Mark Steyn on King Barack's edict against the Catholic Church:
In England, those who dissented from the strictures of the state church came to be known as Nonconformists. That’s a good way of looking at it: The English Parliament passed various “Acts of Uniformity.” Why? Because they could. Obamacare, which governmentalizes one-sixth of the U.S. economy and micro-regulates both body and conscience, is the ultimate Act of Uniformity. Is there anyone who needs contraception who can’t get it? Taxpayers give half a billion dollars to Planned Parenthood, who shovel out IUDs like aspirin. Colleges hand out free condoms, and the Washington Post quotes middle-aged student “T Squalls, 30” approving his university’s decision to upgrade to the Trojan “super-size Magnum.”Michael Gerson observed that "Modern liberalism uses the power of the state to impose liberal values on institutions it regards as backward." And the lot of little tyrants cited above cheer as the steamroller rolls through.
But there’s still one or two Nonconformists out there, and they have to be forced into ideological compliance. “Maybe the Founders were wrong to guarantee free exercise of religion in the First Amendment,” Melinda Henneberger of the Washington Post offered to Chris Matthews on MSNBC. At the National Press Club, young Catholics argued that the overwhelming majority of their coreligionists disregard the Church’s teachings on contraception, so let’s bring the vox Dei into alignment with the vox populi. Get with the program, get with the Act of Uniformity.
The abysmal ignorance and faithlessness of so many of the, er, faithful, is the fault, in large part (God only knows how large), of decades of pastoral malpractice. But the bishops, in this crisis, seem to be rising to the occasion. So far. I'm glad to see attention being paid to this aspect:
It seems clear there is no exemption for Catholic and other individuals who work for secular employers; for such individuals who own or operate a business; or for employers who have a moral (not religious) objection to some procedures such as the abortifacient drug Ella. This presents a grave moral problem that must be addressed, and it is unclear whether this combination of policies creates a mandate for contraception, sterilization and abortion inducing drugs covering more of the U.S. population than originally proposed.Anyway, read the rest of the Steyn column, which captures the astounding arrogance and injustice of the Obama mandate. One more excerpt:
The president of the United States has decided to go Henry VIII on the Church’s medieval ass. Whatever religious institutions might profess to believe in the matter of “women’s health,” their pre-eminences, jurisdictions, privileges, authorities, and immunities are now subordinate to a one-and-only supreme head on earth determined to repress, redress, restrain, and amend their heresies. One wouldn’t wish to overextend the analogy: For one thing, the Catholic Church in America has been pathetically accommodating of Beltway bigwigs’ ravenous appetite for marital annulments in a way that Pope Clement VII was disinclined to be vis-à-vis the English king and Catherine of Aragon. But where’d all the pandering get them? In essence President Obama has embarked on the same usurpation of church authority as Henry VIII: As his Friday morning faux-compromise confirms, the continued existence of a “faith-based institution” depends on submission to the doctrinal supremacy of the state.And just in case you heard that Obama retreated on the mandate yesterday, read this analysis from Ed Haislmaier and Jennifer A. Marshall. It's worse than you think:
Prefaced by 17 pages of the kind of rhetorical squid ink that President Obama defensively deployed at his press conference, the words that have the force of law appear on pages 18 to 20. That’s where the actual amendments to the Code of Federal Regulations are made by three departments — Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services — that Congress previously granted joint oversight of employer health plans.This is what comes, inevitably, of Obamacare and the individual mandate. Watch Rick Santorum's CPAC speech from yesterday, starting at about the 7:00 minute mark:
The bottom line is this: “Accordingly, the amendment to the interim final rule with comment period amending 45 CFR 147.130(a)(1)(iv) which was published in the Federal Register at 76 FR 46621-46626 on August 3, 2011, is adopted as a final rule without change.” [Emphasis added.]
Translation: The Obama administration Friday afternoon put into federal law the very regulation that drew objections from almost 200 Catholic bishops, some 50 religiously affiliated colleges and universities, 65 North American bishops of Orthodox churches, numerous other Jewish, Evangelical and Lutheran leaders, and even some liberals — and without changing so much as a comma.
From this point forward, any changes to this regulation have to go through the formal regulatory process all over again. [. . .]
Thus, instead of delaying final regulations until they could be revised to reflect the prospective changes President Obama outlined Friday, the administration went ahead and locked into regulation its original position, accompanied by a (non-binding) promise to revisit the issue. [. . .]
Bottom line on the guidance: The administration has said it won’t enforce the new law on religious employers until after August 1, 2013. However . . .
Let’s say you are one of those “certain employers” — e.g., the director of a Baptist food bank, headmaster of a Jewish school, or operator of a crisis-pregnancy center — and you wish to take advantage of this “grace period.” The guidance says that you not only have to certify to HHS that you are eligible, but you also have to include the following notice of contraceptive coverage in the information you distribute to your employees at their next health-plan enrollment:
Meaning what? It means that religious institutions such as Colorado Christian University, Belmont Abbey College, and EWTN — all three of which are represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty in lawsuits against the federal government over the anti-conscience mandate — must send this notice to their employees simply to be allowed the one-year reprieve.NOTICE TO PLAN PARTICIPANTSThe organization that sponsors your group health plan has certified that it qualifies for a temporary enforcement safe harbor with respect to the Federal requirement to cover contraceptive services without cost sharing. During this one-year period, coverage under your group health plan will not include coverage of contraceptive services.
The strong implication is that such religious employers will get that and no more.
Government will own you. . . . This is the kind of coercion we can expect. It's not about contraception. It's about economic liberty; it's about freedom of speech; it's about freedom of religion. It's about government control of your lives and it's got to stop.***
See our follow-up post: "Squid Ink": The HHS mandate is already law
Many thanks to MichelleMalkin.com for the link.
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