In case you were distracted by the all-your-contraceptives-are-belong-to-us sideshow, here are a couple of reminders that the Obama's HHS mandate against religious liberty and conscience still stands. First up, a scathing piece from George Neumayr: Limbaugh vs. Party of Subsidized Sin:
The audacity of the president's secularist hope -- which is nothing more than a totalitarian power grab against the Catholic Church and other denominations -- is despicable. The GOP should apologize for nothing in this battle of the culture war and take the fight to him. Portray him every day as an enemy of religion and conscience rights. And do not surrender one inch to a mau-mauing media of anti-religious bigots who do his bidding day in and day out.Mr. Neumayr goes on to justly shred the notoriously liberal Jesuits and their phony Catholic colleges. Read the whole thing.
Far more troubling than Rush Limbaugh's comment about Sandra Fluke is the cowardice of country club Republicans who refuse to join the talk show host in denouncing Obama for his war on religion. If anybody deserves an apology from Rush, it is prostitutes. They pay for their birth control themselves, and, unlike Fluke, they don't demand that the clergy underwrite their carnal activities.
Let's cut the PC crap: college and law school students who demand that priests and nuns finance their fornication deserve searing satirical treatment. This is the sorriest collection of arrogant snots in the history of academia. Perhaps the sequel to "Failure to Launch" -- that Hollywood vehicle about an in-residence thirtysomething who beds women in his parents' house -- will be a pornographic film in which the aging protagonist uses the Obamacare HHS mandate to purchase an endless supply of Viagra.
Obama already mandates the lunacy of 26-year-old-and-younger "kids" purchasing abortion pills and contraceptives through the insurance plans of their parents. Now he has to dragoon the religious into this absurd spectacle too.
Next up, George Weigel examines the Obama administration's latest grossly mendacious comments (touched on here yesterday) on their "negotiations" with the bishops on the mandate. From Obama’s Contraception Spin Machine:
The Obama White House just doesn’t get the Catholic Church in the United States these days. That blunt fact of public life was demonstrated once again by an anonymous “administration official close to the negotiations” over the Health and Human Services “contraceptive mandate.” The official was speaking off the record to the pliant David Gibson of Religion News Service, whose March 6 story took the administration’s latest prevarications at face value.Page 2 of Weigel's article will be of particular interest to Catholics like myself who have been pleasantly surprised and even puzzled by the bishops' display of backbone against this assault on religious liberty. I didn't think they had it in them. I think I was wrong.
“The White House has put nearly every issue requested by the bishops on the table for discussion and has sought the views of the bishops on resolving difficult policy questions, only to be rebuffed,” said the official. “Unfortunately, it appears that some bishops and staff are more interested in the politics of this issue than resolving any underlying challenges faced by Catholic social service providers.” The official, Gibson wrote, was “responding” to the March 2 letter to his brother bishops by Timothy Cardinal Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
“Responding” is not quite the mot juste here.
Nothing that is of the keenest concern for the bishops’ conference has been “put on the table” by the administration, in any forum. The HHS mandate has been published in the Federal Register, without changes. The administration-controlled Senate rejected efforts to amend the law to accommodate the bishops’ criticisms. Bishops’-conference negotiators asked White House officials whether the bishops’ religious-freedom concerns — which extend both to Catholic institutions and to employers of conscience of any creed — were off the table; yes, replied the White House negotiators. Well, then, what about the administration’s ridiculously stringent four-part test for who qualifies as a “religious employer” able to claim exemption from the HHS mandate? The day Gibson’s story ran on the Religion News Service wire, the bishops’ conference was informed that any discussion of the four-part test was also off the table.
Which leaves one wondering precisely what is on the table, beyond a tacit agreement by the administration to stop acting as if leftist America magazine and the HHS-dependents at the Catholic Health Association are the Catholic Church in the United States, in exchange for the bishops’ conference rolling over and asking to have its belly scratched.
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