A few days ago, I was bemused to see Bad Catholic quoted, whose blog I enjoy, in the regular Friday op-ed section where there was a thoughtful piece about the viral video Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus. I haven't commented on that video because many others have done so quite effectively ... suffice it to say that it is a shallow bit of thinking representative of the age we live in.
Then this morning I was surprised to see an editorial ObamaCare and Religious Freedom. By none other than Archbishop of New York, Timothy Dolan, whose writing I much enjoy. He roundly takes the Obama administration for insisting on pushing the government into religion.
Scarcely two weeks ago, in its Hosanna-Tabor decision upholding the right of churches to make ministerial hiring decisions, the Supreme Court unanimously and enthusiastically reaffirmed these longstanding and foundational principles of religious freedom. The court made clear that they include the right of religious institutions to control their internal affairs.Do go read it all.
Yet the Obama administration has veered in the opposite direction. It has refused to exempt religious institutions that serve the common good—including Catholic schools, charities and hospitals—from its sweeping new health-care mandate that requires employers to purchase contraception, including abortion-producing drugs, and sterilization coverage for their employees.
The Catholic Church defends religious liberty, including freedom of conscience, for everyone. The Amish do not carry health insurance. The government respects their principles. Christian Scientists want to heal by prayer alone, and the new health-care reform law respects that. Quakers and others object to killing even in wartime, and the government respects that principle for conscientious objectors. By its decision, the Obama administration has failed to show the same respect for the consciences of Catholics and others who object to treating pregnancy as a disease.
I remember rolling my eyes when the Obama administration announced a few days ago, with an air of paternal well meaning, that they would give religious groups an extra year to come into line with their mandate. How kind of them ... to push it away from the president's reelection campaign timing and pretend they are doing religious institutions a favor.
This inevitably brought to mind President Obama's statement on the occasion of the 39th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, where he fell back on affirming it at the most basic level because, and I quote:
... but also affirms a broader principle: that government should not intrude on private family matters.Of course, he was being disingenuous. Killing someone is the most basic sort of intrusion of government into rights and abortion is killing. But above that, he shows that intruding into personal privacy is the sort of thing that is only honored when he cares to do so.
Again, I am reminded. I must pray for President Obama and his staff. We are not only under grave attack for our religious rights, but their souls are at grave risk.