Obama’s war on religion (update #4)

Obama's War on Religion

Obama’s brazen assault on religious liberty remains intransigent. His political calculus has apparently determined that faithful Christian voters are not part of his base. Yet, this issue is so much broader than one demographic. This is yet another extralegal step, disregarding the Constitution of the United States and his oath of office. It certainly is not the first one (e.g. refusing to enforce laws he personally disagress with like the Defense of Marriage Act).

Before he enter on the execution of his office, he shall take the following oath or affirmation: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

US Constitution, Article II, Section 1

The possible resolutions are:

  • Obama reverses course and either drops this mandate or provides at least minimal conscience protections that he has promised again and again.
  • This administrative action is overridden by a law, with a veto proof majority. This has already been tried but failed in the Democrat controlled senate.
  • The courts rule against it. This seems very probable, but will take a long time.
  • Obama is not reelected. It is a certainty that a different administration will correct this.

This issue is too important not to cover, but I also want to keep my normal publishing schedule of Tuesday and Friday open for my regular content. Therefore, beginning today this update (and any future ones on this topic) will be published on Sundays as needed.

My last summary was 2.5 weeks ago. This is the latest update. To see the whole series, click here.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

First Amendment to the United States Constitution

Further Reading

Here is a good sampling of the zillion new articles written on this topic in the last two and a half weeks:

  1. “The HHS Mandate is Demeaning to Women.” And Women Are Speaking Out
  2. “Well, basically, we’re not looking to the Constitution on that aspect of it”
  3. ‘Decrease in Human Beings Will Cover Cost of Contraception Mandate,’ Claims Sebelius
  4. ‘Unified, focused’ bishops pledge to continue religious liberty defense
  5. ‘We Are Crossing the Rubicon’: House Tackles HHS Mandate Threat
  6. A sermon explaining what Pres. Obama is doing.
  7. Abominations Will Be Forced On Us By The Government
  8. Administration ‘Taking another Mulligan’
  9. Americans Strongly Oppose Obama Mandate, New Poll Shows
  10. Amish, Ok. Catholics, No.
  11. An Embarrassing History Lesson
  12. And Upon This Poll I Will Build My Church
  13. Becket Fund on Bill O’Reilly: Misconceptions and New Polls
  14. Biden: We “Screwed Up” Conscience Issues in the Mandate
  15. Bishop tells committee about ‘absurd’ effects of contraceptive mandate
  16. Bishops Call Day of Prayer, Fasting, Abstinence for Religious Liberty
  17. Bogus Birth Control Controversy
  18. Bp. Lori responds for USCCB to America Magazine’s cave in on Pres. Obama’s HHS attack
  19. CL: Lefty ‘catholics’ shilling for Pres. Obama
  20. Cardinal Dolan Implies That Obama Lied To Him
  21. Cardinal Dolan’s Update on the HHS Mandate Fight
  22. Cardinal Dolan: religious liberty concerns ‘off the table’ for White House
  23. Cardinal George: All Catholic Hospitals Will Close in Two Years Under HHS Mandate
  24. Cardinal George: All Catholic hospitals will close in two years under HHS mandate
  25. Catholic laity urged to bring faith-based convictions to public square
  26. Church plans to redouble effort for law to protect religious conscience
  27. Church’s Alliance with Government Comes Crashing Down
  28. Contraception Not as Important as Abortion to Obama
  29. Contraception hurts minorities, says African American leader
  30. Contraception, Against Conscience
  31. Controlling Language in the “Contraceptive” Debate
  32. Debunking Obama’s Myths About Catholics and Contraception
  33. Diverse panel testifies against contraception mandate
  34. Does the ObamaCare individual mandate make contracts unenforceable?
  35. Don’t Claim to Speak for All Women
  36. Driving The Narrative
  37. Ethics group says babies are not “actual persons”, and killing them is fine.
  38. Executive Overreach: The HHS Mandate Versus Religious Liberty
  39. First They Came for the Catholics: Obama’s Contraceptive Mandate
  40. Forcing A Kosher Deli To Sell Ham Is Akin To Forcing A Catholic to Pay For Contraception
  41. Free Beer Mandate
  42. Freedom of Worship?
  43. HHS Issues New Rule on ObamaCare Scheme to Fund Abortion Insurance
  44. HHS Mandate Creates Absurd Results, Bishop Lori Tells House Judiciary Committee
  45. HHS Resources
  46. Have Laws Been Replaced by Decrees?
  47. Holder: First Amendment Allows Us to Force Catholics to Buy Contraception
  48. House Judiciary Hearing Raises Concerns of Government Intrusion Into Family Life
  49. HuffPo: We Must Regulate Fertility Industry
  50. In defense of the Catholic Church
  51. Interesting Glen Beck video
  52. Joe Klein Shocker: Requiring Insurers to Cover Birth Control ‘Major Overstepping of the State’s Role’
  53. Laughable Hypcorisy from Obama
  54. Leaving the Democrats
  55. Legion Of Evil (Senate) Kills Blunt Amendment
  56. Lutheran leader sides with Catholics on contraceptives issue in fiery testimony
  57. Missouri Synod President tells House Committee: LCMS ‘religiously opposed to supporting abortion-causing drugs’
  58. National rallies seek religious freedom restoration on March 23
  59. New Poll Shows How Strongly Americans Oppose the HHS Mandate
  60. Non possumus! We Cannot!
  61. Not about Catholics or Contraception
  62. Now is Not the Time For Silence or Compromise
  63. Obama Abandoning Pro-Life Embryo Adoption Program
  64. Obama Admin Cuts Off Birth Control Funding for Low-Income Women in Texas
  65. Obama Admin lectures Card. Dolan and USCCB. Dolan responds
  66. Obama Admin’s HHS kills Texas women’s health program because State prohibits money to help Planned Parenthood
  67. Obama Administration Takes Another Pass on Defending HHS Mandate
  68. Obama Mandate Could Fine Religious Groups $2,000 Per Employee
  69. Obama Risks $100 Billion If Catholic Hospitals Close
  70. Obama VS. Religious Freedom – Don’t Let the Point Get Lost!
  71. Obama gives Amish complete exemption. Catholics? Talk to the hand! Why? Why do you think?
  72. Obama’s Remaking of America
  73. Obamacare Regs 2.5X As Long as the Bible
  74. Pa. bishops respond to HHS mandate with day of fasting and prayer
  75. President Obama: Render Unto God the Things that Are God’s
  76. Pretending Contraception is the Crisis
  77. Religious Freedom: It’s not just Pakistan and China
  78. Senate Dems stop “conscience exemption” to Obama birth control coverage policy
  79. Sleeping Giant-A Parody of All Along the Watchtower Concerning the HHS Debacle
  80. Speaking Loudly About Human Liberty
  81. Spoon-feeding partisan talking points
  82. Stand Up For Religious Freedom on March 23
  83. Tell your Senator: Stop HHS Mandate!
  84. The Bogus Birth Control Debate
  85. The Evolution Of A Right
  86. The Forgotten Birth Control Battle
  87. The Mandate Controversy and the Bishops’ Response
  88. The Senate Betrays the People
  89. The Suppositions Behind Obama’s Contraception Coverage
  90. The right to conscientious objection
  91. U.S. Senate Defeats Amendment to Protect Religious Liberty
  92. Umbrellas in a Tornado
  93. United for Religious Freedom
  94. WH to Dolan: We’re not listening but you should!
  95. We don’t need no stinking Bishops!
  96. What if Catholic bishops aren’t bluffing?
  97. What the heck does that have to do with our freedom of religion?
  98. What’s Going On?
  99. White House Tells US Bishops’ Staff How To Interpret Catholic Teaching
  100. Why the State Must Respect Your Conscience
  101. Women’s voices you don’t hear in the mainstream media

