When A Compromise Isn’t A Compromise

On Thursday CNS News reported that Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, had stated that the Catholic Church will not accept an offer by the Obama Administration that would exempt the Catholic Church from the Heath and Human Services (HHS) mandate on contraception, but not exempt Catholic business owners. The mandate forces employers to provide health insurance that covers sterilizations, contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs, all of which violate the tenets of Catholicism.

The article quotes Cardinal Dolan:

“In obedience to our Judeo-Christian heritage, we have consistently taught our people to live their lives during the week to reflect the same beliefs that they proclaim on the Sabbath,” said Cardinal Dolan. “We cannot now abandon them to be forced to violate their morally well-informed consciences.”

We need to look at what is actually going on here. Oddly enough, this is not about money–it is about principle. The principle involved is simple, “Will the government allow people of faith to practice their faith outside the walls of their churches?” This is a very important argument. Right now the Obama Administration is targeting the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is one of the largest denominations in America, and many Catholics do not necessarily agree with the stand the Catholic Church has taken on abortion and birth control. Therefore it should be fairly easy to push that principle back inside the walls of the church. The idea here is to set a precedent. If Catholics can be forced to practice their religion only inside the walls of their church, who is next? What about Bible-believing churches who believe the Biblical teaching about homosexuality? Can they be forced to perform gay marriages? What about Bible-believing Christians who own businesses? Can they be forced to cater a homosexual wedding? That is where this is headed. The goal of the Obama Administration, for whatever reason, is to force believing Christians back into their churches. As Christian charities shut down (as Catholic adoption agencies were forced to do in Massachusetts), the government will exercise more control over the lives of the average American. This is not good for religious freedom or individual freedom in America.

As I stated, this is not about money. There are many affordable forms of birth control that are available–some through government agencies or planned parenthood. Most people of the age where this would be an issue spend more per month of their cell phones than they would or do on birth control. Money is not the issue–the freedom to practice your religion outside the walls of your church is.

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An Interesting Double Standard

The Daily Caller posted a story today about the LGBT people who are protesting the fact that New York CardinalArchbishop Timothy Dolan will deliver the closing prayer at the Democratic National Convention.

The article relates the objection:

“While Cardinal Dolan has a respected track record in the ministry, his work to undercut the dignity of LGBT people cannot be overlooked. There are many faith leaders who would be an ideal fitto close out the Democratic National Convention — but Cardinal Timothy Dolan is not that leader,” said Michael Cole-Schwartz of the Human Rights Campaign.

It is interesting to me that the LGBT people are not protesting the two hour Muslim prayer meeting that is going on at the beginning of the convention. Has it occurred to them what their human rights would be under Sharia Law?

The article concludes:

While LGBT groups are indignant at the inclusion of Cardinal Dolan, there’s been no quarrel from them on the invitation extended to individuals that share sympathies with hardline Islamist groups. Radical Islamists have a far, far more intolerant attitude toward homosexuals than any Catholic clergyman, to the point that they have recently been stoned and burnedalive in some countries. Why doesn’t the LGBT lobby get as fired up about the organizers of the Jumah as it does about Cardinal Dolan? Partly, adherents to the Judeo-Christian tradition are familiar targets for the LGBT lobby. But this situation is also the product of the unqualified embrace of pluralism that characterizes the left. When moral judgments are subordinated to the mantra of “diversity,” then the truly odious views aren’t diminished. The result is that the LGBT lobby has become another group on the left that fails to see the danger that radical Islam poses to all of us.

The double standard here is amazing.

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Bringing The Issue Back Into Focus

CNS News reported today:

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, sent a letter on Friday to all the Catholic bishops of the United States reasserting the conviction of the Catholic Church that it will not yield to the Obama administration’s command—issued in the form of a Health and Human Services regulation implementing the president’s health-care plan–that Catholics and Catholic institutions must violate the teachings of their faith by purchasing and providing health insurance plans that pay for sterilizations, contraceptives and abortifacients. 

Despite all the misdirections we have heard this week about Rush Limbaugh’s comments and contraception, this is the issue. Do Catholics, other people of faith, and various people with moral convictions have the right to live out their beliefs?

The Cardinal’s letter stated:

We have made it clear in no uncertain terms to the government that we are not at peace with its invasive attempt to curtail the religious freedom we cherish as Catholics and Americans,” Cardinal Dolan wrote his brother bishops.

“We did not ask for this fight, but we will not run from it,” he said.

“Since January 20, when the final, restrictive HHS Rule was first announced,” Cardinal Dolan wrote, “we have become certain of two things: religious freedom is under attack, and we will not cease our struggle to protect it.”

In the vernacular of the day, “He gets it!”

The article further reports:

Cardinal Dolan then said that the so-called “concession” President Obama had offered in February—that he would order insurance companies working with Catholic institutions to provide sterilizations, contraceptives and abortifacients to the workers at those institutions for free—did not solve the problem.

“For one, there was not even a nod to the deeper concerns about trespassing upon religious freedom, or of modifying the HHS’ attempt to define the how and who of our ministry,” wrote the cardinal.

“Two, since a big part of our ministries are ‘self-insured,’ we still ask how this protects us,” he wrote.  “We’ll still have to pay and, in addition to that, we’ll still have to maintain in our policies practices which our Church has consistently taught are grave wrongs in which we cannot participate.

“And what about forcing individual believers to pay for what violates their religious freedom and conscience?” he wrote. “We can’t abandon the hard working person of faith who has a right to religious freedom.

“And three,” he said, “there was still no resolution about the handcuffs placed upon renowned Catholic charitable agencies, both national and international, and their exclusion from contracts just because they will not refer victims of human trafficking, immigrants and refugees, and the hungry of the world, for abortions, sterilization, or contraception.”

This is a battle for religious freedom, and all churches need to take part. Otherwise, none of us will be free to live out our faith in the public square.

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The Letter

CNS News reported yesterday that Representative Steve Scalise (R-La.) and 153 other House of Representative members sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius asking that she suspend a controversial rule that mandates that all insurance providers cover contraception for free.

This is the link to a copy of the letter with all the signatures, scalise.house.gov.

The letter begins:

“As pro-life Members of Congress, we are writing to voice our strong opposition to your final decision on the rule for mandatory contraceptive, sterilization, and abortifacients coverage in the individual and group health insurance market,” the February 6 letter said.

The letter concludes:

In your response to this letter, we request that you provide us specific details on the process followed in the reading and evaluating of the public comments submitted. Additionally, in light of the concerns mentioned, we respectfully request that you suspend the final rule until you can ensure that both employers and individuals are afforded their constitutionally protected conscience rights.”

The problem with conscience rights should not be a surprise to anyone who followed the debate on Obamacare. The surprise is that this ruling came in a year when President Obama is running for re-election. I don’t know if he didn’t understand the uproar it would cause or if he planned to use the mandate to energize his liberal base. Either way, I think it is encouraging that 154 Representatives of both political parties signed the letter.

The article at CNS News concludes:

New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan said that the mandate would force people of faith to violate their consciences and the teachings of their church, violating their First Amendment rights.

“Never before has the federal government forced individuals and organizations to go out into the marketplace and buy a product that violates their conscience,” Dolan said in a video message released Jan. 23.

“This shouldn’t happen in a land where free exercise of religion ranks first in the Bill of Rights.”

Obamacare is an assault on both the U. S. Constitution and American people of faith. Hopefully it will be struck down by the Supreme Court later this year. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is not an elected official, and this mandate was not passed by Congress. I think it is time to look at who is currently writing the laws in America.

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