THE OBAMA MANDATE, RELIGIOUS LIBERTY AND THE GATHERING FIRESTORM

Philadelphia’s Archbishop Charles J. Chaput seemed to speak for a diverse and rapidly growing chorus of religious and political voices this past week as he described, from a Catholic perspective,  the attack on religious liberty embodied in the Obama Administration’s health care mandate:

“This is not just another important issue among the many we need to be concerned about. This ruling is different. This ruling interferes with the basic right of Catholic citizens to organize and work for the common good as Catholics in the public square.”

The Administration responded with a blatant yet clumsy attempt to divide and conquer Catholics by manipulation of the issue …  all orchestrated by a President who promised to end divisiveness and become the President of all Americans. And it all played out on White House stationery. Cecilia Muñoz, Obama’s Director of the Domestic Policy Council,  launched a missive ridiculing Catholic belief in contraception, using Obama’s own words:

“Nearly 99 percent of all women have relied on contraception at some point in their lives –- 99 percent….”

In the course of doing so, Muñoz made sure to say that she is a “Christian” and, as if to justify her right to spew anti-Catholic bigotry, said she got her first job working “with Catholic parishes in poor neighborhoods, and my salary was funded by a grant from an arm of the Catholic Church.”

This was a  frontal attack on fundamental Catholic beliefs and the response was strong, clear and unequivocal.

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia

Archbishop Chaput called the White House actions “insulting” and “belligerent, unnecessary and deeply offensive to the content of Catholic belief.” After pointing out that many Catholics had supported Obama’s election and, subsequent to the passage of Obamacare, had made repeated efforts to resolve differences with the President, Chaput then noted that these efforts were met with unmet promises. He concluded, pointedly:

“We cannot afford to be fooled – yet again – by evasive and misleading allusions to the administration’s alleged ‘flexibility’ on such issues. The HHS mandate needs to be rescinded.”

Altogether, about 200 Catholic bishops have written letters to be read at parish Masses, denouncing the attack on religious liberty in the Obama mandate. The protestors have even included the decidedly left-leaning Cardinal Emeritus Roger Mahony of Los Angeles, Bishop Robert Nugent Lynch of Saint Petersburg and Bishop Matthew Clark of Rochester.  And strong denunciations of the mandate have even been made by

Prof. Douglas Kmiec of Pepperdine Law School, President Obama's recent Ambassador to Malta, friend and Catholic apologist

Obama’s 2008 Catholic apologist and recent Ambassador to Malta Douglas Kmiec and by columnists for liberal (some say, dissident) Catholic periodicals.

Nor has the Administration been able to confine the uproar within the boundaries of Catholicism. Protestant evangelical Pastor Rick Warren,

President Obama and his 2009 invocation pick, Pastor Rick Warren of California's Saddleback Church

who was chosen to give the prayer invocation at Obama’s 2009 inauguration, tweeted a series of alarms:

“I’d go to jail rather than cave in to a government mandate that violates what God commands us to do. Would you?”,  said the first. A second quoted from Acts 5:29 that when government tried to coerce them by saying, “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name”,  the apostles replied “We must obey God rather than men!” And Pastor Warren’s third tweet was equally clear: “I’m not a Catholic but I stand in 100% solidarity with my brothers & sisters to practice their belief against govt pressure.”

Nor is the discontent limited to faith communities. Criticisms have been voiced by scores of Democrats in both the Senate and the House, probably fearing political repercussions in the upcoming elections.

Irony abounds here. Obama is doing more to unify Catholics than any Church undertaking possibly could. And he may be doing more to unite peoples of all religion on this issue than  a thousand ecumenical services could achieve.

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About Ray Noble

Deus et Patria -- A Website for Americans Who Enjoy Being Catholic ... and Vice Versa. ABOUT ME: Retired lawyer-law professor-author. Raised in NJ, now living in Florida. Widower and Father. EDUCATION ACHIEVEMENTS: Summa Cum Laude, Undergrad debating scholarship, Fulbright scholarship, Campion Scholar at Oxford University, Presidential Scholar at Boston College Law School, law review editor. DIVERSE PROFESSIONAL LIFE: Corporate lawyer, state (NJ) Deputy Atty General for Civil Rights, Law school associate professor (St. John's University), legal writer, author of guide for women at the request of the New Jersey League of Women Voters, state judiciary's chief of long range planning, state bar association's chief counsel, USIA law reform rep in Gaza and the West Bank, co-founder and overseer of 9/11 Mass Disaster relief program for World Trade Center victims. In 2001, after 33 years of marriage and 8 children (6 living daughters), Alice, the love of my life (my high school sweetheart), died when she was only 55 years old. I still miss her deeply and always will. But in 2002, an unexpected, new chapter began when I left the practice of law and became a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal for 3 blessed years. I served in the Hispanic apostolate and the pro-life ministry, counseling outside abortion mills in Manhattan and the Bronx. I loved the CFRs' radical commitment to poverty. I also treasured the abundant daily prayer that included Mass, the Divine Office, daily Eucharistic adoration and rosary, and both communal and private contemplative prayer. But in 2005, while I was still in temporary vows, one of my daughters was hospitalized, with long term needs. It became clear to others and to me that my 3 years as a friar.was to become a prelude to other things. Retiring to central Florida, I continue to see my daughter's needs as my first commitment. I also work to combat human trafficking. In my parish ministries and in my life as a single senior citizen, I try to continue the life I knew as a friar as much as I can. This website is a recent development. I hope you find it helpful and, at least occasionally, fun. I do.
This entry was posted in abortion, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, birth control, Bishop Matthew Clark, Bishop Robert Nugent Lynch, Catholic, contraception, Douglas Kmiec, freedom of religion, health care compromise, Health care mandate, Pastor Rick Warren, politics, pro-life and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to THE OBAMA MANDATE, RELIGIOUS LIBERTY AND THE GATHERING FIRESTORM

  1. lorilaughing says:

    Keep up the good work!

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