Kirsten Powers uses her Daily Beast column today to excoriate the Obama administration’s abortifacient mandate, which violates religious freedom. I’d quote the whole thing if I could. It’s brilliant.
I’m not Catholic. I support contraception. But this is madness.
The administration wants to remind us of their benevolence: they are giving institutions with religious objections a whole year to implement a government rule that violates the core tenets of their faith. Gee, thanks!
“In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences,” Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops told The Washington Post.
If religious institutions choose to ignore the mandate by dropping their insurance plans, they will face exorbitant fines under the Affordable Care Act that could force them to close their doors. Smith tells me that for one of the Becket Fund’s clients, the fine for the first year would be more than $300,000, and for the second year, more than $500,000.
One thing we can be sure of: the Catholic Church will shut down before it violates its faith. We saw that recently when Catholic adoption and foster-care services closed in Massachusetts and Illinois rather than comply with state mandates that they place children with gay parents. Who lost? Parentless children.
The administration has to know this, so why would it force the hand of Catholic institutions that have traditionally filled in the gaps in social services that the government failed to provide? The people who will suffer if they close their doors are the poor, refugees, the homeless, orphans, and the elderly.
Why? Because it believes that it can. Because it wanted to pick this fight, at this time, to fire up its base. Because this administration believes, with some evidence in support, that too many Americans no longer appreciate true religious liberty, and no longer defend it, placing the politics of the moment above the truth of forever. Because despite this president’s claim to be Christian, his faith is clearly in the almighty state and, ultimately, in himself. Because this president and his administration do not believe in the freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution (he infamously lamented that the Constitution is inadequate because it’s a charter of “negative rights” spelling out what the government can’t do, not what it can or must do). Because ObamaCare’s one-size-fits-all approach leaves no room for dissent, as many of us who opposed that law noted at the same time Democrats like Powers supported it. Because this president’s word is utterly worthless: He promised pro-life Democrat Rep. Bart Stupak that abortion would not be funded in ObamaCare, a promise that secured Stupak’s support. Now Stupak is out of office, and ObamaCare is the chosen vehicle of attack on Christian charities with abortion as the administration’s weapon of choice. Because the progressive left’s talk of tolerance is a lie. Because this is ultimately where the politics of the progressive left lead us: To fundamental conflict, and ultimately, to the death of religious institutions and other fundamental liberties. That’s not a bug in their plans. It’s a feature.
That’s among the reasons Catholics are not alone in their fight. I’m not a Catholic myself, I’m Southern Baptist. When it comes to government encroaching on religious freedom, I take a NATO point of view about it: An attack on one of the Judeo-Christian faiths is an attack on all of us. There will be no “first they came…” regret, because all Christians and everyone who values religious freedom should stand up together now and forcefully push this administration back until it yields. And then we should remember this attack and vote in the fall to prevent another one. Progressivism delenda est.