Obama’s war on religion (update #3)

Obama's War on Religion

Devotees of the liberal, mainstream media might think the world has moved on from all that HHS mandate ruckus. Their muted or non-existent news coverage is almost magical, much like how they make the massive March for Life rallies seem insignificant. In fact, both are related and opposed to the culture of death they are committed to. The truth is, this war is far from over.

My last summary was 2 weeks ago. This is the latest update. To see the whole series, click here.

Respect for Rights of Conscience Act

This is a piece of legislation that should be totally unnecessary. Yet, it may be the fastest means to reverse the precipitous dilution of religious liberty in America. Cardinal Timothy Dolan (president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) and Bishop William Lori (chairman of the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty) support senate amendment 1520. It’s purpose is to ensure that those who participate in the health-care system “retain the right to provide, purchase or enroll in health coverage that is consistent with their religious beliefs and moral convictions.”

More information is available at the National Catholic Register in Cardinal Dolan Backs Respect for Rights of Conscience Act: Contact Your Legislator Now.

Additionally, Cardinal Dolan joined with over 500 religious leaders and scholars in signing yesterday a joint statement rejecting the unconstitutional mandate. Those signing this statement include Catholics, Protestants, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Latter-Day Saints, Jews, Muslims, and others. The list of signers includes people from across the political spectrum – liberals, conservatives, and people fitting into neither category.

7 states file suit

Seven states join the growing list of organizations suing the Obama administration to overturn his trampling of religious freedom. More state attorney generals are likely to follow.

The states (so far) are Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas. The suit argues (the somewhat obvious point) that the mandate violates both the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Catholic Lane has the story.

We are all Catholic now

Baptist minister and former governor, Mike Huckabee began a speech recently thanking President Obama for uniting his opposition. Most memorably, Huckabee – echoing JFK’s “we are all Berliners now” sentiment – declared “we are all Catholic now.”

2,500 religious leaders oppose Obama’s mandate

The Family Research Council has released a letter signed by over 2,500 pastors and evangelical leaders opposed to the president’s HHS mandate that tramples religious freedom and conscience rights. Baptist Press has the story.

The National Clergy Council declares a “state of emergency”

The National Clergy Council representing Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical and Orthodox leaders has declared a state of emergency exists due to the president’s extraordinary attack on religious liberty. Lutheran pastor Dr. Normund Lund said “Protestants are beginning to close ranks and join our Catholic friends on this issue.” He noted that the situation is so serious, that this is “an issue worth fighting and dying for.”

Francis Cardinal George on persecution and martyrdom

Father John Zuhlsdorf wrote an excellent summary of observations made by His Eminence Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago:

In February of 2012, Cardinal George reflected on the seriousness of the Obama administration’s health-care mandate:

At the present moment, Catholics in this country are facing challenges to our institutional existence and our mission that we thought would never arise here. — The laws that used to protect us are now being used to weaken and destroy us, and this quite deliberately.

Shortly, thereafter, when the Obama administration and the media touted the fact that the Catholic Bishops are alone on the contraception issue and that most Catholics aren’t supporting them in this battle, Cardinal George wrote:

This is the first time in the history of the United States that a presidential administration has purposely tried to interfere in the internal working of the Catholic Church, playing one group off against another for political gain. What isn’t always understood is that the Bishops of the Church make no attempt to speak for all Catholics; they never have. The Bishops speak for the Catholic and apostolic faith, and those who hold that faith gather around them. Others disperse.

