In our politically correct society, it is difficult for many to take a stand on politics and religion in public. However, our current government is forcing this issue down our throats with their attempts to reengineer society through control of the health care system. The latest flap came when the Health and Human Services mandated that Catholics pay for birth control, a tenet that the religion cannot support. Whether you agree with birth control or not is not the issue. The issue is the state is specifically forcing a religious organization to go against its beliefs. I might add a religious organization that gave Obama and the crew support when he desperately needed it in passing Obamacare.
The President of my own University, Notre Dame, took so much flak for inviting Obama to speak, and yet he thought it was the right thing to do. I’ll bet he wished he had that decision to do over. The Catholic Bishops have been extremely vocal against this act, as they should be. The Archbishop of Omaha had a particularly good letter describing the Church’s response to his congregation that I have posted below.
Well, today there evidently is some waffling going on by the White House because they had no idea what a firestorm they were raising (even though there is a Catholic Vice President who of course we haven’t heard from). Don’t be swayed by these games being played in the name of politics. This is a real threat to American liberties that Brian Burch of CatholicVote.org describes:
“Moments ago President Obama introduced an accounting gimmick to appease voters over his recent Health and Human Services mandate. The so-called compromise will continue to force virtually all employers, including religious institutions, to pay into insurance policies that cover abortion drugs and other immoral medicines and procedures.
What’s the catch?
To protect himself from the national backlash, the President announced a “compromise” that will allow religious institutions to withhold premiums paid to insurance companies for select medicines and procedures they believe are immoral.
But these immoral medicines and drugs will continue to be provided by the same insurance plans for free — to everyone, including every employee of Catholic institutions!
So President Obama decided to use insurance companies to hide his assault on religious liberty.
Separating the premiums paid to insurance companies does not change what these policies will cover. The very same policies funded by religious institutions will continue to cover contraception, birth control, and abortion drugs for every employee of these organizations. To pretend, by an accounting gimmick, that the premiums paid by the employer will not subsidize these services is simply absurd.
Furthermore, self-funded insurance plans (like many of those used by Catholic institutions) will continue to be forced to provide these immoral medicines.
And owners of businesses who believe abortion drugs are immoral? Sorry. To hell with liberty. Pay up.
All Americans should shudder at what has just transpired.
Despite repeated promises during the healthcare debate in 2009, the President of the United States has created a sham conscience compromise, and ordered all insurance companies to pay for abortion drugs — and all religious institutions will be forced to pay into these plans. ”
The concern for society is this. If the Catholic ministries are forced to pull out of providing care because in order to do so goes against their religious beliefs, then society will lose a major safety net to the poor, sick, aged, and weak. Catholic hospitals, Catholic Charities and Catholic schools will be forced to rethink their missions. The liberals love to talk about helping the poor, but the Catholic institutions actually do it. As Americans in a free and open society, we cannot afford to lose this incredible love of our fellow man that Catholic institutions provide.
Here is Most Reverend George J. Lucas, Archbishop of Omaha’s letter
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I write to you concerning an alarming and serious matter that negatively impacts the Church in the United States directly, and that strikes at the fundamental right to religious liberty for all citizens of any faith. The federal government, which claims to be “of, by, and for the people,” has just dealt a heavy blow to almost a quarter of those people-the Catholic population-and to the millions more who are served by the Catholic faithful.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that almost all employers, including Catholic employers, will be forced to offer their employees’ health coverage that includes sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception. Almost all health insurers will be forced to include those “services” in the health policies they write. And almost all individuals will be forces to buy that coverage as a part of their policies.
In so ruling, the Administration has cast aside the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, denying to Catholics our Nation’s first and most fundamental freedom, that of religious liberty. And as a result, unless the rule is overturned, we Catholics will be compelled either to violate our consciences, or to drop health coverage for our employees (and suffer the penalties for doing so). The Administration’s sole concession was to give our institutions one year to comply.
We cannot-we will not-comply with this unjust law. People of faith cannot be made second class citizens. We are already joined by our brothers and sisters of all faiths and many others of good will in this important effort to regain our religious freedom. Our parents and grandparents did not come to these shores to help build America’s cities and towns, its infrastructure and institutions, its enterprise and culture, only to have their posterity stripped of their God given rights. In generations past, the Church has always been able to count on the faithful to stand up and protect her sacred rights and duties. I hope and trust she can count on this generation of Catholics to do the same. Our children and grandchildren deserve nothing less.
And therefore, I would ask of you two things. First, as a community of faith we must commit ourselves to prayer and fasting that wisdom and justice may prevail, and religious liberty may be restored. Without God, we can do nothing: with God, nothing is impossible. Second, I would also recommend visiting www.usccb.org/conscience, to learn more about this severe assault on religious liberty, and how to contact Congress in support of legislation that would reverse the Administration’s decision.
With best wishes and prayers, I am
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend George J. Lucas
Archbishop of Omaha