Readers will recall repeated warnings of opponents of ObamaCare that the devil was in the details. So much of the bill's regulations were left to be defined solely by the say so of Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Well, this past August Sebelius got around to deciding what was meant by “preventive health services," which would be required for all health insurance whether sold by the private sector or found through government exchanges.
The definition settled on by the unelected Sebelius forces every person in the country, including Catholics to buy health insurance that covers birth control pills, sterilizations and abortion drugs. Such a requirement violates the very core of Catholic teachings.
While thousands of organizations, many which campaigned for the passage of ObamaCare or contributed to the Obama campaign, have been granted waivers for the implementation of ObamaCare the exemption for Catholics from this law is so narrow as to be meaningless except for small churches. Catholic charities, hospitals, schools other organizations which help the poor would be forced to accept the rules, drop insurance for their workers or go out of business. The Weekly Standard has an excellent indepth article on the whole topic.
Is it any wonder that many people see Obama as waging a war against Christians?
Catholic Bishops certainly see it that way. Across the country letters have been read to congregations from various bishops condemning the new rules under ObamaCare. The following excerpt is from a letter by the Very Rev. David A. Zubic Catholic archbishop of Pittsburgh [emphasis mine]:
It is really hard to believe that it happened. It comes like a slap in the face. The Obama administration has just told the Catholics of the United States, “To Hell with you!” There is no other way to put it.For those who think the charge that the Obama Administration is waging a war against Christianity is extreme, we've just had another example!
Let’s be blunt. This whole process of mandating these guidelines undermines the democratic process itself. In this instance, the mandate declares pregnancy a disease, forces a culture of contraception and abortion on society, all while completely bypassing the legislative process.
This is government by fiat that attacks the rights of everyone – not only Catholics; not only people of all religion. At no other time in memory or history has there been such a governmental intrusion on freedom not only with regard to religion, but even across-the-board with all citizens. It forces every employer to subsidize an ideology or pay a penalty while searching for alternatives to health care coverage. It undermines the whole concept and hope for health care reform by inextricably linking it to the zealotry of pro-abortion bureaucrats.
There was a so-called “religious exemption” to the mandate, but it was so narrowly drawn that, as critics charged, Jesus Christ and his Apostles would not fit the exemption.
Practically speaking under the proposed mandate there would be no “religious exemption” for Catholic hospitals universities, colleges, nursing homes and numerous Catholic social service agencies such as Catholic Charities. It could easily be determined that the “religious exemption” would not apply as well to Catholic high schools, elementary schools and Catholic parishes since many employ non-Catholics and serve both students and, through social outreach, many who do not share Catholic religious beliefs. Such a narrow “religious exemption” is simply unprecedented in federal law.
Kathleen Sebelius and through her, the Obama administration, have said “To Hell with You” to the Catholic faithful of the United States.
•To Hell with your religious beliefs,
•To Hell with your religious liberty,
•To Hell with your freedom of conscience.
We’ll give you a year, they are saying, and then you have to knuckle under. As Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops responded, “in effect, the president is saying that we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences.”
As I wrote to you last September, with this mandate the democratic process is being ignored while we are being ordered to ignore our religious beliefs. And we are being told not only to violate our beliefs, but to pay directly for that violation; to subsidize the imposition of a contraceptive and abortion culture on every person in the United States.
It is time to go back to work. They have given us a year to adapt to this rule. We can’t! We simply cannot!