A few days later on at a press conference held at Loyola University on February 18th, he told the Chicago Tribune about the devastating effects of the HHS mandate for Catholic institutions:

The long-term effect is that the Catholic Church will be stripped of the institutions that are her instruments for public service. We will lose hospitals, we will lose universities. That’s not the country I was born in. — Something monumental is happening here.

Particularly chilling is the Cardinal’s assessment of the degree to which he believed religious freedoms (in the United States and other Western societies) were endangered. After the passage of legislation that enabled Civil Unions in Illinois, his eminence stated:

I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.

Father Barron: HHS mandate is anti-Catholic and un-American

Father Robert Barron, creator of the highly acclaimed Catholicism project says that the HHS mandate is anti-Catholic and un-American:

One small state battle for conscience rights won

Washington state’s governor (Christine Gregoire) decided to force all pharmacies to dispense abortifacients regardless of conscience rights. The State Board of Pharmacy resisted but caved after she threatened to replace board members if necessary.

Pharmacies routinely refer customers to other facilities for a broad range of reasons, but in Washington, that was not allowed. Every pharmacist must dispense “Plan B” or else.

This week, a federal court in Tacoma struck this down. This is so far over the line that a federal court in a generally liberal area agreed. This, with a judge who is not sympathetic to Catholic values.

The case was argued by The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. Pay attention to them, they do a lot of good. I consider them to be a moral version of the ACLU. See their complete comments on the case: Court Strikes Down Law Requiring Pharmacies to Dispense the Morning-After Pill.

Where is our apology?

Last week, President Obama apologized to Islamic extremists and the Muslim world in general for an offensive, but innocent action made by mistake. Our president cares deeply about the religious sensitivities of some. Faithful Christians, protected by our constitution and his own promises — not so much. Mr. President, where is my apology?

Obama Koran Apology

Further Reading

Here is a good sampling of the zillion new articles written on this topic in the last two weeks:

  1. A Convergence of Conscience and Command
  2. A Teachable Moment?
  3. A Uniter Not A Divider
  4. All 180 diocesan US bishops have issued a statement about Pres. Obama’s attack.
  5. Are Liberal Terms Dominating the HHS Mandate Debate?
  6. Are clergy public servants?
  7. Birth-Control Mandate: Unconstitutional and Illegal
  8. Bishop Lori Blasts Congress With Style
  9. Bishop Morlino: If They Can Do It To Catholics, They Can Do It To ANYBODY!
  10. Bishops Reject Obama’s ‘Accommodation’
  11. Cardinal George: no Catholic hospitals in 2 years unless HHS mandate is rescinded
  12. Cardinal Timothy Dolan issues strongest statement yet against the HHS mandate
  13. Cardinal urges Senate to pass bill protecting conscience in health care
  14. Catholic League on Sebelius’s admission before a Senate committee
  15. Catholic women rally against contraception mandate
  16. Catholics, Once Again, Considered “Un-American”
  17. Citizens, Not Sheep – A Call to Religious Liberty
  18. Contraception Mandate: Turning America Into Europe
  19. Contraception and the cost of culture wars
  20. Contraception ruling: Democrats accuse clergy of complicity with GOP at hearing
  21. Cooking the Books, Disparaging Catholics
  22. Craziest Hearing on Religious Liberty…Evah!
  23. Divide and Conquer
  24. Dolan Wants to Believe Obama’s Not Anti-Christian But…
  25. False Premises
  26. Freedom of Conscience vs. the HHS Mandate
  27. GOP candidates slam contraception mandate as attack on family
  28. Good news: Obama backs exemptions for religious organizations
  29. HHS Mandates Rhetoric: Wading Through the Nonsense
  30. HHS and a Series of Ugly Events
  31. HHS mandate means “ongoing, comprehensive government surveillance”: two new colleges sue
  32. His Eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan signs statement rejecting HHS mandate
  33. Hollow Compromise on Contraception Mandate
  34. Homeschooling org. protests Obama plan to mandate school attendance
  35. Leni Riefenstahl: Congratulations on the HHS Regulations
  36. Mandate a cure in search of a disease
  37. Mandate would ‘coerce’ Sisters to betray vow
  38. Mandating Is Fun!!
  39. Memo to Jews: After They Come for the Catholic Church, They Will Come For Us
  40. More things to know about the HHS Mandate
  41. Mother Angelica’s network isn’t buying Obama’s religious liberty ruse
  42. Myths abound about HHS contraceptive mandate; here are the facts
  43. NPR marks ‘Kick a Catholic Week’ with new t-shirt pledge drive gift
  44. Nationalizing Catholic Healthcare
  45. Nationalizing Catholic Healthcare
  46. New Fake Rights Trump Old Real Ones
  47. Notre Dame faculty calls Obama so-called accommodation “grave violation of religious freedom”
  48. Obama Administration to Court: “Please Look the Other Way”
  49. Obama Advisor: Kids from Large Families Are Dumb
  50. Obama Displaces the Rule of Law with Decree
  51. Obama Has Stranded the Catholic Left
  52. Obama Mandate’s Resistance Coalition
  53. Obama Obeys the Feminists Again
  54. Obama chief of staff: No more compromise, contraceptive rule is done deal
  55. Obama’s Anti-Religious Implosion
  56. Obama’s Catholic Church Gambit: Lessons from American Communists
  57. Obama’s Values Spark Return of Culture Wars
  58. Obama’s epic blunder on birth-control mandate
  59. Obama’s revised HHS mandate won’t solve problems, USCCB president says
  60. Poisoned by the Pill: Truths about Chemical Contraception
  61. Political Withdrawal?
  62. Pres. Obama, the Right Not to Do Wrong, and Politics of Ruse and Delay
  63. President Obama, Let Us Be Catholics!
  64. Religious Freedom and the Contraception Controversy
  65. Religious Freedom and the Triumph of the Therapeutic
  66. Religious Liberty, the Contraceptives Mandate, and Civility
  67. Revised Mandate “Unacceptable” to Over 300 Academics and Religious Leaders
  68. Revised contraceptive mandate prompts reaction from Catholic groups
  69. Should It Be Illegal to Be a Catholic Health-Insurance CEO?
  70. Supreme Court Filing: Obamacare Compels Individuals to Pay for Abortion Coverage
  71. Team Obama Fumbles Ruling, Offends Catholics
  72. The Catholic Liberal’s Lament
  73. The Coming Age of the Laity
  74. The Coming Age of the Laity
  75. The Contraception Mandate Fix: Fact vs. Fiction
  76. The HHS Mandate: One Battle in a Two-Front War
  77. The Heart of the Issue
  78. The Libertine Police State
  79. The Mentality of our Ruling Class
  80. The Moral Problems of Obama’s “Compromise” on HHS Mandate
  81. USCCB official: Revision in coverage still violates religious liberty
  82. USCCB: 6 More Things You Should Know About The HHS Mandate
  83. Weigel: Divide and Conquer?
  84. What problem are they trying to solve?
  85. Where’s the Protestant Support for Catholic Bishops?
  86. Who’s Out of Tune?
  87. Why Mandate Birth Control
  88. Why Obama’s ‘Accommodation’ is a Joke
  89. Why They Don’t Like the Church
  90. Why the HHS Mandate is About Religious Freedom AND Contraceptives
  91. Will the Bishops Go to the Mattresses?

