Linked by The Astute Bloggers
Hat tip: Brian B.
Why is the Obama administration picking a fight with the Catholic church during an election year? It doesn’t make any sense. He’s got the bishops all riled up, and those guys are hard to rile up.
He’s ticked off the Catholic church like no other President has ever done before. If Obama and Co think their assault on our religious liberties can be compared to the war in Iraq because the Catholic church opposed that, too, they’ve got another thing coming.
The Catholic church may not have liked the Iraq war, but American Catholics were allowed to follow their own consciences on whether or not it was a “just war.”
When they force Catholic employers to offer their employees health coverage that includes sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception, and force almost all individuals to buy that coverage as a part of their policies, it is seen as a direct attack on our faith. Those life issues are considered “non negotiable”- meaning that for Catholics, they are always morally wrong and must never be promoted by the law.
Last Sunday, in Catholic churches across the nation a letter from the bishops was read, slamming the Obama administration for the policy. Catholic Democrats and Republicans are united against the policy. Former Catholic supporters are feeling betrayed.
I don’t know if the Obama administration is even smart enough to know how much damage this is doing to the President’s reelection chances.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
I write to you concerning an alarming and serious matter that negatively impacts the Church in the United States directly, and that strikes at the fundamental right to religious liberty for all citizens of any faith. The federal government, which claims to be “of, by, and for the people,” has just been dealt a heavy blow to almost a quarter of those people — the Catholic population — and to the millions more who are served by the Catholic faithful.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that almost all employers,
including Catholic employers, will be forced to offer their employees’ health coverage that includes sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception. Almost all health insurers will be forced to include those “services” in the health policies they write. And almost all individuals will be forced to buy that coverage as a part of their policies.
In so ruling, the Obama Administration has cast aside the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, denying to Catholics our Nation’s first and most fundamental freedom, that of religious liberty. And as a result, unless the rule is overturned, we Catholics will be compelled to either violate our consciences, or to drop health coverage for our employees (and suffer the penalties for doing so). The Obama Administration’s sole concession was to give our institutions one year to comply.
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. Our parents and grandparents did not come to these shores to help build America’s cities and towns, its infrastructure and institutions, its enterprise and culture,
only to have their posterity stripped of their God given rights. 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.
And therefore, I would ask of you two things. First, as a community of faith we must commit ourselves to prayer and fasting that wisdom and justice may prevail, and religious liberty may be restored. Without God, we can do nothing; with God, nothing is impossible. Second, I would also recommend visiting http://www.usccb.org/conscience,to learn more about this severe assault on religious liberty, and how to contact Congress in support of legislation that would reverse the Obama Administration’s decision.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
+Alexander K. Sample
Most Reverend Alexander K. Sample
Bishop of Marquette
At least three Catholic bishops have said they will not comply with the mandate the Obama administration put in place recently in Obamacare that will force religious employers to pay for birth control, contraception and drugs that may cause abortions in their health care plans.
The Obama Administration issued a statement re-iterating the “contraceptive mandate” requiring all insurance providers cover the full range of FDA-approved drugs and devices would remain intact. This mandate, originally proposed in August, includes drugs that work after conception to destroy life rather than prevent it. The statement included a postponement of one year for religious groups that do not already carry contraceptives and additionally would not be exempted under last year’s narrow definition of “religious employer.”
Meanwhile, a total of 86 bishops who have spoken out against the Obama/HHS mandate publicly. In some cases, the bishops had priests in parishses throughout their diocese read the statements all diocesan Masses (bold). According to Thomas Peters of CatholicVote.org here are some of the bishops have are opposed to the mandate and have urged their parishoners to contact Congress and the Obama administration to oppose it.
- 1. Roger Cardinal Mahony of Los Angeles, CA (Emeritus)
- 2. Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan of New York City, NY
- 3. Bishop Joe Vasquez of Austin, TX
- 4. Archbishop Robert Carlson of St. Louis, MO
- 5. Bishop Thomas Omsted of Phoenix, AZ
- 6. Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit, MI
- 7. Archbishop John Nienstedt of Saint Paul & Minneapolis, MN
- 8. Bishop David Ricken of Green Bay, WI
- 9. Bishop Paul Etienne of Cheyenne, WY
- 10. Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, CT
Also, an expected lawsuit against the mandate could find itself moving all the way up to the Supreme Court which, as the Los Angeles Times notes, “recently affirmed — in a 9-0 ruling — that the 1st Amendment gives special leeway to religious employers.”
Again, this is extremely out of the ordinary for the Catholic church to be taking such a forceful position against a government policy.
This discussion between Glenn Beck & Bill Donohue on the Obama Admin’s attack on the Catholic Church is worth watching in full.
I’ve always liked Ed Koch. The former Mayor of New York sent Donohue a letter, saying, “Catholics and Jews need to stand together in these times….”
This Catholic Advocate video shows the clip from Obama’s Notre Dame speech where he called for an “unprecedented common ground” for those with differing beliefs, and said he would draft “a sensible conscience clause.”
Someone should have told Father Jenkins back in the Spring of ’09, that all of Obama’s statements come with an expiration date – he might have been spared those pangs of regret and betrayal he’s now feeling.
