The new cardinal hints that he’s done with being lied to by the president, and may move the fight to court:
The President invited us to “work out the wrinkles,” and we have been taking him seriously. Unfortunately, this seems to be going nowhere: the White House Press Secretary, for instance, informed the nation that the mandates are a fait accompli (and, embarrassingly for him, commented that we bishops have always opposed Health Care anyway, a charge that is simply scurrilous and insulting). The White House already notified Congress that the dreaded mandates are now published in the Federal Registry “without change.” The Secretary of HHS is widely quoted as saying, “Religious insurance companies don’t really design the plans they sell based on their own religious tenets,” which doesn’t bode well for a truly acceptable “accommodation.” And a recent meeting between staff of the bishops’ conference and the White House staff ended with the President’s people informing us that the broader concerns of religious freedom — that is, revisiting the straight-jacketing mandates, or broadening the maligned exemption—are all off the table. Instead, they advised the bishops’ conference that we should listen to the “enlightened” voices of accommodation, such as the recent hardly-surprising but terribly unfortunate editorial in America. The White House seems to think we bishops are hopelessly out of touch with our people, and with those whom the White House now has nominated as official Catholic teachers.
That certainly sounds like President I Won and his rigidly ideological underlings.
[T]he courts offer the most light. In the recent Hosanna-Tabor ruling, the Supreme Court unanimously and enthusiastically defended the right of a Church to define its own ministry and services, a dramatic rebuff to the administration, but one apparently unheeded by the White House. Thus, our bishops’ conference and many individual religious entities are working with some top-notch law firms who have told us they feel so strongly about this that they will represent us pro-bono.
So, we have to be realistic and prepare for tough times.
Seven states have already sued to overturn the mandate.
The issue is not sex and the single law student/activist or what costs what for whom. All of that is so much distraction and set-up. The issue is whether the government can use an unpopular and partisan law to dictate to private companies that they must give products away, and whether institutions religious and otherwise can be forced to pay for services that violate their beliefs. Another issue is the president’s own honesty, and the service he pays to his ideological cronies at the expense of basic constitutional freedoms. So the debate is about much more than what one 30-year-old students and her desire to de-Catholicize a Catholic university.