In their minds, they are free to twist and reinterpret the 1st Amendment and any other part of the constitution until it no longer stands in their way.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says there are no “constitutional rights issues” involved in a regulation issued by the administration that requires all health-care plans in the United States to cover sterilizations and all FDA-approved contraceptives, including those that induce abortions.
Because the Catholic Church holds that sterilization, artificial contraception and abortion are morally wrong and Catholic cannot be involved in them, the regulation in combination with the Obamacare mandate that all Americans buy health insurance will force American Catholics to choose between following the federal regulation or following the teachings of their church.
Thankfully, the Catholic Church isn’t taking this lying down. They read a letter aloud in their services over the weekend to bring attention to this blatant assault on their religious liberties.
Catholic bishops on Sunday issued a response to ObamaCare’s mandates on providing contraception in violation of conscience and religious freedom. The message was simple: We will not comply.
It was hardly a profile in courage when the Obama administration, hoping to kick the issue down the road past the November election, announced last Friday that Catholic hospitals and other religious institutions will have an extra year to comply with a new requirement that most health plans provide contraceptive benefits at no cost to their members.
On Sunday, America’s Catholic bishops in an open letter to their parishioners and their government said they would not comply.
Champions of the separation of church and state have let the crickets chirp on this matter.
Not silent are those such as Bishop Richard Lennon of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese. They let it be known they’ll fight this assault on the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of religion.
“Unless this rule is overturned, Catholics will be compelled either to violate our consciences or to drop health care coverage for our employees … ,” Lennon wrote in his letter read by priests throughout the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland during weekend Masses.
The Obama administration is “denying to Catholics our nation’s first and most fundamental freedom — that of religious liberty. We cannot — we will not — comply with this unjust law.”
The Obama administration has in effect torn up the “conscience clause,” a 30-year-old law that let health care professionals opt out of providing abortion-related services for moral reasons, sort of like a conscientious objector in time of war.
The Bush administration, on its last day in office, issued an expanded regulation called the Provider Refusal Rule.
“In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences,” Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholics recently said. We wonder if the University of Notre Dame wants back the honorary degree it gave to President Obama.
Ironically, the effect of this assault on the First Amendment in the name of providing universal health care could be dangerous to our health.
According to the Catholic Health Association, 13% of the nation’s nearly 5,000 hospitals are Catholic and employ more than 600,000 people.
One of every six Americans hospitalized in the U.S. is cared for in a Catholic hospital. How many of the nation’s 624 Catholic hospitals will be forced to close?