See Father Z’s blog: What Does The Prayer Really Say, for more Statements from US Bishops about Obama’s attack on the church.
The links are in the comments.
Those of you who are pulling your hair out about how bloody hideous the Republican primary has been, so far, are losing sight of just how vulnerable Obama is on a number of fronts.
- He is going to have a much harder time attracting Catholic, Christian and Jewish votes this time around.
- The Fast and Furious scandal is coming to a full boil, and it’s hard to see how the White House isn’t implicated after it’s established that the Attorney General knew about Fast and Furious since the beginning and has been lying to Congress all this time.
- People are getting sick of seeing their tax dollars circling the “green energy” drain, they want to see the pipeline approved – they want to see us taking real steps toward being energy independent.
- The economy is on very shaky ground – we may be in for a double dip recession.
- The Middle East and North Africa are much less safe places now, thanks to him.
All the money in the world can’t negate those facts.
Newt Gingrich in a Fox News interview with Sean Hannity, Monday night, talked about his intention of rolling back, (through executive orders) 40% of Obama’s policies on his first day in office – including the abortion mandate.
This is a must read (no I hadn’t read this, yet, Lily):
Cliff Kincaid, New Zeal: Catholic Church Rejects Surrender Terms from Obama:
My Catholic priest, Father Larry Swink, delivered a homily on Sunday that I told him would make headlines. In the toughest sermon I have ever heard from a pulpit, he attacked the Obama Administration as evil, even demonic, and warned of religious persecution ahead. What was also newsworthy about the sermon was that he cited The Washington Post in agreement—not on the subject of the Obama Administration being evil, but on the matter of its abridgment of the constitutional right to freedom of religion.
What is happening is extraordinary and unprecedented. The Catholic Church is in open revolt against the Obama Administration, with Fr. Swink noting from the pulpit that priests across the archdiocese were joining the call on Sunday to rally Catholics to resistance against the U.S. Government. He said we are entering a time of religious persecution and that Catholics and others will have to make a final decision about which side they are on.
The issue is what the Catholic Bishops have called a “literally unconscionable” edict by the Obama Administration demanding that sterilization, abortifacients and contraception be included in virtually all health plans.
So why would the administration pick a major fight with the Catholic Church? There are two main reasons. (1) The administration wants to please its progressive and feminist, secular pro-abortion base. (2) The administration believes Catholics are divided on the issue and will ignore their leaders and follow Obama.
A number of nominal Catholics, surely will. But the faithful are in open rebellion.
Support for the latter explanation comes in the form of the Obama Administration’s efforts to co-opt the Catholic Church, primarily through appointing nominal Catholics to high-level positions in government and keeping funding going to the church for “social justice” causes. Another player in this effort is the hedge-fund billionaire George Soros, an atheist who nevertheless has found groups that are “Catholic in name only” to accept his financial largesse. These groups, including Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, are designed to give the impression that Catholics are less concerned about issues like stopping abortion and protecting the sanctity of traditional marriage than passing government health care. The Obama/Soros gamble may be backfiring.
Some may see this battle as just another church-state dust-up that will be resolved through litigation. But when apocalyptic imagery is used, such as what I heard at my church on Sunday, one must wonder if there is an awakening on the part of the Catholic community and if there is something else going on here besides politics as usual. In short, is the Catholic Church beginning to finally recognize the real nature of the Obama Administration?
Learn the truth behind the fake Catholics who have helped an atheist billionaire dominate the Democratic party, here.
I remember one Cardinal in particular using “apocalyptic imagery” shortly after Obama was elected, when he predicted that the election of Obama would begin a“Time Of Trial” For Americans:
Cardinal James Francis Stafford, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary of the Holy See, delivered a lecture on Thursday at the Catholic University of America:
Criticizing Obama as “aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic,” he went on to speak about a decline in respect for human life and the need for Catholics to return to the values of marriage and human dignity.
I find it hard to believe that Obama made this unforced error. Clearly he is pandering to his far left base. But in doing so, he is taking direct aim at religion. How historically ignorant do you have to be not to understand that you don’t screw with peoples’ religion.
True, its been almost a millenium since the Catholic Church launched a Crusade against such a fundamental attack on her religion. And it has been almost four centuries since the last of the Christian religious wars. But to think that Christian passions have so cooled this will not drive the religious to vote their conscience in the 2012 election is, I think, a grand error.
Obama may be trying to fire up his base, but he has just done so at tremendous cost. If the election is close, this may prove the tipping point.
In an oped in The Washington Post, Michael Gerson proclaimed that the Obama administration has formally declared a war on religion:
The administration’s ultimate motivation is uncertain. Has it adopted a radical secularism out of conviction, or is it cynically appealing to radical secularists? In either case, the war on religion is now formally declared.
Professor Bainbridge: A remarkably narrow definition of religion
The Anchoress sees a silver lining: Obamacare’s Gift to the Catholics:
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and the president have brought us often-divided Catholics some clarity: it has helped us to discover the line in the sand upon which we can stand together and declare, “Dude…we are church!”
Also via the Anchoress: Thomas Peters is keeping track of the Bishops speaking out
Sarah Palin: How Obama Repaid Notre Dame