Of course they were double-crossed! The only surprise is that they didn’t know it would happen.
Posted by Dana Pico on 2012/01/21
In debates that I had, primarily on liberal websites, about allowing same-sex couples to marry legally, my primary concern was that including same-sex relationships under the definition of marriage would open a legal hornet’s nest, in which a same-sex couple could sue a church which refused to perform a wedding ceremony for them. My friends on the left ridiculed that idea, saying that the First Amendment would prevent that. Well, the following story isn’t that, but it’s creeping closer:
Obama Administration Mandates Religious Employers Cover Contraception Cost, Catholic Bishops Furious
Posted on January 20, 2012 at 8:21pm by Tiffany Gabbay
The Catholic Bishops of the United States are reportedly furious over what they call the “literally unconscionable” decision by the Obama Administration to require that contraception be included in virtually all health plans provided by religious-affiliated institutions to their employees.
The announcement means that the mandate and its narrow exemption will not change. Rather, there will be a delay in enforcement against some employers.
“In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences,” said Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Much more at the link.
Social-Service Agencies Say They Need Broader Exemption From Requirements on Contraceptives
By KRIS MAHER, SEPTEMBER 29, 2011
Catholic organizations have ramped up opposition to new federal health-care requirements to cover contraceptive services, saying the rules may prompt them to drop insurance or shut down.
Beginning next August, employers have to provide coverage for contraception and other preventive services for women such as screening for gestational diabetes and domestic-violence counseling under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, part of the federal health-care law passed in 2010.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services exempted religious organizations that employ and serve people of the same faith from having to provide contraception services, but this exception has been criticized as too narrow by church leaders, as well as some members of Congress.
“Jesus himself, or the Good Samaritan of his famous parable, would not qualify as ‘religious enough’ for the exemption, since they insisted on helping people who did not share their view of God,” said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston.
Catholic social-service agencies, universities, hospitals and nursing homes wouldn’t be exempt because they frequently employ and serve non-Catholics. “The point is we’re being asked to pay for services that go against our beliefs,” said Pittsburgh Bishop David A. Zubik in an interview. “This looks like the government telling us what we can and can’t believe and what we can and can’t do.”
It’s a perfect storm: the Affordable Care Act requires employers to provide health care coverage, and the Department of Health and Human Services is trying to push regulations which would require religious organizations to include items to which they are theologically opposed. And it’s also the perfect double-cross: the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops supported President Obama’s health care reform legislation, with only the proviso that freedom of conscience exemptions be included; they were very happy with the Stupak Amendment, which specified that the ACA would not require abortion coverage. The Stupak Amendment was required to get a sufficient number of Democrats to vote to pass the legislation, but then it was stripped out in the Senate. The Bishops who had given their support to the bill as long as abortion wasn’t included. Then, in March 2010, well after the Senate cloture vote in December of 2009, they had to send a statement to parishioners, because the language prohibiting the forced coverage of abortion had been deleted:1
As long-time advocates of health care reform, the U.S. Catholic bishops continue to make the moral case that genuine health care reform must protect the life, dignity, consciences and health of all, especially the poor and vulnerable. Health care reform should provide access to affordable and quality health care for all, and not advance a pro-abortion agenda in our country. Genuine health care reform is being blocked by those who insist on reversing widely supported policies against federal funding of abortion and plans which include abortion, not by those working simply to preserve these longstanding protections.
- On November 7, the U.S. House of Representatives passed major health care reform that reaffirms the essential, longstanding and widely supported policy against using federal funds for elective abortions and includes positive measures on affordability and immigrants.
- On December 24, the U.S. Senate rejected this policy and passed health care reform that requires federal funds to help subsidize and promote health plans that cover elective abortions. All purchasers of such plans will be required to pay for other people’s abortions through a separate payment solely to pay for abortion. And the affordability credits for very low income families purchasing private plans in a Health Insurance Exchange are inadequate and would leave families financially vulnerable.
- Outside the abortion context, neither bill has adequate conscience protection for health care providers, plans or employers.
- Congressional leaders are now trying to figure out how the rules of the House and Senate could allow the final passage of a modified bill that would satisfy disagreements between House and Senate versions.
The Catholic bishops are trusting souls, and they are in the forgiveness business; perhaps they never expected that President Obama would double-cross them, but more worldly Catholics knew all along that such would happen.
And now the bishops are complaining that the Affordable Care Act will force them to abandon the Church’s position on artificial contraception, but those oh-so-compassionate and forgiving clerics brought it on themselves! By supporting increased federalization and control of health care coverage, for the good and noble motive of seeing to it that everybody had coverage, they put themselves and their Catholic institutions under the authority of people who have absolutely no qualms about abortion or paying for abortion or artificial contraception, and mandating its inclusion; the bishops gave to Democratic politicians and federal bureaucrats who believe that the Church’s position on contraception is ridiculous authority over health care insurance offered by Catholic institutions.
The bishops are pretty much left with two options: they can support the Republican presidential nominee, since every Republican candidate has promised to do away with the health care reform legislation, or they can pray that the Supreme Court, which has taken the case and will decide on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, will declare it to be unconstitutional. With five of the Justices being Catholics,2 it’s always possible that the Obama Administration’s position on this will be more encouragement for them to toss out the whole abysmal thing.
Also writing on this:
- The link is to Ed Morrissey’s column on Hot Air discussing it, because the internal link directly to the USCCB has expired. ↩
- Chief Justice John Roberts, and Associate Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Anthony Kennedy are the Catholic Justices; they are also the most intelligent and conservative ones. ↩
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