Here's what's happening with King Barack's HVIII-style mandate against religious freedom:
Sen. Mitch McConnell has outraged the Left by defending the conscience rights not only of religious institutions but of employers as well. TPM gasps: McConnell: GOP Will Fight To Let ANY Employer Deny Birth Control Coverage
The effrontery! Who do they think they are? Don't they realize that the right to contraceptives -- "free" contraceptives, abortifacients, and sterilizations -- trumps all others?
Here's the pdf of Sen. Roy Blunt's amendment to protect conscience rights of employers. Note to Blunt and McConnell: The conscience rights of individual employees must be protected as well. What right does the government have to force anyone to purchase coverage they object to?
*Updated to insert this critical point from Mark Rienzi:
Fourth, and most important, this compromise does absolutely nothing to protect individual religious Americans. To listen to the president and much of the media, the only people who have religious liberty in this country are churches and religiously affiliated institutions. But religious liberty is the inalienable right of all Americans, not just churches. The president’s compromise offers nothing to protect individual religious liberty — if you own a pharmacy or a doctor’s office or a gas station and you have a religious objection to buying these products, tough luck. Maybe if you wore a collar or a habit the president would respect your religious liberty, but not if you wear a tie, scrubs, or coveralls. Of course this is all entirely contrary to law — individuals have religious-freedom rights under the First Amendment and under RFRA.Back to the original post. Sen. McConnell:
"They don't have the authority under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution to tell someone in this country or some organization in this country what their religious beliefs are," McConnell told "Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer.The whole mess strikes me as a serious political stumble on Obama's part. His edict has put Obamacare back on the front pages and forced us to confront anew the injustices inherent in government forcing citizens to purchase health insurance written to its own specifications.
"This issue will not go away until the administration simply backs down," McConnell said.
McConnell said he expects the Senate to take up the issue as soon as possible to overturn the contraceptive rule, although his party's minority status would hamper offering up legislation.
McConnell said Republicans are also filing an amicus brief - a legal brief in support of a position - to the Supreme Court Monday challenging the president's health care law.
As for the president's contraceptive rule that mandates insurance companies provide contraception and sterilization coverage free of charge, even for employees of religious-affiliated institutions, McConnell said it violates freedom of religion.
"This is what happens when the government tries to take over health care and tries to interfere with your religious beliefs," McConnell told Schieffer. "This is about the free exercise of religion," McConnell said.
I think the mandate is a gift to Rick Santorum. But maybe the Obama administration did believe it would be a way to get at the surging Catholic candidate. Behold White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew, acting as pathetic spokes-tool for King Barack on Meet the Press. He asserted not once but twice that Santorum wants to take contraceptives away from women:
There are some who just oppose that women should have the right to contraception.Lew knows this isn't true. That makes it a lie, clearly intended to smear his boss's opponent. And to frighten the grossly ignorant, I guess. (Does anyone who votes actually believe that?)
There are a lot of people, maybe from that comment, the senator, who don't believe that women should have a right to contraception.
Judging by the rest of Lew's comments, the administration doesn't see the need for any negotiations with the US bishops:
MR. LEW: Yeah, David, on Friday we had a broad range of groups endorse where the president's policy is. We had the Catholic Health Association, which understands health care extremely well and is true to Catholic beliefs. We had the Catholic Charities, we had Planned Parenthood. There's a broad consensus that this is the right approach. That doesn't mean that everyone agrees with it.So the bishops' demand to "rescind the mandate" carries no weight, because Sister Carol "I Heart Obamacare" Keehan and Planned Parenthood are on board. Way to go, Sister. You're in great company.
MR. GREGORY: So you can move forward without the church's hierarchy being on board.
MR. LEW: I think that we, you know, the fact that the Catholic Health Association, Catholic Charities support what the president announced on Friday reflects the fact that we hit that important balance between providing a woman the guarantee that she has access to the kinds of preventive health care that she needs and that we've respected the religious liberty of the institutions.
Phil Lawler has an idea: Just say no.
So here’s where we stand: Within hours of President Obama’s announcement, without waiting for guidance from the US bishops, the heads of the Catholic Health Association and Catholic Charities USA—two of the largest Church-related employers in the country—have announced that they are now satisfied with the plan. Their defection will make it all the more difficult for the bishops to hold the line in defense of religious freedom.That would require real hardball from the bishops. Do they have it in them?
There is a solution ready at hand, however. The US bishops could announce that, No, Catholic Charities USA will not provide healthcare under the terms of the HHS mandate—or it will cease to be called “Catholic.” (It would be a small loss; Catholic Charities USA today is mostly a conduit for government funds, carrying out government contracts.) And No, the Catholic Health Association will not accept the Obama “accommodation,” or else its member institutions will cease to be known as “Catholic” hospitals.
Then the institutions that truly want to be known as Catholic, and want to live in accordance with Church teachings, could fight this political battle on their own. Their numbers would be diminished, but they would be buoyed by the knowledge that they all really were fighting on the same side.
Linked at MichelleMalkin.com . Many thanks.
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