Monday, October 17, 2011

Wars Of Religion: The Left's War On America's Catholics

Along with being financially unsustainable (the CLASS Act) and unconstitutional (the individual mandate), Obamacare also contains provisions that are nothing more or less than an assault on religious mores. Among other things, Obamacare requires any health care facility in the United States to offer contraceptives. Not a big deal, you might say, but you might not be in the business of operating a Catholic hospital. 
Under the 2010 health care law colloquially known as “Obamacare,” the U.S. Department of Health and Human services is determinedly plowing forward with its so-called “contraceptive mandate”—all private health plans are to cover contraception and sterilization as “preventive services” for women, and the mandate includes individuals and groups with moral or religious objections. 
This is a policy so clumsily intrusive that even the University of Notre Dame is complaining about it; President Father John Jenkins, C.S.C., in a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, said the mandate places Notre Dame (and, of course, all Catholic colleges) in an “impossible position” of having to defy Church teaching. “[The mandate] would compel Notre Dame to either pay for contraception and sterilization in violation of the church’s moral teaching, or to discontinue our employee and student health care plans in violation of the church’s social teaching, 
The government’s position is that their notion of “women’s health” must trump moral or religious concerns. It seems that one of the most fundamental freedoms provided for by our Constitution and the Bill of Rights ends at the beginning of a double-X chromosome.
That's not the only example of the secular leftist state seeking to bring religious institutions to heel. In Illinois, Catholic Charities is going out of the business of placing children for adoption because a court has upheld the state's demand that all adoption services be willing to place kids with same-sex couples. And the Obama Administration just finished arguing in the Supreme Court that the government should have the final say in determining whether someone is "ministering" for a church, a case that arose, not surprisingly, from an employment dispute of the sort beloved by the Left. Russell Shaw, for one, sees this as de facto if not de jure persecution

The persecution of religion in America has begun, with the Catholic Church a prime target.
Don’t think I’m making the wild-eyed claim that this new persecution either is or ever is likely to become a bloody one resembling the purges of the French and Mexican revolutions or the communist war on religion—eruptions of violence in which thousands of clergy, religious, and lay faithful were killed. It won’t be a repetition of the Spanish Civil War, just 75 years ago, when death squads of the anticlerical left executed the incredible total of 12 bishops, 283 religious women, 4,184 priests, 2,365 religious men, and an unknown number of laity whose only crime was to be faithful Catholics.
No, the persecution of religion in the United States won’t be like that. It will be a tight-lipped campaign of secularist inspiration in which the coercive power of the state is brought to bear on church-related institutions to act against conscience or go out of business.

The hostility that Democrats hold against all religious persons should be obvious. Along with the daily insults against the "anti-science" theocrats on the Right, Democrats have attacked religious expression at every turn. Catholics are under particular assault, as the Church's teachings on abortion, pre-marital sex, and contraception are absolutely antithetical to the Left's more, uh, groovy approach to the issues. Yet, Catholics are, more often than not, Democrats. More important, the loudest proponents of Obamacare - I'm thinking Nancy Pelosi and Ted Kennedy, especially - are showy in their Catholicism, going as far as to invoke the Church's charitable works in arguing for the government's taking control of the health care system. Even as they waved their rosary beads, though, they must have known that their carefully crafted legislation would hit Catholic charitable works where they live - at the intersection of faith and compassion. 

And what's the Church's response to this? Letters! Outraged letters! I'm not expecting bishops to be lying down in front of tanks or anything, but they should at least be willing to look at the world as it is and not how they wish it were. It is the the institutions of the Left, whether the ACLU, the Democrat Party, the Academy, Hollywood that have attacked the Church. Yes, the First Amendment can protect their religious freedom, but you actually have to use the First Amendment, not just let it sit there on the page. That means speaking out against those politicians who have shown themselves to be anti-Catholic in their legislating. It means suing to defend your rights. And, if needed, it means disobeying any law that would force the Church to give up its teachings in exchange for remaining in the government's good graces. 

Do that and you will find wide majorities support you, even if they are not Catholic. Do nothing, and they won't even know you are in trouble. 

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