Obama’s war on religion (update #3)

Devotees of the liberal, mainstream media might think the world has moved on from all that HHS mandate ruckus. Their muted or non-existent news coverage is almost magical, much like how they make the massive March for Life rallies seem insignificant. In fact, both are related and opposed to the culture of death they are committed to. The truth is, this war is far from over.

My last summary was 2 weeks ago. This is the latest update. To see the whole series, click here.

Respect for Rights of Conscience Act

This is a piece of legislation that should be totally unnecessary. Yet, it may be the fastest means to reverse the precipitous dilution of religious liberty in America. Cardinal Timothy Dolan (president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) and Bishop William Lori (chairman of the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty) support senate amendment 1520. It’s purpose is to ensure that those who participate in the health-care system “retain the right to provide, purchase or enroll in health coverage that is consistent with their religious beliefs and moral convictions.”

More information is available at the National Catholic Register in Cardinal Dolan Backs Respect for Rights of Conscience Act: Contact Your Legislator Now.

Additionally, Cardinal Dolan joined with over 500 religious leaders and scholars in signing yesterday a joint statement rejecting the unconstitutional mandate. Those signing this statement include Catholics, Protestants, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Latter-Day Saints, Jews, Muslims, and others. The list of signers includes people from across the political spectrum – liberals, conservatives, and people fitting into neither category.

7 states file suit

Seven states join the growing list of organizations suing the Obama administration to overturn his trampling of religious freedom. More state attorney generals are likely to follow.

The states (so far) are Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas. The suit argues (the somewhat obvious point) that the mandate violates both the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Catholic Lane has the story.

We are all Catholic now

Baptist minister and former governor, Mike Huckabee began a speech recently thanking President Obama for uniting his opposition. Most memorably, Huckabee – echoing JFK’s “we are all Berliners now” sentiment – declared “we are all Catholic now.”

2,500 religious leaders oppose Obama’s mandate

The Family Research Council has released a letter signed by over 2,500 pastors and evangelical leaders opposed to the president’s HHS mandate that tramples religious freedom and conscience rights. Baptist Press has the story.

The National Clergy Council declares a “state of emergency”

The National Clergy Council representing Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical and Orthodox leaders has declared a state of emergency exists due to the president’s extraordinary attack on religious liberty. Lutheran pastor Dr. Normund Lund said “Protestants are beginning to close ranks and join our Catholic friends on this issue.” He noted that the situation is so serious, that this is “an issue worth fighting and dying for.”

Francis Cardinal George on persecution and martyrdom

Father John Zuhlsdorf wrote an excellent summary of observations made by His Eminence Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago:

In February of 2012, Cardinal George reflected on the seriousness of the Obama administration’s health-care mandate:

At the present moment, Catholics in this country are facing challenges to our institutional existence and our mission that we thought would never arise here. — The laws that used to protect us are now being used to weaken and destroy us, and this quite deliberately.

Shortly, thereafter, when the Obama administration and the media touted the fact that the Catholic Bishops are alone on the contraception issue and that most Catholics aren’t supporting them in this battle, Cardinal George wrote:

This is the first time in the history of the United States that a presidential administration has purposely tried to interfere in the internal working of the Catholic Church, playing one group off against another for political gain. What isn’t always understood is that the Bishops of the Church make no attempt to speak for all Catholics; they never have. The Bishops speak for the Catholic and apostolic faith, and those who hold that faith gather around them. Others disperse.

A few days later on at a press conference held at Loyola University on February 18th, he told the Chicago Tribune about the devastating effects of the HHS mandate for Catholic institutions:

The long-term effect is that the Catholic Church will be stripped of the institutions that are her instruments for public service. We will lose hospitals, we will lose universities. That’s not the country I was born in. — Something monumental is happening here.

Particularly chilling is the Cardinal’s assessment of the degree to which he believed religious freedoms (in the United States and other Western societies) were endangered. After the passage of legislation that enabled Civil Unions in Illinois, his eminence stated:

I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.

Father Barron: HHS mandate is anti-Catholic and un-American

Father Robert Barron, creator of the highly acclaimed Catholicism project says that the HHS mandate is anti-Catholic and un-American:

One small state battle for conscience rights won

Washington state’s governor (Christine Gregoire) decided to force all pharmacies to dispense abortifacients regardless of conscience rights. The State Board of Pharmacy resisted but caved after she threatened to replace board members if necessary.

Pharmacies routinely refer customers to other facilities for a broad range of reasons, but in Washington, that was not allowed. Every pharmacist must dispense “Plan B” or else.

This week, a federal court in Tacoma struck this down. This is so far over the line that a federal court in a generally liberal area agreed. This, with a judge who is not sympathetic to Catholic values.

The case was argued by The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. Pay attention to them, they do a lot of good. I consider them to be a moral version of the ACLU. See their complete comments on the case: Court Strikes Down Law Requiring Pharmacies to Dispense the Morning-After Pill.

Where is our apology?

Last week, President Obama apologized to Islamic extremists and the Muslim world in general for an offensive, but innocent action made by mistake. Our president cares deeply about the religious sensitivities of some. Faithful Christians, protected by our constitution and his own promises — not so much. Mr. President, where is my apology?

