House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday morning that the government should require self-insured religious institutions, such as the Catholic church in Washington, D.C., to directly pay for contraception and abortifacients.
Read that again. The Catholic church in DC itself, not just a hospital affiliated with it. No state law anywhere mandates that. Yet.
At a press conference, Leader Pelosi was asked by THE WEEKLY STANDARD: “The Catholic Church in Washington, D.C., is a self-insured institution. Should the Catholic Church in Washington, D.C., be required to pay for these morning-after pills and birth control if they find that morally objectionable?”
Pelosi talked about the importance of women’s health, and then said, “Yes, I think that all institutions who cover, who give, health insurance should cover the full range of health insurance issues for women.”
Solution: These churches should send out notices to be read in services Sunday that they will shut down their insurance plans if the mandate stands. Give a shutdown date, sooner rather than later to keep the administration off balance and on the defensive. Make sure the threat is credible, and post the details on all relevant web sites.
Read my virtual lips: It is going to take visible, radical action to stop this train. Citing this bishop’s take or that bishop’s story is not going to be enough. Forget analogies about forcing kosher delis to serve bacon, or halal stores to carry pork. This is war, now. The other side isn’t listening and doesn’t care, and they have most of the power that matters. They own the White House, the Senate has become a rump under Reid, and though the Republicans have the House, Pelosi et al have the media. The radicals on the left are feeling their oats now and will not be dissuaded by normal politics. The Constitution hasn’t stopped them. Criticism even from a few in the mainstream press itself hasn’t stopped them. Objections within the administration didn’t even stop them. It’s going to take something jarring and drastic to stop them. And even that may not be enough. We’re through the looking glass, as they say. Pelosi may as well have help up a copy of the Constitution and set it on fire.
This shut down action shouldn’t be limited to the Catholics. I did some checking around regarding the Baptists, since I am one. It turns out that the Southern Baptists self-insure through GuideStone. GuideStone is the source of insurance for roughly 60,000 ministers, missionaries and lay people around the world. The mandate forces the SBC to fund services it finds unconscionable. They are already on the record after Friday’s accommodation saying that they cannot do what the administration is mandating. But the administration and its allies do not care. Read again what Pelosi is saying. She wants the mandate to go even farther than it already goes. Any notion that normal political give and take will work is delusional.
I also spoke with one very large non-denominational church about how it insures, to try and understand that side of the issue. There are roughly 64,000 non-denominational churches in the US, ranging from tiny churches with no professional staff or benefits packages to very large networked churches with dozens of staff and robust benefits packages. The church I spoke with insisted that because it is a church and contracts through a general contractor (and doesn’t self-insure), it would not be affected the mandate. I hope folks at that church read what Pelosi is saying now. There will be no place to hide. Hang together now, or hang separately later.
Update: We’re a long way from 1993, when Rep. Pelosi co-sponsored the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which:
Prohibits any agency, department, or official of the United States or any State (the government) from substantially burdening a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except that the government may burden a person’s exercise of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person: (1) furthers a compelling governmental interest; and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.