Mr. Obama knew that the mandate would pose difficulties for the Catholic Church, so he invited Archbishop Dolan to the Oval Office last November, shortly before the bishops' General Assembly in Baltimore. At the end of their 45-minute discussion, the archbishop summed up what he understood as the president's message:
"I said, 'I've heard you say, first of all, that you have immense regard for the work of the Catholic Church in the United States in health care, education and charity. . . . I have heard you say that you are not going to let the administration do anything to impede that work and . . . that you take the protection of the rights of conscience with the utmost seriousness. . . . Does that accurately sum up our conversation?' [Mr. Obama] said, 'You bet it does.'"
The archbishop asked for permission to relay the message to the other bishops. "You don't have my permission, you've got my request," the president replied.
"So you can imagine the chagrin," Archbishop Dolan continues, "when he called me at the end of January to say that the mandates remain in place and that there would be no substantive change, and that the only thing that he could offer me was that we would have until August. . . . I said, 'Mr. President, I appreciate the call. Are you saying now that we have until August to introduce to you continual concerns that might trigger a substantive mitigation in these mandates?' He said, 'No, the mandates remain. We're more or less giving you this time to find out how you're going to be able to comply.' I said, 'Well, sir, we don't need the [extra time]. I can tell you now we're unable to comply.'"
I just can't understand what Obama thinks he can gain from this. Sure, he now gets to pretend that forcing the Catholic Church to buy morning after pills and pay for sterilizations is "allowing access to contraceptives." And that any employer who has a moral objection to paying for sterilizations is "restricting access to birth control."
But let's be straight on this: The Catholic Church doesn't buy contraceptives now. They don't have to provide these things.... yet. And are there citizens in dire straits because of the status quo? Contrary to the claims of Sandra Fluke, birth control pills need only cost her $9/month. In my view, anyone who is taking on the responsibility of having sex should be able to pay the 30¢/day.
But Obama wants Catholic employers to rescue their employees from this onerous burden of $9. To the administration the $9 is more important than religious conscience. Which is just nuts, right?
This country used to bend over backwards in order to accommodate religious liberty. We let some sects handle snakes, take peyote, and do whatever the heck it is that Scientologists do. We have always valued religious liberty, even when we're highly skeptical of the protected activity.
Because even though I'm highly skeptical of Scientologists, I know there are people who believe deeply in it. So I accept that Scientology is a religion because those people have a right to their belief. And I'm aware that many people are atheists, and think my church is a joke. That's fine with me, so long as I'm allowed my beliefs. I don't tell you what to believe, and you extend me the same courtesy. It's not just a Constitutional right, it's the reason we founded this country. And if I don't want to buy your morning after pill, I have a right to refuse to do so.
This stuff seems simple to me. There's no nuance here. This stuff is basic. Which is why I found it distressing the other week when I thought I could discuss this with a Catholic Obamacare-supporter friend. She's an intelligent, kind, and caring person, so she should have been open to reason. but when I mentioned the HHS mandate, I realized that she didn't even know what it was. She knew she liked Obamacare though; how could anyone not like giving everyone healthcare?
And that's what makes it almost impossible to educate. Most people aren't political, and they don't want to know the details. They want to decide Obamacare=bad/good and move on. And if you try to reason them away from their positions you'll just be irritating them. So I didn't try.
Sigh. But the good news is that the Supreme Court seems to be taking their jobs seriously. Contrary to what our law-professor-in-chief says, their job is to rule on the constitutionality of legislation. My fingers are crossed.
And I also said a prayer, asking that the SCOTUS will have the courage to uphold the Constitution. I don't usually pray about politics, or football, or lottery numbers, but I prayed about this; partly because I knew the President didn't want me to.