July 24 2012
What would impel a Wisconsin District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod to pass a resolution commending the Catholic Church?
What would drive Wheaton College (which is akin to an evangelical Harvard) to join the Catholic University of America (which is run by the Catholic bishops of the United States) in a lawsuit?
A desire to survive.
Now that the Supreme Court has upheld Obamacare, the August 1 deadline to comply with the HHS Mandate looms large. The HHS Mandate requires payment and referral for abortion-causing drugs in the health care plans of all employers -- including religiously affiliated ones for whom the provision of such drugs and referrals is a violation of religious belief.
Inflamed rhetoric from NOW and Planned Parenthood to the contrary, this is not about contraception. It is about coercion. Nobody is threatening to take away anybody’s contraception. This is about neutralizing the free exercise clause of the First Amendment.
No denomination has been more Democrat-friendly than the Catholic church for the last seventy years. Obama was elected with 54% of Catholic voters in 2008. Throughout the debate over the misnamed Affordable Care Act, the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) was steadfast in its support of Obamacare – with the minor proviso that Catholic facilities would not have to pay for abortions or contraceptives.
Since both are so widely available, and publicly funded, and hold such a privileged place in law and jurisprudence, it seemed like a small thing to ask.
But in February, when the HHS Mandate was decreed, Obama betrayed his political ally. After this kick in the solar plexus, the USCCB sued HHS in May.
For this courage, those LCMS churches in Wisconsin commended the Catholic Church, and Wheaton and other evangelical colleges have joined Catholic colleges in lawsuits, realizing that their own survival is threatened. As candidate Mitt Romney declared last week “We’re all Catholics now”.
Truly, it is a worldview conflict: individual freedom of conscience and the free exercise of religion vs.— what?
For the Administration, it’s all about pelvic politics (the phrase is not mine—it was coined by Dr. Richard Land, President of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission). Obama seems to regard the sexual revolution as the greatest human good to be advanced by government.
All the Catholic church wanted under the new healthcare system was to have a small toehold where traditional morality could be available for its followers. But such was not allowed. Instead, incense must be burned to the god of “any sexuality by anybody at any time at any cost to any treasury, public or private”.
Non-compliance is simply not allowed. Any institution whose conscience does not permit the grain of incense on that altar will be forced out of existence – or so the Administration is saying.
Obama claims he has given an “exemption” to religious organizations. What he has done is given an exemption to organizations he considers religious. What does he consider religious? An organization which is:
a) controlled by a denomination,
b) serves only members of that denomination, and
c) employs only members of that denomination.
In other words, Mother Teresa’s work would not qualify as a religious ministry. A non-denominational soup kitchen certainly does not qualify.
Not one hospital or college qualifies as “religious”. After all, Seventh-Day Adventist, Catholic, Baptist, and Lutheran hospitals serve anybody who comes! Religious colleges do not discriminate on the basis of religion in whom they admit. In Obama’s eyes, even Notre Dame which gave him an honorary degree is not a religious institution – and so the Fighting Irish are one of the 43 lawsuits against the administration.
Elsewhere in the world, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton occasionally mentions “freedom of worship” as if that’s all there is to it. It seems she shares the President’s misapprehension: religion is OK if what happens inside the church building stays inside the building.
But Christianity is not solipsistic like that. It reaches out. What happens inside the church building motivates Christians to love all of mankind outside of the church building.
A charitable interpretation may be that Obama just doesn’t understand this. After all, he grew up unchurched, so how would he know Christians who live to serve? A more cynical reading of the situation is that Obama wants to compel religious hospitals and colleges to set aside their religious principles in order to follow his pelvic politics.
Unfortunately, the facts support the second view.
If institutions do not comply with the HHS Mandate, they will be fined $100 per employee per day. What effect will fines of $36,500 per year per employee have on nonprofit organizations which often operate on the financial edge anyhow?
If Catholic institutions close their doors, the last voice standing athwart the sexual revolution will be silenced. That seems to be what the ideologues who regard the sexual revolution as the greatest human good want. The First Amendment was written to protect the country from such ideologues.
Connie Marshner is a guest blogger for IWF.