Obama’s war on religion (update #2)

Obama's War on Religion

Nothing has changed.

You may be surprised by that statement, given the promotion in the media of Obama’s “compromise.” There is no compromise and none was offered. In fact, if anything Obama has doubled-down on his position. Catholics, individually and institutionally, must fund abortifacients (drugs to induce abortions) and sterilizations.

This post is part of a series covering this very important topic. To see the whole series, click here.

No compromise offered

As you recall, we find it a direct assault on our freedom of religion to be forced to purchase contraceptive (including abortifacient) and sterilization coverage.

Obama said, fine. Those with objections do not have to purchase such coverage. However, the insurance plans they do purchase MUST include these exact, same coverages “for free.” Obviously all insurance plans will be priced accordingly.

He must think we are that stupid. Obama is saying “look at it this way, you are not directly paying for these abhorrent coverages, but instead they will be included in the only insurance plans that will be legally available to you; you can pretend that you are not paying for them.”

This changes absolutely nothing. It does, however, give those Catholics who love Obama more than Christ and His Church some political cover to choose Obama. This has worked before for him, but this time – maybe not so well.

The bishops respond

Today, the President has done two things.

First, he has decided to retain HHS’s nationwide mandate of insurance coverage of sterilization and contraception, including some abortifacients. This is both unsupported in the law and remains a grave moral concern. We cannot fail to reiterate this, even as so many would focus exclusively on the question of religious liberty.

Second, the President has announced some changes in how that mandate will be administered, which is still unclear in its details. As far as we can tell at this point, the change appears to have the following basic contours:

It would still mandate that all insurers must include coverage for the objectionable services in all the policies they would write. At this point, it would appear that self-insuring religious employers, and religious insurance companies, are not exempt from this mandate.


We just received information about this proposal for the first time this morning; we were not consulted in advance. Some information we have is in writing and some is oral. We will, of course, continue to press for the greatest conscience protection we can secure from the Executive Branch. But stepping away from the particulars, we note that today’s proposal continues to involve needless government intrusion in the internal governance of religious institutions, and to threaten government coercion of religious people and groups to violate their most deeply held convictions. In a nation dedicated to religious liberty as its first and founding principle, we should not be limited to negotiating within these parameters. The only complete solution to this religious liberty problem is for HHS to rescind the mandate of these objectionable services.

We will therefore continue?with no less vigor, no less sense of urgency?our efforts to correct this problem through the other two branches of government. For example, we renew our call on Congress to pass, and the Administration to sign, the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act. And we renew our call to the Catholic faithful, and to all our fellow Americans, to join together in this effort to protect religious liberty and freedom of conscience for all.

Many, many individual bishops have continued to speak out.

Mr. President, you are trying to resolve the wrong problem. Your HHS new federal rule governing mandated health care services is not just about women’s services and who pays for them.

Rather, the real question is what protections and guarantees are afforded Americans and our various institutions by the Constitution. Your ill-placed focus should be frightening to all Americans.

Freedom of conscience and religious liberty are not concessions grudgingly granted by the Federal Government–either directly, or by way of exemption or exception. Our nation was founded on those basic and inalienable rights as the bedrock of who we are as Americans. Our Constitution was written precisely to reject and to avoid the dreadful English model whereby the king and the government are the granter of all rights–as well as the single power to withdraw, limit, or negate those rights.

As a Catholic American, I am outraged not only by your incredulous contortions to justify your untenable position, I am insulted that you would think that Americans who value and treasure our Constitutional freedoms would even question your overreaching infringement on individual freedom of religion and freedom of conscience.

Your “accommodation” actually makes the entire matter far worse. Every effort must be undertaken to reverse your ill-conceived revocation of our Constitutional rights.

I encourage all Catholics and millions of others of good will in our country to challenge candidates for election to Congress and to the presidency to take a strong stance in favor of guaranteeing and protecting our nation’s Constitutional rights.

I fear, Mr. President, that either you “don’t get it,” or even worse, you do “get it” and are intentionally trampling upon and reversing our Constitutional rights.

