Why did he do it?
Why has President Obama decided to force Catholic universities and hospitals to pay for health insurance that will cover such services and drugs as sterilization, contraceptives and possible abortifacients for its employees, despite the Catholic church’s teachings against those practices?
Did he decide to do it in order to shore up the radical liberal base in an election year? Or is he being deliberate in curtailing religious freedoms?
Either answer is very disturbing.
Cardinal-elect Timothy Dolan of the New York archdiocese responded bluntly to the announcement, which Catholic organizations will be forced to comply with in 2013:
In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences. To force American citizens to choose between violating their consciences and forgoing their health care is literally unconscionable…This represents a challenge and a compromise of our religious liberty.
The archbishop is precisely correct.
This is a serious moral issue, and momentum is growing around the country to speak out and speak up about it – with some even threatening civil disobedience should the law withstand legal scrutiny.
I don’t blame them. What else can people of faith do when their conscience is flagrantly being violated?
So stated several Catholic bishops:
We cannot—we will not—comply with this unjust law. People of faith cannot be made second class citizens. We are already joined by our brothers and sisters of all faiths and many others of good will in this important effort to regain our religious freedom… In generations past, the Church has always been able to count on the faithful to stand up and protect her sacred rights and duties. I hope and trust she can count on this generation of Catholics to do the same. Our children and grandchildren deserve nothing less.
To be sure, this is not only a Catholic issue. It directly impacts all people of faith who believe in the sanctity and dignity of human life. Protestant organizations will similarly be forced to pay for drugs that may cause early abortions.
This is how the freedom of religious expression is lost in a culture. Rarely does it happen in a single instance. Instead, as we have witnessed and endured these last several years, it’s lost bit by bit. With this action, the Obama administration has taken another large bite out of this fundamental freedom.
NOTE: Paid for by CitizenLink, the public policy affiliate of Focus on the Family.