When the Obamacare contraception, sterilization and abortifacient mandate came down, I thought of Professor Paul Rahe and his book Soft Despotism. Professor Rahe has an important contribution to make to the subject of the Obamacare contraception mandate; I asked him if he would write about it. It turns out that Professor Rahe speaks not only as a scholar of deep authority on the issues, but also as a member of the Church. Responding to my request, Professor Rahe has now posted “American Catholicism’s pact with the devil.” He writes:
You have to hand it to Barack Obama. He has unmasked in the most thoroughgoing way the despotic propensities of the administrative entitlements state and of the Democratic Party. And now he has done something similar to the hierarchy of the American Catholic Church. At the prospect that institutions associated with the Catholic Church would be required to offer to their employees health insurance covering contraception and abortifacients, the bishops, priests, and nuns scream bloody murder. But they raise no objection at all to the fact that Catholic employers and corporations, large and small, owned wholly or owned by Roman Catholics will be required to do the same. The freedom of the church as an institution to distance itself from that which its doctrines decry as morally wrong is considered sacrosanct. The liberty of its members – not to mention the liberty belonging to the adherents of other Christian sects, to Jews, Muslims, and non-believers – to do the same they are perfectly willing to sacrifice.
This inattention to the liberties of others is doubly scandalous (and I use this poignant term in full knowledge of its meaning within the Catholic tradition) – for there was a time when the Catholic hierarchy knew better. There was a time when Roman Catholicism was the great defender not only of its own liberty but of that of others. There was a time when the prelates recognized that the liberty of the church to govern itself in light of its guiding principles was inseparable from the liberty of other corporate bodies and institutions to do the same….
Please read the whole thing.