Further Reading

Here is a good sampling of the zillion new articles written on this topic in the last two weeks:

  1. A Convergence of Conscience and Command
  2. A Teachable Moment?
  3. A Uniter Not A Divider
  4. All 180 diocesan US bishops have issued a statement about Pres. Obama’s attack.
  5. Are Liberal Terms Dominating the HHS Mandate Debate?
  6. Are clergy public servants?
  7. Birth-Control Mandate: Unconstitutional and Illegal
  8. Bishop Lori Blasts Congress With Style
  9. Bishop Morlino: If They Can Do It To Catholics, They Can Do It To ANYBODY!
  10. Bishops Reject Obama’s ‘Accommodation’
  11. Cardinal George: no Catholic hospitals in 2 years unless HHS mandate is rescinded
  12. Cardinal Timothy Dolan issues strongest statement yet against the HHS mandate
  13. Cardinal urges Senate to pass bill protecting conscience in health care
  14. Catholic League on Sebelius’s admission before a Senate committee
  15. Catholic women rally against contraception mandate
  16. Catholics, Once Again, Considered “Un-American”
  17. Citizens, Not Sheep – A Call to Religious Liberty
  18. Contraception Mandate: Turning America Into Europe
  19. Contraception and the cost of culture wars
  20. Contraception ruling: Democrats accuse clergy of complicity with GOP at hearing
  21. Cooking the Books, Disparaging Catholics
  22. Craziest Hearing on Religious Liberty…Evah!
  23. Divide and Conquer
  24. Dolan Wants to Believe Obama’s Not Anti-Christian But…
  25. False Premises
  26. Freedom of Conscience vs. the HHS Mandate
  27. GOP candidates slam contraception mandate as attack on family
  28. Good news: Obama backs exemptions for religious organizations
  29. HHS Mandates Rhetoric: Wading Through the Nonsense
  30. HHS and a Series of Ugly Events
  31. HHS mandate means “ongoing, comprehensive government surveillance”: two new colleges sue
  32. His Eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan signs statement rejecting HHS mandate
  33. Hollow Compromise on Contraception Mandate
  34. Homeschooling org. protests Obama plan to mandate school attendance
  35. Leni Riefenstahl: Congratulations on the HHS Regulations
  36. Mandate a cure in search of a disease
  37. Mandate would ‘coerce’ Sisters to betray vow
  38. Mandating Is Fun!!
  39. Memo to Jews: After They Come for the Catholic Church, They Will Come For Us
  40. More things to know about the HHS Mandate
  41. Mother Angelica’s network isn’t buying Obama’s religious liberty ruse
  42. Myths abound about HHS contraceptive mandate; here are the facts
  43. NPR marks ‘Kick a Catholic Week’ with new t-shirt pledge drive gift
  44. Nationalizing Catholic Healthcare
  45. Nationalizing Catholic Healthcare
  46. New Fake Rights Trump Old Real Ones
  47. Notre Dame faculty calls Obama so-called accommodation “grave violation of religious freedom”
  48. Obama Administration to Court: “Please Look the Other Way”
  49. Obama Advisor: Kids from Large Families Are Dumb
  50. Obama Displaces the Rule of Law with Decree
  51. Obama Has Stranded the Catholic Left
  52. Obama Mandate’s Resistance Coalition
  53. Obama Obeys the Feminists Again
  54. Obama chief of staff: No more compromise, contraceptive rule is done deal
  55. Obama’s Anti-Religious Implosion
  56. Obama’s Catholic Church Gambit: Lessons from American Communists
  57. Obama’s Values Spark Return of Culture Wars
  58. Obama’s epic blunder on birth-control mandate
  59. Obama’s revised HHS mandate won’t solve problems, USCCB president says
  60. Poisoned by the Pill: Truths about Chemical Contraception
  61. Political Withdrawal?
  62. Pres. Obama, the Right Not to Do Wrong, and Politics of Ruse and Delay
  63. President Obama, Let Us Be Catholics!
  64. Reid to Allow Vote on Rescinding Contraception Rule
  65. Religious Freedom and the Contraception Controversy
  66. Religious Freedom and the Triumph of the Therapeutic
  67. Religious Liberty, the Contraceptives Mandate, and Civility
  68. Revised Mandate “Unacceptable” to Over 300 Academics and Religious Leaders
  69. Revised contraceptive mandate prompts reaction from Catholic groups
  70. Should It Be Illegal to Be a Catholic Health-Insurance CEO?
  71. Supreme Court Filing: Obamacare Compels Individuals to Pay for Abortion Coverage
  72. Team Obama Fumbles Ruling, Offends Catholics
  73. The Catholic Liberal’s Lament
  74. The Coming Age of the Laity
  75. The Coming Age of the Laity
  76. The Contraception Mandate Fix: Fact vs. Fiction
  77. The HHS Mandate: One Battle in a Two-Front War
  78. The Heart of the Issue
  79. The Libertine Police State
  80. The Mentality of our Ruling Class
  81. The Moral Problems of Obama’s “Compromise” on HHS Mandate
  82. The arrogance of Obama’s ‘accommodation’
  83. USCCB official: Revision in coverage still violates religious liberty
  84. USCCB: 6 More Things You Should Know About The HHS Mandate
  85. Weigel: Divide and Conquer?
  86. What problem are they trying to solve?
  87. Where’s the Protestant Support for Catholic Bishops?
  88. Who’s Out of Tune?
  89. Why Mandate Birth Control
  90. Why Obama’s ‘Accommodation’ is a Joke
  91. Why They Don’t Like the Church
  92. Why the HHS Mandate is About Religious Freedom AND Contraceptives
  93. Will the Bishops Go to the Mattresses?
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Comments

  1. This is a great summary, George, and I’m glad you have created a “one click” series on this topic. You are definitely the “go to” person for information about this religious freedom issue.

  2. Do you know how I can petition my state’s attorney general to join the lawsuit? I’ve never done something like that before, so I’m not sure where to start. Do I just write a letter like I would to my representatives? Thanks.

    • George M. Sipe says:

      Good question! I am not really sure. Probably the best thing to do would be to write to him or her directly and send a copy to the state chairperson of their political party. Ditto for the governor (who may or may not have a say depending on the state). The contact point for joining the suit appears to be Jon Bruning, Nebraska’s AG.

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