Picking up on a fact introduced by Lydia in an August post, I find from Catholic Vote.org that Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina is taking HHS to court over those new regulations mentioned by Lydia, which are a consequence of the Affordable Care Act. Why they are a consequence I don't know. Are the regs in the Act, or does it demand that such regs be drawn up at some future date now upon us? If so, it would have been nice if someone had noticed. In any case, what they require is that religious employers "pay for contraception, sterilization and drugs that probably cause abortions." Failure of said religious organization to cover these costs will further require that the organization's employees be kicked off their health insurance plan. And a lot of them will fail because the religious exemptions are so narrow that no Catholic school, hospital, or charity can possibly measure up.
In an article at NCR, President Obama was described as having
bragged to a St. Louis crowd about the recent Health and Human Services’ regulations that will require thousands of religious employers to pay for contraception, sterilization and drugs that probably cause abortions. The crowd cheered the president’s contraceptive mandate. He joined their revelry, shouting, “Darn Tootin’!” to the crowd’s delight...The same week, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius addressed a NARAL Pro-Choice America fundraiser. She told the raucous crowd that “we are in a war” and boasted of the regulation that forces religious objectors to choose between violating their religion and kicking their employees off of health insurance.
Yes, it is a war, isn't it? It is a war against the Christian conscience perpetrated by an aggressor whose philosophy not merely maintains, but demands, that contraception and sterilization be understood as treatments for a medical condition rather than as choices people make about how they wish to live their lives. And, really, to believe otherwise is to be so stupidly behind the times, so brazenly obstinate in the face of obvious truth, that your conscience isn't worth the gray matter it's imprinted on. It's a public service to force you to violate it. It is equally obvious that the first amendment was not intended to protect a conscience like yours, which is in fact a false conscience. You may cleave to it in your private moments, but any public manifestation will be immediately quashed.
Should our current leftist, totalitarian, moral-monster-in-chief be re-elected, we can expect this war to be prosecuted with unrestrained fury. I would plead with my fellow citizens to see that such a re-election does not happen, but I have little faith in a populace that elected him in the first place. All the signs pointing to where he wanted to take us were there to read for anyone with eyes to see. He calls himself a Christian, too. It's his sheep's clothing.
I'm glad Belmont Abbey is joining the fight. But they cannot be the only Catholic school affected. Where are the others?
Some links of further interest:
The Becket Fund's press release announcing their filing of the lawsuit. If you have some spare cash this Christmas, they might be an organization worthy of your largesse.
An important article on the legal history of religious freedom in the U.S. at The Public Discourse, the precedents for which (I gather) do not bode well for Belmont Abbey.
An article at First Things asking when Evangelicals will stand with Catholics.
Another at the same place, in which we find Doug Kmiec taken to task for, again, defending the administration.
An opinion column in USA Today arguing against the mandate.
And at the very bottom of this page you'll find articulated by HHS itself the spurious exemptions for religious organizations.