The current administration prides itself on being measured and deliberate.

The current HHS mandate needs to be understood as exactly that. Commentators are using words like “gaffe,” “ill conceived,” and “mistake” to describe the mandate. They’re wrong.

It’s impossible to see this regulation as some happenstance policy. It has been too long in the making.

Despite all of its public apprehension about “culture warriors” on the political right in the past, the current administration has created an HHS mandate that is the embodiment of culture war. At its heart is a seemingly deep distrust of the formative role religious faith has on personal and social conduct, and a deep distaste for religion’s moral influence on public affairs. To say that this view is contrary to the Founders” thinking and the record of American history would be an understatement.

Critics may characterize my words here as partisan or political. These are my personal views, and of course people are free to disagree. But it is this administration – not Catholic ministries, or institutions, or bishops – that chose the timing and nature of the fight. The onus is entirely on the White House, which also has the power to remove the issue from public conflict.

Catholics should not be misled into accepting feeble compromises on issues of principle. The HHS mandate is bad law; and not merely bad, but dangerous and insulting. It needs to be withdrawn – now.

Bishop Edward J. Slattery comments:

Catholics in the Democrat party have an exceptionally terrible record on life and family issues. One stood against the lack of of conscience protections in Obamacare and speaks-out now.

I am enormously disappointed by today’s announcement. All the facts indicate that the ‘new’ mandate is the same as the ‘old’ mandate. New words, same policy.

Our understanding of the new policy is now limited to a Fact Sheet put out by the White House. This document says ‘Religious organizations will not have to provide contraceptive coverage or refer their employees to organizations that provide contraception.’ But the health care law says that all employers must provide health insurance for their employees or pay a penalty. And according to the White House these same insurance plans that employers must provide ‘will be required to provide contraception coverage to these women free of charge.’ So religious organizations have to provide health care coverage from insurance companies that are required to provide abortion drugs, sterilization, and contraception. What changed? This is the same policy.

We need a rule that protects religious liberty by allowing employers to provide health insurance coverage that does not include abortion drugs and other services that violate their conscience and religious doctrine. Instead we got a so-called compromise that is no compromise at all and provides no options for those with profound religious and moral objections to providing these services. To say that the insurer and not the employer is required to provide the coverage is a fiction. There is no accommodation for religious liberty. The rule remains coercive and still violates the long-standing tradition of protection for conscience rights in federal law.

Rep. Dan Lipinski
Catholic Democrat from Illinois

Could we compromise if one were actually offered?

Consider this analogy: Obama comes and takes your car away. He just comes and steals it. It was your car, you paid for it, but now it is gone. You object strenuously to this theft.

Obama has heard your complaint of theft and has “compromised.” Instead of theft, your car has been involuntarily donated to him. You should no longer be upset that your car was stolen, it has simply been redistributed in the interest of other transportation needs.

Sr. Keehan (see below) praises Obama for responding to your opposition to theft. You still object saying nothing has changed. The media talks about your bishop forcing his transportation view on everyone else. This is where we are now.

Would you be happy if Obama offered a real compromise vs. word games and redefinitions?

Would you be satisfied if he offered to return the contents of your car? How about if he met you half-way, offering to return the engine, drive train and wheels? Would it make any difference to you if it were only other people’s cars?

[The Ironic Catholic offers another analogy: Religious Institutions Forced to Pay for Employees’ Slaves]

The big lie continues

Obama’s friends in the mainstream media continue to discuss this falsely as a contraceptive issue (see my piece from Friday).

Now, in addition to the misrepresentation of the issue, the liberal media can trot out a handful of dissident Catholics to thank Obama. In fact, the administration had Sister Carol Keehan queued-up to support his “compromise” before the announcement. You may recall that Keehan earns over $1M per year as president of the Catholic Health Association, is a die-hard Obama supporter, and has made a career for herself opposing both Church teaching and authority. Father Z calls her the Magisterium of the Nuns.

Speaking of liberal media, few can claim to be more biased than MSNBC. Their brains must have exploded when they invited author Eric Metaxas to talk about his new book and he compared Obama to Nazi Dietrich Bonhoeffer (the subject of said book). Talk about going off their narrative…

Further Reading

Here is a good sampling of the zillion articles written on this topic in the last week:

  1. The full statement from our bishops
  2. A Message to the Administration from the Communion of Saints on the HHS Mandate
  3. A Potemkin Village of a compromise
  4. An ‘accommodation’ that makes the birth-control mandate worse
  5. An affront Catholics agree on
  6. Bad Statistics in Defense of the HHS Mandate
  7. Being Catholic means ‘paying a price,’ says Detroit archbishop
  8. Caesar Overreaching Once Again
  9. Card. Burke Encourages Catholics to Sign Online Petition to Stop the Birth Control Mandate
  10. Cardinal-Designate Dolan: We Cannot – We Will Not – Comply With This Unjust Law
  11. Catholic League’s Donohue: ‘Obama Must Think We’re Stupid’
  12. Catholic and pro-life leaders slam White House ‘compromise’ on birth control mandate
  13. Christian and Religious Leaders Also Oppose HHS Mandate
  14. Contraceptive “compromise” worse than original mandate: Eliminates any exceptions
  15. Democrats to Catholics: “We don’t want you”
  16. Don’t Be Deceived! Evil Obama Policy Now Even MORE Evil!
  17. EWTN Files Suit to Block Contraception Mandate
  18. First They Came for the Catholics: Obama’s Contraceptive Mandate
  19. Interfaith leaders stand with Catholics against administration
  20. Like Your Freedom? Thank a Church.
  21. Obama Administration Offers False “Compromise” on Abortion-Drug Mandate
  22. Obama Has Picked the Wrong Fight
  23. Obama Heals!
  24. Obama administration to offer religious organizations a “choice” – a Hobson’s choice
  25. Obama has formally declared war on all religions
  26. Obama plays his Catholic allies for fools
  27. Obama the Groper: Get Your Hands Off Our Rights!
  28. Obama vs. Our “Obsolete” Constitution
  29. Obama’s Trampling on God’s Turf Now
  30. Obama’s Frightening ‘Adjustment’
  31. Obamacare vs. the Catholics
  32. Orthodox prelates join Catholic bishops in protesting Obama mandate
  33. “Our Task Is Far From Over”: The Bishops Take On the “Accommodation”
  34. Pastor Rick Warren: I’d Rather Go to Jail Than Obey Mandate
  35. Politics and Principle in the Contraception Mandate
  36. Pope Paul VI and Humanae Vitae: I Told You So
  37. Pope Paul VI: A Prophet For Our Time
  38. President Obama and Justice Ginsburg on America’s “Rather Old Constitution”
  39. “The Embodiment of Culture War”: On the Mandate and “Accommodation,” Chaput Speaks
  40. The Right Not to Do Wrong and the Politics of Ruse
  41. The bishops’ tougher response to the Obama ‘compromise’ mandate
  42. This isn’t about The Pill
  43. Tyrant King Attempts Head Fake
  44. USCCB’s pro-life head goes Maccabees on HHS rule – ‘not just about eating a little pork’
  45. United We Stand
  46. WH: We Are Done Negotiating With Catholics
  47. Why the HHS Mandate Is The Biggest Issue Since Roe V Wade

Obama’s war on religion (update #1)

Obama's War on Religion

The Obama administration’s war against religion continues with no sign of backing down. In a nut shell, our President insists that we Catholics fund (buy, pay for) contraceptives, abortifacients (drugs to induce abortions) and sterilization coverage – making these tools of Satan universally available to all in America at our expense.

This post is part of a series covering this very important topic. To see the whole series, click here.

9 days ago, US Catholic bishops around the country denounced President Obama’s action in the strongest terms. The Assembly of Orthodox Bishops in North America (representing 53 Orthodox bishops) has also agreed with the USCCB, as have conservative Protestant groups. Individual US bishops around the country have issued statements, often read aloud at Mass. Below is an interactive map showing which bishops by state:

Hover (move your mouse pointer) over a state for info. Click to enlarge.

The data for the above map was provided by Tom Peters on his excellent CatholicVote.org website. More data and analysis is available there. If you have any updates, please leave him a comment.

Dispatches from the White House

The administration has held press conferences and conference calls to obfuscate the issue, backed by statements lacking “truthiness”. Stephen White wrote for the National Review Online:

One senior administration official did address the matter of coverage for abortifacients, insisting that the mandate did not include coverage for, as they put it, “drugs that cause abortion.” This is false.

Take the example of ella (ulipristal acetate), which the mandate covers. It’s true that since ella has not been adequately studied as a human abortifacient, the FDA hasn’t approved it as an abortifacient. The FDA does point out that since it’s pretty good at causing abortions in rats and monkeys, doctors should apprise their patients of potential fetal hazards: The primary fetal hazard being death. So when the senior administration official said the mandate didn’t cover “drugs that cause abortion,” what she seems to have meant is that it doesn’t cover drugs that are FDA-approved as abortifacients.

Numerous distortions and misrepresentations continue on-line, including this piece on the White House website. The USCCB quickly responded:

The Obama administration, to justify its widely criticized mandate for contraception and sterilization coverage in private health plans, has posted a set of false and misleading claims on the White House blog (“Health Reform, Preventive Services, and Religious Institutions,” February 1). In what follows, each White House claim is quoted with a response.

Please click here to read the complete, detailed point-by-point response from our bishops.

Catholic Democrats Who Supported Obama

Many Catholics supported Obama in 2008 based upon promises of a new day for non-partisan politics, a post-racial America, an end to constitutional abuses, closing Guantanamo, opportunity for all and much more. So many promises…

Obama’s frontal assault on our faith may be the last straw. Michelle Bauman writing for the Catholic News Agency:

According to Condon, the mandate provoked an “explosion of anger” and has left many Catholics feeling disappointed with President Obama.

Many Catholics who supported Obama in the 2008 election and defended his controversial appearance at Notre Dame in 2009 are also now left disillusioned by the realization that Obama does not understand “Catholic sensitivities,” as they had thought.

Condon said that although not all Catholics follow the Church’s teaching on birth control, the “American Catholic backlash” against the mandate has united the Church in a fight against a government attempt to regulate its ministries and employees

You know things are bad when Catholic, Obama cheer-leader, Obama’s (past) man in Malta – Doug Kmiec – has doubts. Doug was able to rationalize his way through the the termination of life at the beginning, destruction of marriage in the middle and termination of life at the end. With some presidential stroking he will probably relapse in his Obama addiction – BUT when recently asked about his support for Obama in 2012 he wrote:

Until I have an opportunity to speak with the president, I am for now (unhappily) without a candidate.

Obama Catholics
Spotted by Tom Peters

Catholics for Obama, don’t be fooled any longer. Obama is very charismatic and his words sound so good, but his actions have repeatedly spoken much louder. Your Church is calling for your help. Will you finally answer?


So, in light of the “FINAL” decision of HHS for the administration’s mandate, without change, who could possibly be happy with this disaster?

Yes, they really did make this tasteless video in celebration. Like them, it is offensive on so many levels.

