America’s Catholic Bishops rejected the Supreme Court’s ruling that Obamacare is constitutional, saying the court did not resolve the question of the law’s violation of religious rights.
The bishops earlier in June led 43 Catholic institutions to file lawsuits against the Obama Administration, which under Obamacare is forcing Catholic and other religious institutions to provide health insurance to employees that covers contraceptives, sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs against the Church’s moral teachings.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius — a Catholic who has been ordered by her archbishop not to take Communion until she repents of her pro-abortion stance and goes to confession — has ordered most employers to begin complying with the order on Aug. 1. In a nod to the churches, and probably a bid to help Obama’s re-election chances among Catholics, Sebelius has agreed to give religious nonprofits an additional year to comply.
On the archbishops’ website, they list several reasons they oppose the Affordable Care Act:
- ACA allows use of federal funds to pay for elective abortions and for plans that cover such abortions, contradicting longstanding federal policy.
- The Act fails to include necessary language to provide essential conscience protection, both within and beyond the abortion context. … The lack of statutory conscience protections applicable to ACA’s new mandates has been illustrated in dramatic fashion by HHS’s “preventive services” mandate, which forces religious and other employers to cover sterilization and contraception, including abortifacient drugs.
- ACA fails to treat immigrant workers and their families fairly. ACA leaves them worse off by not allowing them to purchase health coverage in the new exchanges created under the law, even if they use their own money. This undermines the Act’s stated goal of promoting access to basic life-affirming health care for everyone, especially for those most in need.
In their unanimous declaration against the HHS mandate, the bishops said that Obamacare falsely defines institutions such as schools, hospitals and charities as not religious, and it violates the personal civil rights of individual Catholics and members of other denominations and religions that share the same moral convictions.
The Fortnight for Freedom, which began with the feast of St. Thomas More and continues till the Fourth of July, aims to educate not just Catholics but other Americans about the danger to religious freedom opposed by Obamacare. Catholic churches across the country have scheduled Masses, lectures and other events to mark the effort. Information can be found online at Fortnight4Freedom.org.
Liberals, even liberal Catholics, don’t seem to get this, but the threat posed by Obamacare to religion is real. If it stands, then all religions, except for secular atheism, will effectively be barred from community life, making atheism the de facto state religion.
That’s exactly the opposite of the wishes of the Founding Fathers, who recognized that religion, particularly biblical religion, was the lifeblood that bound a community together.
In a column in his diocesan paper early this year, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago said that the Obamacare HHS mandate showed that the “state is making itself into a church.”
“The strangest accusation in this manipulated public discussion has the bishops not respecting the separation between church and state,” wrote Cardinal George. “The bishops would love to have the separation between church and state we thought we enjoyed just a few months ago, when we were free to run Catholic institutions in conformity with the demands of the Catholic faith, when the government couldn’t tell us which of our ministries are Catholic and which not, when the law protected rather than crushed conscience. The state is making itself into a church. The bishops didn’t begin this dismaying conflict nor choose its timing. We would love to have it ended as quickly as possible. It’s up to the government to stop the attack.”
The attack has been a long time building, as many Christians in this country recognize. If the country’s course is not reversed, there will be dark times ahead.
In 2010, Cardinal George warned that Catholic bishops may face martyrdom soon in this country. “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison, and his successor will die a martyr in the public square,” the cardinal said.
If Obamacare isn’t halted, the future George saw may arrive sooner than anticipated.