In an effort to save his administration from collapsing under the weight of the controversy caused by the oppressive Health and Human Services (HHS) edict requiring Catholics to violate their conscience, President Obama announced a “compromise”. Unfortunately, the compromise is a thinly veiled smoke and mirrors act of political theater.
Perhaps hoping to fool the innocent into believing that a crisis has been averted, President Obama announced that the Catholic Church and other Christian organizations and outreaches would no longer be forced to cover sterilization procedures and provide contraception and abortifacients in direct violation of their conscience.
The HHS mandate was widely condemned across the Nation as a blatant attack on the Church. It is a violation of the First Amendment Right to the Free Exercise of Religion. It was also widely condemned as a coercive act which, in effect, compels people to violate their deeply held religious beliefs – and violate their consciences – or face severe government sanction.
However, the Obama “compromise” announced on Friday, January 10, 2012 has merely shifted the onus of immorality from the religious employer directly to – the religious employer.
The compromise states that Churches and other religious organizations would not have to pay for those services which they find morally objectionable, and that instead those services would be paid for directly by insurance companies.
However, this is still an attack on the Church and her Rights. It merely amounts to exchanging the tiger for the lion in the arena.
TINSTAAFL (There is no such thing as a free lunch)
Unfortunately, this compromise makes fools out of all who hail it as a step in the right direction. The old economic adage and popular slang puts it this way, ”there is no such thing as a free lunch.”
The insurance companies are still going to charge the insuring employer for these services, albeit in an indirect manner. That also means religious employers will still be paying for these services, even if only in the form of higher premiums for their employees.
There is another problem, even more severe. One cannot violate the Natural Moral Law, even indirectly. Professor Robert D’ Estro of the Columbus School of Law at the Catholic University of America put it this way, “It’s a shell game.”
So while the compromise may fool the innocent, the Church, ever alert, is expected to maintain its staunch opposition to the edict. The US Bishops have not yet formally responded to the President’s proposed resolution.
However, in a statement, Pro-life, Pro-freedom, and Pro-family Representative, Chris Smith (R-NJ), a Catholic, told Lifesite news, ”The so-called new policy is the discredited old policy, dressed up to look like something else. It remains a serious violation of religious freedom. Only the most naïve or gullible would accept this as a change in policy.”
He continued, “The White House Fact Sheet is riddled with doublespeak and contradiction. It states, for example, that religious employers ‘will not’ have to pay for abortion pills, sterilization and contraception, but their ‘insurance companies’ will. Who pays for the insurance policy? The religious employer.”
There should be no mistake on the part of the people who are deeply concerned about this edict. This is a very real battle which is not over. What is at stake is the Right to the Free Exercise of Religion from a Constitutional perspective. It is a struggle for for the very conscience and soul of the United States.
Compelling the Church to “indirectly” distribute contraceptives - including abortion inducing drugs – and to provide for sterilization – indirectly – is no accomodation.
The resolution of this dispute will decide if America is a Nation which truly recognizes the existence of inalienable rights and respects Religious Freedom. Or, will the current administration take its place with the oppressive regimes of the world who disregard fundamental human rights such as the Right to Life and the Right to Religious Freedom?