Tuesday, November 15, 2011
In a column in today's Washington Post, Michael Gerson reviews President Obama's visit to Notre Dame in 2009, where "[h]e extended a 'presumption of good faith' to his pro-life opponents. Then he promised Catholics that their pro-life convictions would be respected by his administration."
That was then. This is now:
Now the conscience protections of Catholics are under assault, particularly by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). And Obama's Catholic strategy is in shambles.
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"We are in a war," [Obama's HHS Secretary Kathleen] Sebelius told a recent pro-choice meeting. Opponents of the administration, she said, are trying to "roll back the last 50 years in progress women have made in comprehensive health care in America." This is no longer the "presumption of good faith." It has all the hallmarks of a vendetta.
In 2008, President Obama's campaign was greatly assisted by high profile support from some Catholic leaders and academics, which allowed him to more plausibly portray himself as a new kind of politician and a moderate on social issues. We were assured that President Obama was a different kind of politician and that he would respect and honor Catholic conscience and not aggressively promote pro-abortion policies. Most Catholics were dubious even then.
As the 2012 campaign approaches, can any pro-life Catholic still claim that the cause of human life is not under assiduous attack by this administration? And, on the fundamental question of religious liberty, can anyone seriously deny today that, as Archbishop Timothy Dolan observes, the Obama Administration is levying an "assault [on Catholic rights of conscience] which now appears to grow at an ever-accelerating pace in ways that most of us could never have imagined"?