Saturday, January 21, 2012
The Obama administration's abortifacient and contraception mandate is appalling, but I cannot claim to be surprised by it. In fact, I would have been surprised---indeed stunned---had the administration done anything significant to honor or protect the rights of Catholics and others on whose consciences the mandate will impose.
In every area touching the sanctity of human life and issues of sexual morality, the Obama administration is aggressively prosecuting the agenda its critics predicted and its most ardent left-wing supporters hoped for. Those who are driving the train, including key administration officials who self-identify as members of the Catholic Church, have no regard for the ethical beliefs of Catholics and others when they are in conflict with left-liberal orthodoxy. Their task, as they perceive it, is to fortify and expand the "right to abortion" and "sexual freedom" wherever they can. They pursue this agenda with a religious zeal because, in fact, the ideology in which abortion is a "right" and "sexual freedom" is a core value is their religion. These beliefs are integral to their worldview. If, like Kathleen Sebelius, they happen to be Catholics, you can be assured that it won't be Catholic teaching, or the Judaeo-Christian ethic, that shapes their policies on issues of life and death and marriage and sexual morality; it will be liberal ideology---pure and simple---that does the shaping.
Interestingly, Obama and his people have been willing to break the hearts of those on the left when it comes Guantanamo, rendition, basic procedural rights of detainees and those accused of supporting terrorism, targeted assassinations, drone attacks, and so forth. But they keep faith strictly with them when it comes to anything pertaining to abortion, contraception, and other central components of the ideology of lifestyle liberalism---the conscience rights of Catholics and others be damned.
Pro-life citizens, including many Catholics, who in 2008 allowed themselves to be persuaded that Obama wouldn't, as his critics warned, push abortion hard and run roughshod over the religious liberty and rights of conscience of Catholics and other pro-life citizens and their institutions, have now gotten a rude awakening. His administration revealed its contempt for religious freedom and the rights of people and communities of faith when it embraced an extreme and utterly untenable position on the ministerial exemption in the Hosanna-Tabor case. In case anyone thought that was some sort of isolated mistake, the President's abortifacient and contraception mandate leaves the matter in no doubt.
In 2012, it is no longer possible to sustain illusions about what Obama and his people mean to do to us. They are already doing it. "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me."
Update: Michael Winters of the National Catholic Reporter won't be fooled twice: http://ncronline.org/blogs/distinctly-catholic/jaccuse. Thanks to my former student Mike Fragoso for sending me the link. But Mike, what on earth were you doing reading the National Catholic Reporter? Let me guess: You look at it for the pictures.