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Obama’s Attack on Religious Liberty

The Obama administration’s decision to require Catholic hospitals, charities and universities to provide insurance coverage that includes contraceptives and abortifacients — in violation of their conscience and creed — is among the most offensive and troubling of the Obama era. And that is not an easy designation to achieve.

Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan said, “The federal government should do what it’s traditionally done since July 4, 1776, namely back out of intruding into the internal life of a church.” Bishops are writing letters to their congregants saying, “We cannot — we will not — comply with this unjust law.” Presidents of Catholic universities insist they will reject “this religious intolerance and will not bow down before government regulations that are manifestly unjust.” The National Association of Evangelicals put out a statement saying, “Freedom of conscience is a sacred gift from God, not a grant from the state. No government has the right to compel its citizens to violate their conscience. The HHS rules trample on our most cherished freedoms and set a dangerous precedent.””

This issue is about to go super-nova. According to Politico, “A handful of high-profile Catholic Democrats are bailing on the president and joining the GOP chorus of critics… They include two swing-state pols on the November ballot… Obama’s former DNC chairman, Tim Kaine, who’s running for Senate in Virginia, and Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey — as well as House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson.” Freshman Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who’s up for reelection this year, called the Obama edict “un-American” and a “direct affront to the religious freedoms protected under the First Amendment.””

For the White House to engage in what Michael Gerson of the Washington Post calls “the most aggressive attack on the liberty of religious institutions since the 19th century” is a staggeringly stupid political act. Some people offer a fairly benign interpretation of the Obama administration’s motives, calling them technocrats. Perhaps. But I think a stronger case can be made that this act — which is so aggressive, so indefensible, and so at odds with the American creed — is a window into the mind and soul of America’s 44th president.

Not that many years ago, then-Senator Obama gave a speech in which he said, “Secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering the public square.” President Obama has done the secularists one better. He’s asking believers to leave their religion at the door before entering religious hospitals, charities, and universities. Believers across the land are rising up to say to Obama, in the most respectful way possible, “Get lost.”

 


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