Last week, members of the Catholic Church and other organizations began protesting a new mandate brought on by the Obama administration. This mandate states that all faith-based organizations must provide contraception coverage though the health care plans they offer their employees. These include the employees of catholic schools, hospitals and non-profit charities.
On Friday President Barack Obama attempted to calm the opposition by stating that the organizations would not have to pay for contraception coverage, but still would have to offer plans that provide it. The insurance companies will just have to give the contraceptive options away for free.
How it’s paid for was never the main issue. Institutions are still required to provide a service that they consider to be sinful. The result is the same. The implication that the government can now mandate that these organizations provide coverage that they believe to be immoral is extraordinary.
People are allowed to personally disagree with the teachings of the Catholic Church, or any other religious organization in America. However, the Constitution states that the federal government cannot force religious organizations to pay for things that that they believe to be wrong. Period.
Numerous Catholic bishops and priests, Army Chaplains, and elected officials are crying foul. Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan of New York has had nothing but harsh words for Obama, which he and many others believe are now attempting to legislate the affairs of the church. Obama’s change of heart on Friday has done little to pacify the opposition.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said that if Obama does not reverse the policy completely, then the house will. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has stated similar intentions for Republicans in the Senate. Even some prominent Democrats, including Senator’s Joe Manchin of Virginia, Tim Kaine of Virginia and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, as well as Representative Dan Lipinski of Illinois believe the law goes too far and should be reversed.
The Republican presidential candidates also pounced on the issue, realizing that this is not only a constitutional and social hot button, but a potential election-killer for Obama.
Catholics in the U.S. represent one out of ever four voters. They are also the country’s largest group of swing voters. Obama won that group in 2008, and now has put it in jeopardy. Turning off a voting block that large could be tantamount to political suicide.
While many Catholics in the U.S. may not be as devout as others around the world, they don’t like the idea of the government getting involved in their church and meddling in its affairs. Other non-catholic Christians are lining up to protest against this mandate. Speaking at CPAC on Friday, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee said, “We are all Catholics now.”
One influential Southern Baptist preacher said that he believed that Christians would rather go to prison than comply with this law. Even the traditionally democrat-leaning Latino vote, many of who are devout Catholics, could waver in their support based on this issue.
However it’s sliced, it appears that the president would rather capitulate to the supporters of Planned Parenthood and Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) than allow Catholic and other faith-based organizations practice their believes and run their businesses the way their teachings tell them to.
For many across the country, there are many examples of Obama overstepping his bounds, and why he does not deserve re-election. As far as many voters are concerned, all he’s done with this latest mandate is to add another nail into his own political coffin. No matter how much Obama appears to be compromising on his position, he still believes that the service should be provided against the wishes of the Church, and that simply cannot be allowed to happen.
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