The Department of Health and Human Services has determined that religious institutions (including Catholic ones) must include coverage for contraceptive services in the care insurance they provide to employees. This is not a big deal, we have been told, because Catholic churches will be exempted, and the organizations adversely affected will be given a year to make their peace with the situation.
Let that sink in for a minute. You’re a Catholic organization. You have just been purposefully placed on a collision course between your God and Caesar. But it’s okay. Caesar is going to give you a year to stop being so upset.
The amazing thing here is that some official came to this conclusion and our president (the president of a nation which has religious liberty for one of its greatest achievements) has placed his imprimatur of approval upon the measure. Their reasoning is as follows: Many women who work for Catholic organizations are not Catholic or do not agree with the official teaching of the church regarding birth control. Many of these women feel they would like to employ birth control. According to our modern day Caesar, the answer is simple. Citizens want birth control. The organizations which employ them will provide that birth control. Note that the answer is not to have the government provide the birth control or to subsidize the birth control or HEAVEN FORBID to have the women buy their own birth control. No, Caesar simply walks up to the pope and says, “I don’t care what church teaching is. If you want to live in my society, here is what you are going to do.”
The political calculation, I suppose, is that there aren’t that many really serious Catholics and no one will understand why they are upset. I hope that calculation is wrong and that many Americans, like myself, will see that the secular government is running roughshod over legitimate religious convictions without so much as an “I’m sorry!” yelled halfheartedly out the back window.
The hubris on display is incredible. This is a test of our national character. Do we prefer religious freedom to a state which dictates to us or do we just want our welfare?
And note the jarring contrast with the left-wing jurisprudence which is deconstructing marriage. I can understand the impetus for freedom which is pushing toward a more expansive view of marriage to include same sex couples. I cannot understand how essentially the same group of persons think the state should be able to dictate something like practices regarding birth control to religious organizations.