During political campaigns it too often seems that politics triumphs over principles. In the case of President Obama’s bid for reelection it seems that politics is not just triumphing over principles but rather trampling right over the principles of personal conscience and religious freedom.
The president, in a blatant attempt to appeal to his base of support found in the extreme Planned Parenthood, NARAL and ACLU in announcing last week he has declined to overturn his Department of Health and Human Services mandate to require all private health care plans in the United States to cover sterilizations and FDA-approved contraceptives including those that cause abortion. Mr. Obama’s decision will now force religious institutions - including those affiliated with the Catholic Church- to violate the deeply held tenets of their faith and pay for immoral medical practices.
Never before in the history of the United States has the federal government forced citizens to directly purchase what violates their beliefs. Recently in their unanimous decision in the Hosanna-Tabor case, all nine U.S. Supreme Court Justices (including those appointed by Mr. Obama), stated that the U.S. Constitution gives a priority place to Freedom of Religion. The Supreme Court stated: “The Constitution guarantees religious bodies independence from secular control or manipulation—in short, power to decide for themselves, free from state interference, matters of church government as well as those of faith and doctrine.”
The president and pro-abortion HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius created this mandate after Congress asked for a list of all services health plans should provide without co-pay. Instead of keeping with the prevention of diseases like breast cancer, sexually transmitted diseases and gestational diabetes, Mr. Obama’s HHS Department took it upon itself to include sterilizations, contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs. Further it provided such a narrow religious conscience exemption that Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Bishops’ Pro-Life Committee, suggested that it protects no one and even “Jesus himself, or the Good Samaritan of his famous parable, would not qualify as ‘religious enough’ for the exemption, since they insisted on helping people who did not share their view of God.”
Mr. Obama’s insistence on ignoring this violation of the First Amendment is a radical attack upon personal conscience and religious freedom. “Never before has the federal government forced individuals and organizations to go out into the marketplace and buy a product that violates their conscience. This shouldn’t happen in a land where free exercise of religion ranks first in the Bill of Rights,” stated Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, President of the U.S. Conference of Bishops
Like other dictators of moral relativism, President Obama has cast aside principled policy for partisan politics and betrayed all American Catholics like no other president in modern history. In our nation’s history, freedom of religion has always meant much more than allowing Catholics to attend Mass on Sunday but rather this freedom provides the protection that Catholics need to live their faith every day without government interference and intrusion. President Obama now proposes a nation where the government tells Catholics not only shamefully to accept his culture of death but to boldly pay for it too. As Roger Williams once said: “Forced worship stinks in God’s nostrils.” Without a doubt, Mr. Obama’s forced worship of the culture of death stinks in God’s nostrils.