Updated… Doug responds and since I am currently leaving Perth, Australia to get back to Scotland and won’t have access to Al Gore’s greatest invention for a while, please take Doug up on commenting on his gracious explanation why I was wrong until I can get back online.
I don’t normally promote many comments to a full post and I rarely highlight people who comment – but sometimes the bias and outright idiocy of Obama supporters who come here demand it. They are so willing to suspend belief to support the Obamessiah that the positions taken just ooze stupidity. There are those following in the footsteps of Barbra Streisand, Bill Maher and Suze Orman, making things up out of whole cloth and then accusing any who contradict them of lying, racism or just being too stupid to recognize the greatness of the Lion King (more like the Lying King).
The basic equation is Obama = Truth, all else are lies.
Such is the case of a new friend, dougindeap. On the comment thread for Separation of Church and State in the Age of Obama, dougindeap accuses everybody who opposes Obama on this of being a liar, including leaders of the Church.
Some, including apparently the Church, have resorted to lies to in their efforts to oppose the health care law. Contrary to wild-eyed cries to the contrary, IT DOES NOT FORCE ANYONE TO ACT CONTRARY TO THEIR BELIEFS.
Well, dougie, that’s not quite true, now is it?
The Catholic Church teaches that sterilization, artificial contraception and abortion are morally wrong and that Catholics cannot be involved in them. After the regulation was first announced in August, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic lay leaders urged the administration to rescind it while pointing out that it would require Catholics to act against their consciences and their faith and was thus a violation of the First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion.
So while it doesn’t include abortions, it does include challenges to the Catholic faith:
The new regulation does not require coverage of abortions, but — according to the bishops — the approved contraceptives would include sterilization and abortifacients, which church teaching forbids.
So doug goes down the “exemption provision” route:
Here, the question is whether a special exemption should be granted so the law does not force employers to take actions contrary to their religious views. As the law does not do that, there is no need for such an exemption…
That’s simple all right. I gather you too prefer not to discuss the exemption the US Bishop Conference seeks and, instead, revisit your notion of the Constitution’s enumerated powers. Knock yourself out.
Well, dougindeap, you seem to be the one that is having trouble following the discussion. Like all Obama supporters, you are willing to claim that what he says equals the outcome. It doesn’t. Just because there technically is language that is defined as an “exemption”, that should mean that there truly is one – but as I pointed out in the original post, there isn’t because it is impossible for Catholics organizations to meet.
I assume the exemption that you claim is not needed that the administration “gives” is this:
The Health and Human Services rule requires that FDA-approved contraceptive services be included in mandated “preventive services” covered in the basic insurance package of all insurance plans.
A religious organization is exempt if it meets four criteria:
- It “has the inculcation of religious values as its purpose”;
- “Primarily employs persons who share its religious tenets”;
- “Primarily serves persons who share its religious tenets”;
- “Is a nonprofit organization” under specific sections of the Internal Revenue Code. Those sections “refer to churches, their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of churches, as well as to the exclusively religious activities of any religious orders,” according to a footnote to the interim final rule.
Apparently this really isn’t an “exemption”, it is a delay – from the same article:
Announcing the decision Jan. 20, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said, “This decision was made after very careful consideration, including the important concerns some have raised about religious liberty. I believe this proposal strikes the appropriate balance between respecting religious freedom and increasing access to important preventive services.”
Sebelius also said that nonprofit groups that do not provide contraceptive coverage because of their religious beliefs will get an additional year “to adapt to this new rule.”
Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the bishops’ conference, was harsh in his response. “In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences,” he said.
The Catholic Church leadership has it right, Obamacare is an unconstitutional law, the net effect of which is to usurp Constitutional freedoms:
“It is really hard to believe that it happened. It comes like a slap in the face,” Bishop Zubik wrote of the administration’s decision to force Catholics to act against their faith.
“Let’s be blunt,” said Bishop Zubik. “This whole process of mandating these guidelines undermines the democratic process itself. In this instance, the mandate declares pregnancy a disease, forces a culture of contraception and abortion on society, all while completely bypassing the legislative process.
“This is government by fiat that attacks the rights of everyone–not only Catholics; not only people of all religion,” said the bishop. “At no other time in memory or history has there been such a governmental intrusion on freedom not only with regard to religion, but even across-the-board with all citizens.”
“Last September I asked you to protest those guidelines to Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services, and contact your political leadership in the federal government,” said Bishop Zubik. “I asked that you request that this flawed mandate be withdrawn because of its unprecedented interference in the religious liberty and freedom of conscience of the Catholic community, and our basic democratic process.
“You did,” said the bishop. “And you were joined by Catholics throughout the country (and many others as well) who raised their voices against the mandate, raised their voices against a meaningless religious exemption.
