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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Taking a Stand Against Obama's Tread on Religion...

Ronald Reagan once said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”

Obama and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
That may never be more prevalent for faithful Catholics in America, at least as far as their freedom to practice their faith in accordance with the teachings of the Church, than the recent fight over the Obama Administration’s new Health and Human Services mandate that requires employers, including religious entities, to provide free contraceptives, abortifacients and sterilization, as part of their health insurance plans, even if it goes against their religious beliefs.

Although, it has become a political hot-button issue, and primarily focused in the media on artificial birth control, which the administration has used to attack the Republican objection as a “war on women,” for the Catholic Church it goes beyond politics. It goes to the heart of the deposit of faith that the Church believes it was entrusted to protect by the Apostles.

Regardless of anyone’s stance on artificial contraceptives (and sterilization), which despite popular opinion polls, the Church has and will always reject because they interfere with God’s natural procreative process, and the morning after pills (which act as chemical agents of abortion, if an egg is fertilized), the issue is not about contraceptives. 

The issue is whether the government has the right to force otherwise faithful citizens to act against their consciences at the risk of facing civil consequences. It’s the old give unto Cesar what belongs to Cesar and to God what belongs to God debate.  

Since there seems to be no way around the imposed rule, contrary to the Obama administration's alleged "compromise" (which, in all reality, how much of a compromise was it when they didn't consult with the U.S. Catholic bishops but did with officials in the country's leading abortion provider, Planned Parenthood?), many groups are deciding to take a stand.

On Monday, forty-three Catholic dioceses, hospitals, institutions and schools filed a dozen separate federal lawsuits against HHS and Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, ironically a Catholic herself, for violation of their First Amendment Right to freedom of religion.

In a statement released this week, Archbishop of Miami Thomas Wenski put it into perspective: 
The “separation of Church and State” was intended to keep the state from intruding into the Church’s – or any religious organization’s – territory. The Dept. of HHS is attempting to do just this through its healthcare mandate which creates a slippery slope.

The Catholic Church is not attempting to force its views on the rest of the country; it is the other way around. The federal government of the United States is trying to force its views on the Church. Individuals are free to buy contraceptives – the Supreme Court settled that question a long time ago. Employers are free to cover it in the health insurance they sponsor, and insurers are free to write policies covering it. This has long been the case and is not in dispute.

The issue here is whether the government can force the Church to furnish its own employees with coverage it considers morally and religiously objectionable.
Up until now, religious groups and entities were exempt from having to violate their right of conscience.  Unfortunately, under Obama's health care reform, that appears to be changing.

First U.S. flag carried into battle
Among those filing the suits are the Archdiocese of New York, Washington and St. Louis; the Diocese of Dallas, Ft. Worth, Pittsburgh and Springfield; the University of Notre Dame and Catholic University of America and Our Sunday Visitor.

The suits will be added to a growing list of lawsuits (eleven others were filed by other Catholic and evangelical groups in recent weeks) challenging the HHS rule, which is expected to take effect in August of 2013.

To use another Reagan quote, “Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged.”

Instead, it seems the efforts of this administration is to quash that religious vibrancy and opt for a more European-like socialist Utopia, where the line between Cesar and God is rubbed away and the federal government becomes the end all, be all in place of God (which isn't working out too well for Europe!). 

And, so like the early Continental Marines, whose slogan was, “Don’t tread on me,” faithful Catholics must fight and take a stand for the freedom against government intervention on religion that our founders came to America looking for, so that our children can one day hand it down to their children before it becomes extinct...

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