Nancy Pelosi, while not yet dancing in the street, applauds the HHS mandate as a “courageous decision”:

Nancy, as you can see, continues to speak as a Catholic. Opposing the entire bishop’s conference is nothing new. Many are growing weary of her schtick.

Obama’s war on religion

Obama's War on Religion

It is not hyperbole. I wish it was.

We Catholics are not generally confrontational. We prefer working with people to working against them. We know God is in each of us. Despite the efforts of some to rewrite history, we know our country was founded on religious freedom and cherish that. As Catholics, we are proud of our contributions to building this nation – the universities, hospitals, adoption services, services to the poor, advancement of science and so much more.

What would it take to make our most liberal bishops and the USCCB, to publicly and loudly protest against a president they want to support? Why did so many bishops write letters to their flocks, often directed to be read aloud (an extraordinary act), at Mass last weekend? Effectively an open declaration of war against us.

This has been building for some time. We saw in administration speeches the redefinition of “freedom of religion” to “freedom of worship” – you can believe what you want, but not live it if it conflicts with their godless secular “values.” We have seen the administration withhold funds as a club against our own states and sovereign nations who do not accept abortion or unnatural unions. We have seen funding removed from critically needed, immensely effective Catholic social services, in favor of acknowledged inferior providers.

Notable skirmishes have been the lack of legally binding conscience provisions in Obamacare. We lost that. More recently the administration turned their heavy artillery against our “personnel.” The Obama administration’s position was that we can not “discriminate” in our hiring and firing of ministers based on all the leading-edge secular criteria. If you are not following, that means women priests, homosexual priests, etc. Incredibly (I was shocked), the Supreme Court UNANIMOUSLY REJECTED that.

So what is the fuss all about now? Obamacare has come home to roost. Those promises and conscience protections guaranteed by his executive order and in numerous speeches – non-existent. In fact, quite the opposite. By the administration’s decree – health plans must include (1) contraceptives, (2) abortifacients, (3) sterilization. A view that pregnancy is a disease that must be treated. An anti-life position we find repugnant. No plan without such immoral coverage shall be legally available whether you like it or not. MOREOVER, the Church itself must offer such abhorrent plans to her employees. Of course, that is impossible for us so this would force us to drop healthcare coverage and pay huge fines for doing so.

The message Mr. Obama is sending, says Mr. Winters, is “that there is no room in this great country of ours for the institutions our Church has built over the years to be Catholic in ways that are important to us.”

Mr. Winters is not alone. The liberal Cardinal Roger Mahony, archbishop emeritus of Los Angeles, blogged that he “cannot imagine a more direct and frontal attack on freedom of conscience” – and he urged people to fight it. Another liberal favorite, Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg, Fla., has raised the specter of “civil disobedience” and vowed that he will drop coverage for diocesan workers rather than comply. They are joined in their expressions of discontent by the leaders of Catholic Relief Services and Catholic Charities, which alone employs 70,000 people.

William McGurn
Wall Street Journal

OK. With all the political noise out there you may not have been following this. Maybe you think that your bishop has over-reacted. Besides your bishop, who does this upset? Our Holy Father. Cardinal-designate and president of the USCCB Timothy Dolan. Our most liberal bishops.

In the light of these considerations, it is imperative that the entire Catholic community in the United States come to realize the grave threats to the Church’s public moral witness presented by a radical secularism which finds increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres. The seriousness of these threats needs to be clearly appreciated at every level of ecclesial life. Of particular concern are certain attempts being made to limit that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion. Many of you have pointed out that concerted efforts have been made to deny the right of conscientious objection on the part of Catholic individuals and institutions with regard to cooperation in intrinsically evil practices. Others have spoken to me of a worrying tendency to reduce religious freedom to mere freedom of worship without guarantees of respect for freedom of conscience.

Pope Benedict XVI

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.

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.

Last August, when the administration first proposed this nationwide mandate for contraception and sterilization coverage, it also proposed a “religious employer” exemption. But this was so narrow that it would apply only to religious organizations engaged primarily in serving people of the same religion. As Catholic Charities USA’s president, the Rev. Larry Snyder, notes, even Jesus and His disciples would not qualify for the exemption in that case, because they were committed to serve those of other faiths.

Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan
Archbishop of New York
President of USCCB

This decision from the Department of Health and Human Services [HHS] is from the highest level of Federal government, and I cannot imagine that this decision was released without the explicit knowledge and approval of President Barack Obama.

And I cannot imagine a more direct and frontal attack on freedom of conscience than this ruling today. This decision must be fought against with all the energies the Catholic Community can muster.

For me there is no other fundamental issue as important as this one as we enter into the Presidential and Congressional campaigns. Every candidate must be pressed to declare his/her position on all of the fundamental life issues, especially the role of government to determine what conscience decision must be followed: either the person’s own moral and conscience decision, or that dictated/enforced by the Federal government. For me the answer is clear: we stand with our moral principles and heritage over the centuries, not what a particular Federal government agency determines.

As Bishops we do not recommend candidates for any elected office. My vote on November 6 will be for the candidate for President of the United States and members of Congress who intend to recognize the full spectrum of rights under the many conscience clauses of morality and public policy. If any candidate refuses to acknowledge and to promote those rights, then that candidate will not receive my vote.

Cardinal Roger Mahony
Archbishop Emeritus of Los Angeles

In previous generations, Catholics were protected against individual and organized prejudice by an exemplary legal system. In a society that is pluralistic in its moral standards, the law always provided religious exemptions and conscience clauses that protected both individuals and religious institutions. These traditional safeguards of liberty can no longer be taken for granted. Now it is the law itself that has become, in some instances, our adversary. This is a new development for Catholics in America: the legal system is being changed to remove protections for our faith and our religious liberty. Catholics risk being once again excluded from the American consensus. That is my fear.

