A month or so ago it was reported how some pro-abortion groups were concerned that the Obama administration might “go wobbly” concerning forcing even religious institutions to cover contraception for their employees. They actually felt he might bow to pressure. Oh ye of little faith in the most pro abortion administration in history. The administration that provides a hermeneutic of “does it reduce abortion” in any way to all they do.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius said today that aside from houses of worship, all other religious agencies and organizations will be required to provide sterilization and contraceptive services, including abortifacients, in their employee healthcare plans; none will be allowed to charge co-pays or deductibles. The policy goes into effect in August 2013 for these entities; all others will be required to provide these services in August 2012.
Sebelius explained how her directive applies to non-church religious entities such as Catholic hospitals and universities: “Employers wishing to take advantage of the additional year must certify that they qualify for the delayed implementation. This additional year will allow these organizations more time and flexibility to adapt to this new rule.” She also said, “I believe this proposal strikes the appropriate balance between religious freedom and increasing access to important preventive services.”
Though this “additional year” exemption hardly applies to anybody because of the rigidly narrow interpretation of what a religious entity is. By this rule Jesus could not apply because of his support of the good samaritan and not confining his ministry to just the Jewish people.
As Richard Doerflinger notes:
One small cavil: The contraceptive mandate policy will not be deferred a year. It will apply this year, as originally planned, to the vast majority of individuals and organizations (except for the very narrow group of “religious employers” who hire and serve chiefly only people of their own faith, etc.). But specifically religious organizations that do not qualify for this narrow exemption may apply for deferred compliance for a year, only if they do not cover such services now. (Some of these organizations have recently discovered, to their chagrin, that their insurance does include these things, having investigated this because of the current controversy. They are out in the cold now, even if they had begun taking steps to exclude the coverage.) Since the mandate will be fully enforced on everyone else in the meantime, the question is whether even the religious groups with the one-year deferral will actually find any health insurer willing to write them a policy.
Good thing we have a Catholic as head of the HHS – oh wait.
The administration had just gotten slapped down by the Supreme Court 9-0 over their rigid interpretation of the ministerial exception. But arrogance knows no humility and they have further doubled-down with this decision.
This is more than an attack on religious freedom, but really an attack on every American in principle. When the government forces an individual to go out into the marketplace to buy a product they object to on the grounds of conscience, this ruling is just a start on the tyranny against individual conscience. This is an effort at group-conscience by the elites where they will tell you what you should object to. You are not allowed to be a conscientious objector on the war on life.
CatholicVote.org President Brian Burch wrote in part:
“It’s hard to believe that on this date, exactly one year from next year’s inauguration, President Obama would hand the Republican Party a golden opportunity to focus on religious liberty and win back the Catholic vote it lost in 2008. The only question is: Will the Republican presidential nominee seize the opportunity?”
I think this is wishful thinking. Catholics in regard to the Church’s teaching of what is the natural law regarding contraception has been mostly ignored. Unfortunately I think too many Catholics will like the idea of coverage for something they are already using. The negative reaction to this ruling has largely been only by faithful Catholics and has not been the outrage it should be generally by non-Catholics. I wish to be wrong here.
Pope Benedict XVI in a very recent address to American bishops is certainly aware of this negative trend in the United States regarding religious freedom. Besides the Dictatorship of Relativism, we also have a President of Relativism.
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.
Earlier today I read a quite excellent post by John C. Wright who was responding to a readers question on why he as an atheist had come to oppose contraception. He writes a lengthy post on the chain of reason that brought him to this opinion presently a quite cogent natural law argument. I especially enjoyed the section on teleology and that final causes exist in nature.
When I was an atheist the sanctity of marriage was something I came to believe even if I would not have truly understood sanctity. Many other things flowed out of this in my philosophy, but it was in no way as reasoned as Mr. Wright thought process.