Let me simply start by saying that the new Health and Human Services mandate which was enacted under the new health care law is an abhorrent and complete violation of Religious liberty, something that we as a country hold as, one almost might say, sacred. The simple fact is that requiring all institutions that provide healthcare to employees must now include coverage for contraception, sterilization and abortifacients in the healthcare plans they offer is wrong. While they state that most states already have laws like this in place, they overlook that exemption clauses in most states are much less rigid than the one proposed by the HHS mandate. How can you call upon Catholic Hospitals to serve and employ only Catholics, or Catholic Charities to serve only those Catholics who are in need? This not only violates our moral beliefs as Catholics but there would be outcry over discrimination that we only hired those of the Catholic faith or served those of the Catholic faith. In the statement released by HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius (A Catholic) it says as follows:
“Scientists have abundant evidence that birth control has significant health benefits for women and their families, it is documented to significantly reduce health costs, and is the most commonly taken drug in America by young and middle-aged women…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. The administration remains fully committed to its partnerships with faith-based organizations, which promote healthy communities and serve the common good.” (http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2012pres/01/20120120a.html)
The simple fact that this is the most commonly taken drug in America says something about the degradation of our society and our respect for human life. However, it is the next section that is most telling. How this strikes a balance between religious freedom is beyond comprehension. Might I also add that when the administration says is committed to working with faith-based organizations it does not mean the Catholic Church whose initiatives are stripped of funding because they will not promote abortion or contraceptive services in their work. Evidently according to Obama the Catholic church does not serve his idea of the common good.
So why do I say that good is coming out of this incredibly evil act by our administration. There are several good things that have resulted from this mandate. The first is the unification of all of the Bishops in the United States against this mandate. The line has been drawn in the sand, this is something that cannot and will not be tolerated, Catholic institutions will close before they offer these services in their health care. The statements of a variety of bishops from liberal to conservative show this to be true. The statements of the Bishops Thomas Olmstead of Phoenix, Dennis Schnurr of Cincinnati, and David Ricken of Green Bay, agreed to refuse to comply.
“They said: “We cannot – we will not comply with this unjust law. People of faith cannot be made second-class citizens. We are already joined by our brothers and sisters of all faiths and many others of good will in this important effort to regain our religious freedom. Our parents and grandparents did not come to these shores to help build America’s cities and towns, its infrastructure and institutions, its enterprise and culture, only to have their prosperity stripped of their God given rights. In generations past, the Church has always been able to count on the faithful to stand up and protect her sacred rights and duties. I hope she can trust on this generation of Catholics to do the same. Our children and grandchildren deserve nothing less.” (http://www.lifenews.com/2012/01/30/bishops-refuse-to-comply-with-obamacare-birth- control-mandate/)
A total of 86 bishops and have already spoken out and more will do so I am sure in the coming days and weeks ahead. Priests were directed to read statements at the end of Masses, Bulletin announcements, email and phone campaigns to make sure all are aware of the violation of liberty that is occurring. Cardinal-designate Archbishop Timothy Dolan said, “Never before has the federal government forced individuals and organizations to go out into the marketplace and buy a product that violates their conscience. This shouldn’t happen in a land where free exercise of religion ranks first in the Bill of Rights.” (http://www.usccb.org/news/2012/12-013.cfm) The Hierarchy of the church is united against this; other Christian groups as well are uniting against this with the Catholic Church showing unprecedented unity.
Another good to come from this evil is unification of faithful Catholics in an election year. What is the last thing that the Obama administration wanted to do in an election year, galvanize a group that makes up around 25% of the population, as well as upsetting those who identify themselves as Christian which is an additional 51% (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_the_United_States). Obama has done this by forcing down our throats a complete violation of our consciences and religious freedom. While one might say that the economy, the wars, and other issues take center stage this election year, while they are important, this issue of religious liberty should be something that is a unifying force against the most anti-Catholic president in history.
The repercussions of this will not only be felt in the Obama Whitehouse and in his reelection campaign but there will be backlash against other democrats as well. This will extend all the way down to the local level throughout the political sphere. The impact will be felt as well in congressional races as well as governorships.
This is a serious issue and there needs to be a stand made and people are beginning to see that. Under Obama our freedoms have slowly begun to be eroded away and this is the first major act of taking away religious freedom that has been done on a wide scale and in the public sphere and cannot, and it must not be allowed to stand. We stand on a precipice in our country and its direction and I for one do not intend to live in a country where freedom is violated at the most basic levels, that is tyranny and totalitarianism.
The threat that has been made is to shutdown Catholic Hospitals, Health Care and Relief Services. Why not do a test shutdown for a few weeks and see what would occur if suddenly all the support that Catholic and Christian organizations provide in this country were suddenly not there, the massive surge in unemployment because all those people were suddenly laid off, the effects this would have on our barely recovering economy. I don’t believe that the Obama Administration thought this one out that well when they made this decision. They were simply influenced by the radical left.
So while this great evil is currently occurring in our country, there is the good that there is unification. Sometimes God allows great evil to allow a greater good to come from it. The Catholic Church in the US is finally speaking with one voice; let us hope that once this mandate is defeated that we will continue to speak with one voice.
To quote the movie Independence day:
"Mankind....that word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can't be consumed with our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests...We're fighting for our right to live...to exist...We will not go quietly into the night...we will not vanish without a fight! We're going to live on! We're going to survive!"Short Video clip by Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan Speaks Out