Francis Cardinal George
Archbishop of Chicago

I Met Our Archbishop

I am writing to you on a matter of grave moral concern – freedom of religion and freedom of conscience. 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 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 either to violate our consciences, or to drop health coverage for our employees (and suffer the penalties for doing so).

Most Reverend Wilton D. Gregory
Archbishop of Atlanta
(my bishop)

It is really hard to believe that it happened. It comes like a slap in the face. The Obama administration has just told the Catholics of the United States, “To Hell with you!? There is no other way to put it.


Let’s be blunt. This whole process of mandating these guidelines undermines the democratic process itself. In this instance, the mandate declares pregnancy a disease, forces a culture of contraception and abortion on society, all while completely bypassing the legislative process.

This is government by fiat that attacks the rights of everyone – not only Catholics; not only people of all religion. At no other time in memory or history has there been such a governmental intrusion on freedom not only with regard to religion, but even across-the-board with all citizens. It forces every employer to subsidize an ideology or pay a penalty while searching for alternatives to health care coverage. It undermines the whole concept and hope for health care reform by inextricably linking it to the zealotry of pro-abortion bureaucrats.


Kathleen Sebelius and through her, the Obama administration, have said “To Hell with You” to the Catholic faithful of the United States.

  • To Hell with your religious beliefs,
  • To Hell with your religious liberty,
  • To Hell with your freedom of conscience.
Most Reverend David A. Zubik
Bishop of Pittsburgh

The federal government, which claims to be “of, by, and for the people,” has just 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.


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.

Most Reverend Dennis M. Schnurr
Archbishop of Cincinnati

In every area touching the sanctity of human life and issues of sexual morality, the Obama administration is aggressively prosecuting the agenda its critics predicted and its most ardent left-wing supporters hoped for. Those who are driving the train, including key administration officials who self-identify as members of the Catholic Church, have no regard for the ethical beliefs of Catholics and others when they are in conflict with left-liberal orthodoxy. Their task, as they perceive it, is to fortify and expand the “right to abortion” and “sexual freedom” wherever they can.


Pro-life citizens, including many Catholics, who in 2008 allowed themselves to be persuaded that Obama wouldn’t, as his critics warned, push abortion hard and run roughshod over the religious liberty and rights of conscience of Catholics and other pro-life citizens and their institutions, have now gotten a rude awakening. His administration revealed its contempt for religious freedom and the rights of people and communities of faith when it embraced an extreme and utterly untenable position on the ministerial exemption in the Hosanna-Tabor case. In case anyone thought that was some sort of isolated mistake, the President’s abortifacient and contraception mandate leaves the matter in no doubt.

Professor Robert P. George
McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence
Director, James Madison Program

The language is Orwellian. With stunning magnanimity, Sebelius tells Catholic non-profits that they can take advantage of their one-year reprieve as long as they seek the blessings of the federal government. If they pass muster with the bureaucrats, then they have time to figure out how they can prostitute their religiously ground convictions, or prepare for bankruptcy. To top things off, after shoving the radical secular agenda down the throat of Catholics – and other people of faith who share their concerns – Sebelius congratulates the Obama administration for striking a “balance” between religious liberty and Obamacare. But, of course, no balance was struck: the edict grants nothing to those who believe in religious liberty, and she knows it.

Bill Donohue
Catholic League President

Some months ago HHS refused to award an anti-trafficking grant to the U.S. Bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services (MRS). It did so despite MRS’s scoring higher on an objective scale (according to the government’s independent advisors evaluating grant applications) than two of the three organizations that were awarded grants. (And two of those scored so low that they were deemed unqualified.) I suggested then that HHS had an ABC rule, “Anybody But Catholics.” Now I wonder if ABC isn’t also the answer to who gets freedom of religion.

Sister Mary Ann Walsh
USCCB Communications

The present secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, a bitter fallen-away Catholic, now requires that all insurance, even when issued privately, must carry coverage for evil and grave sin. Most Reverend Fabian Bruskewitz, Bishop of Lincoln

I am honestly horrified that the nation I have always loved has come to this hateful and radical step in religious intolerance. Most Reverend Daniel Jenky, Bishop of Peoria

A dangerous line has been crossed. Most Reverend Paul Loverde, Bishop of Arlington

The HHS mandate tramples religious freedom. Most Reverend Allen Vigneron, Bishop of Detroit

This is all new, in the sense that never before in our history has any government simply issued a decree emptying the religious convictions and conscience protections of all the institutions that serve the poor. Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington

…deep disappointment at this unprecedented infringement on religious liberty in our country. Most Reverend Sean O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston

This is the logical result of a seismic change in this administration’s approach to religious groups involved in providing social services to, among others, the poor, the homeless, the sick, the immigrant. Most Reverend John Nienstedt, Archbishop of Minneapolis – St. Paul

First of all, it’s much broader than just contraceptives, the Order also includes pills that can act as abortifacients. So it is a very serious threat to our Catholic moral tradition and belief; and, The Right of Conscience, or Freedom of Conscience, is supreme in our Catholic tradition. Most Reverend Patrick Zurek, Bishop of Amarillo

When you attack the Church, you attack Christ. Christ and His Church are inseparable. Saul of Taurus learned this the hard way.

On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? He said, “Who are you, sir?? The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.

Pray for the conversion of hard hearts like St. Paul’s. Write to your representatives. I believe we will win this particular skirmish, but the war will only be ended by you at the ballot box.

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the malice and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.

See also:

UPDATE: This post is part of a series covering this very important topic. To see the whole series, click here.