“On January 20, 2012, the Obama administration answered you and me,” said Bishop Zubik. “The response was very simple: ‘To Hell with You.’”
“Kathleen Sebelius and through her, the Obama administration,” the bishop wrote, “have said ‘To Hell with You’ to the Catholic faithful of the United States, to Hell with your religious beliefs, to Hell with your religious liberty, to Hell with your freedom of conscience.”
Bishop Zubik said the Catholic Church cannot submit to this regulation and urged Catholics to again tell President Obama, HHS Secretary Sebelius and members of Congress to rescind it.
“They have given us a year to adapt to this rule,” he said. “We can’t! We simply cannot! Write to the president. Write to Secretary Sebelius. Write to our Senators. Write to those in Congress.”
Bishop Zubik was far from alone in condemning the regulation and calling on Catholics to demand its reversal. Across the country over the past week, many Catholic bishops wrote similar articles and statements.
“The bell is tolling for religious liberty in America. All of us should listen well,” said Bishop James D. Conley, apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Denver.
Bishop Conley called on Catholics to fight the administration’s health-care plan.
“If plans go unchanged, the Catholic Church, acting through our Catholic institutions, will no longer have legal protection for the free exercise of religion,” he said in a column posted on the diocesan website. “Secretary Sebelius is wrong; this is not a year to ‘adapt.’ The Catholic Church will not adapt by violating fundamental elements of our faith. Instead of adapting, this is a year to unify, and to fight injustice and flagrant disregard for the institutional protection of our religious practice.
“The recent decision by HHS should make clear for all Catholics that under the proposed health care plan, the freedom to practice our religious faith is in jeopardy,” said Bishop Conley.
In a column for his diocesan newspaper, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles said the administration is trying to seize a power the U.S. government has never had.
“The Health Department justifies denying exemptions to Catholic charities, hospitals and colleges because it says they are not really ‘religious’ institutions. This may be the most troubling part of this new mandate,” said Archbishop Gomez. “Because in effect, the government is presuming it has the competence and authority to define what religious faith is and how believers should express their faith commitments and relationship to God in society. These are powers our government has never before assumed itself to have.”
“But the issues here go far beyond contraception and far beyond the liberties of the Catholic Church,” said Archbishop Gomez. “They go to the heart of our national identity and our historic understanding of our democratic form of government.”
Archbishop Gomez also called on Catholics to defend their faith and their religious freedom.
“But this is clear: Now is a time for Catholic action and for Catholic voices,” said Archbishop Gomez. “We need lay leaders to step up to their responsibilities for the Church’s mission. Not only to defend our faith and our rights as Catholics, but to be leaders for moral and civic renewal, leaders in helping to shape the values and moral foundations of America’s future.”
But I guess that there really is an “exemption” as long as you pay an indulgence to the Church of the Immaculate Federal Government headed by Pope Obamacus I.
Here, it may be questioned whether there is real need for such an exemption, since no one is being “forced,” as some commentators rage, to act contrary to his or her belief. In keeping with the law, those with conscientious objections to providing their employees with qualifying health plans may decline to provide their employees with any health plans and pay an assessment instead or, alternatively, provide their employees with health plans that do not qualify (e.g., ones without provisions they deem objectionable) and pay lower assessments…
Your own words, there dougie – but your gravest error is assuming that Obamacare and the forced mandates will be found to be constitutional by the SCOTUS. I assume that we will have to wait and see but even if it is, a legal indulgence is an indulgence nonetheless.You are familiar with indulgences, aren’t you dougie? A religious and Constitutional scholar such as yourself would know that they are:
In the dark ages, when Papacy held control of men’s consciences and few dared to think, one method which she practiced to supply herself with money was the sale of indulgences. The indulgence was a permission to sin and yet be free from its consequences. Like all great evils it came in gradually, and at first consisted in the forgiveness of sins and remission of the penalty to all who would fight the church’s battles– holy wars as they were called–waged against all within her reach whom she deemed “heretics” and infidels. Heretics included all classes of Christians who differed from and did not support Papacy. Infidels were those who disbelieved in Christianity, such as the Mohammedans. Against these she waged her wars, and those who engaged in them and died in battle were sure of heaven, no matter what their previous course of life had been. This cancellation of sins was offered on account, not of repentance and faith in the ransom, but for what they termed the “good work” of slaughtering the church’s enemies in the crusades, etc. Thus indulgences got under headway.
Since they would technically have to pay to avoid breaking their religious covenant with God and the Church, it really isn’t an “exemption”, now is it? It is an indulgence, in point of fact. Catholics will still be paying a fee to the government to allow it to follow its religious tradition and beliefs and that, my new friend, IS unconstitutional:
Amendment 1 – Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Please keep coming back. We need people like you to help illustrate the duplicity and the alternate realities that have to be created to support this president and his party.