide birth control to those whose employers don’t in exchange for being allowed to participate in other federal programs.

    At this point, the church’s position amounts to saying “They’re keeping me from telling other people how to live their lives! I’m being discriminated against!”

    Religion does not stop at the church door, but it does stop at the threshold of any government institution.

    • According to the USCCB (2012):

      This is not about access to contraception, which is ubiquitous and inexpensive, even when it is not provided by the Church’s hand and with the Church’s funds. This is not about the religious freedom of Catholics only, but also of those who recognize that their cherished beliefs may be next on the block. This is not about the Bishops’ somehow “banning contraception,” when the U.S. Supreme Court took that issue off the table two generations ago. Indeed, this is not about the Church wanting to force anybody to do anything; it is instead about the federal government forcing the Church—consisting of its faithful and all but a few of its institutions—to act against Church teachings. This is not a matter of opposition to universal health care, which has been a concern of the Bishops’ Conference since 1919, virtually at its founding. This is not a fight we want or asked for, but one forced upon us by government on its own timing (para 5).

      This is an issue of unwarranted government definition of religion, a mandate against Church teaching, and a violation of personal civil rights

      USCCB. (2012). United for religious freedom. Retrieved from http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/upload/Admin-Religious-Freedom.pdf

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