So why is the President picking this fight with Catholics before the elections in the first place? There was certainly no crisis to provoke this action. Contraceptives are cheaply and easily available everywhere, and no suits have been filed against Catholic employers for failing to cover contraceptives.
Obviously, availability of contraceptives is not the real issue here. But this is a strategic first step in a larger battle. If Obama and the radical feminist, pro-abort lobby he is beholden to can successfully mandate that all employers must provide insurance to pay for contraception (including pills that are in actuality abortifacients) regardless of the religious beliefs of employers, then they can next require that they cover abortion pills such as RU-486 (since, after all, the SCOTUS has declared abortion a “constitutional right”), then dictate that they cover flat-out surgical abortions. That’s not a “slippery-slope” fallacy, but similar to the legal process that led up to Roe v. Wade, which began with an aggressive assault by liberal Supreme Court justices on (largely unenforced) state contraceptive laws.
In addition, Team Obama has cynically used the backlash against this mandate to its own advantage in trying to paint opponents of the mandate as being in favor of banning contraception, and thus “energize” Obama’s base. While I’d have no moral objections to such a ban, the reality is that this is hogwash. No one is working to illegalize contraception in this country. Nonetheless, liberal pundits and talking heads are babbling furiously over the “Republican Party’s war on contraception.” Anyone opposed to the mandate is a crazed fanatic eager to ban condoms from the local drugstore and post cops in your bedroom. Theocratic rule and the rise of the American Taliban is eminent unless you Act Now and support Dear Leader!
Of course, beyond the obvious moral issues for Catholic institutions trying to stay loyal to conscience by following the Church’s teaching, the question needs to be raised of what gives the President, or the HHS have the power to make such a mandate? Such a power to force private institutions what they must buy and not buy is certainly not enumerated in the Constitution, and in fact blatantly violates the First Amendment guarantee of the “free practice” of religion – a freedom which in any sane reckoning goes beyond mere “freedom of worship.” As Francis Cardinal George of Chicago said in his brilliant and eloquent defense of religious liberty against the mandate (I urge you to read the whole thing):
The provision of health care should not demand “giving up” religious liberty. Liberty of religion is more than freedom of worship. Freedom of worship was guaranteed in the Constitution of the former Soviet Union. You could go to church, if you could find one. The church, however, could do nothing except conduct religious rites in places of worship-no schools, religious publications, health care institutions, organized charity, ministry for justice and the works of mercy that flow naturally from a living faith. All of these were co-opted by the government. We fought a long cold war to defeat that vision of society.
Yet this is the vision of society Obama and the Left would have us slouch towards. And sadly, even many “religious” Catholics and other Christians are swallowing this radical secularism nonsense hook, line and sinker. (I’ll have more to say on this in future posts). I won’t compare Obama to Stalin or Mao. That would be giving the man entirely too much credit. Yet his actions and attitudes are one of a petty dictator, rather than the leader of a free nation. And today, too few American citizens care, or even know, about Constitutional freedoms and limitations on government (the Constitution, after all, being merely a quaint archaeological relic, the product of Dead White Slave-holding Males, and wholly unsuitable for today’s enlightened, complex world of MTV, internet porn, and Angry Birds).
The attitude of too many of today’s “Catholic” citizens is summed up by the words of NASCAR driver, swimsuit model, and godaddy.com spokes-chick (and, of course, “practicing Catholic”) Danica Patrick when her opinion on the contraception mandate was sought by a Daily Caller reporter (where the hell would us lowly peasantry be anyway without Celebrities to guide us on the Shining Path to Wisdom and Enlightenment?): “I leave it up to the government to make good decisions for Americans.” Dutifully spoken like a good peon.
Screw self-government by the people, religious liberty, economic liberty, constitutional rights, and checks and balances on government power. We love Big Brother.