The Church against Obamacare, cont’d

Whatever happened to baby pain? I mean, has the the Obama administration’s ludicrous “accommodation” of the Church’s opposition to the compelled provision of free contraception, sterilization and abortifacients resolved the serious constitutional affront involved? Or has it thrown one more into the mix? Somehow the mainstream media have transformed the discussion into something else entirely.

By the way, has anyone actually seen a copy of the regulation enacting the “accommodation” and requiring the insurers of Catholic institutions to provide free goodies? The administration appears to be charting a new path in administrative law. I’d love to take a look at the revised regulation, wherever it is.

We’re going to stay focused on the issue before the country and avoid the misdirection cooked up by the mainstream media. IBD has devoted a good editorial to the powerful letter promulgated by Chicago’s Francis Cardinal George. Here is the IBD editorial:

The ex-head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops compares the administration take on freedom of worship to the Soviet Union’s and says its contraceptive mandate will force church hospitals to close.

On the first Sunday of Lent, Chicago’s Francis Cardinal George issued his version of the letter issued by the USCCB he recently led.

It shredded assurances by the administration that things could be worked out so that religious freedom would not be impaired and painted a bleak future that just might be the administration’s intent.

Going a bit further than his peers, Cardinal George essentially rejected the administration position that you can have freedom of conscience as long as you don’t act on it and that Catholics can run hospitals believing what they want as long as they don’t act on those beliefs.

Cardinal George responded that what Catholics and others do is what they believe and the two cannot be separated.

“Freedom of worship was guaranteed in the constitution of the former Soviet Union,” Cardinal George wrote in a column in the Catholic New World. “You could go to church, if you could find one. The church, however, could do nothing except conduct religious rites in places of worship — no schools, religious publications, health care institutions, organized charity, ministry for justice and works of mercy that flow naturally from a living faith. We fought a long Cold War to defeat that vision of society.”

Indeed we did. It was fought to protect the First Amendment and the free exercise of religion in all its aspects.

The oft-mentioned “separation of church and state,” a phrase that appears in an 1802 letter by Thomas Jefferson but nowhere in the U.S. Constitution, was meant to imply protection of churches from the state as much as the other way around. “The state is making itself into a church” with this mandate, Cardinal George said.

Under the mandates, he wrote, Catholic hospitals and other institutions will face a choice of selling themselves to non-Catholic groups, paying “exorbitant annual fines” until going bankrupt, breaking with the local bishops and their oversight, or simply closing down.

He noted that in the Archdiocesan directory is a list of Catholic social institutions and hospitals.

“Two Lents from now, unless something changes, that page will be blank,” he wrote.

Catholics operate more than 7,000 schools educating children of all faiths, backgrounds and economic conditions. One in six patients in the U.S. is in a Catholic hospital. Catholic charities provide needed services to the hungry, homeless and poor. Faith-based institutions are more efficient and more in touch with their communities.

Their loss would be a national tragedy, but not a surprise, since a major focus of this administration is to aggrandize as much power unto itself and to make as many people as possible dependent on government.

Putting competing faith-based institutions out of business would further the goal of an all-powerful nanny state.

The Founding Fathers knew that freedom of religion was a bedrock of democracy and all other freedoms.

That is why they put it in the First Amendment of a Constitution that mentions freedom of religion, but not health care. This country was founded by those escaping government interference in and persecution of their religion and the way they practice their faith.

The Soviet Union that Cardinal George warned our government was copying in its attack on religious freedom was brought down by a Polish church led by Pope John Paul II who, along with President Ronald Reagan, believed that religious conscience and freedom go hand in hand.

While some believe health care is a right guaranteed by the state, some still believe and fight for those inalienable rights that our Declaration of Independence says we were endowed with by our Creator.

Nationalized health care is not one of them.

UPDATE: My friend Ed Morrissey asks: “What if the Catholic bishops aren’t bluffing?”

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