“The Obama religious wars”: neither words of hyperbole nor an empty epithet but an apt description of an unfolding crisis that encompasses the United States Constitution and fundamental religious liberty. Just last month, in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church v. EEOC, the United States Supreme Court unanimously (yes: 9 to 0!) slapped down the Obama Administration’s attempt to countermand a Protestant congregation’s choice of its own minister. Now the Administration is telling the Catholic Church that it must either compromise its conscience or close its hospitals, universities and tens of thousands of outreaches to the poor and the vulnerable of all faiths and of none. As in Hosanna-Tabor, the Administration even claims for itself the right to intrude upon a most fundamental right of any religious body: to decide who it is who speaks for a church, synagogue, mosque or other religious entity and its members.
By its manipulation of the media message, the Administration has been saying, in effect, that its own dissident Catholic allies — not the bishops — are the legitimate voice of the Catholic Church. And, as a corollary, they even seem to suggest that their collaborators are entitled to impose their views on both the Church itself and also on other Catholics: namely, those whose consciences won’t let them become complicit in the Administration’s mandated health insurance for contraceptives, abortifacients and sterilization. Even people of other faiths who don’t share the same Catholic moral objections are sounding the alarm. As in the Hosanna-Tabor case, the Administration’s principal adversary in these religious wars is not the Catholic Church but, rather, First Amendment religious liberty itself.
Despite this developing solidarity among people of diverse faiths against the threat to religious liberty, vocal and well-positioned Catholic dissenters on the left are serving as the Administration’s willing pawns in this war. In the following article in First Things Magazine, George Weigel argues that the credibility of these Catholic collaborators of the Administration is becoming the first casualty in these religious wars, as these Administration apologists reveal the “utter incoherence into which post-conciliar liberal Catholicism in America has tragically fallen”:
In a February 14 note to his people, Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I., the archbishop of Chicago, commented on the question of “who speaks for the Catholic Church,” which had become a subject of public controversy thanks to the Obama administration’s “contraceptive mandate”—which is, of course, an abortifacient and sterilization mandate as well. The cardinal noted the administration’s crude attempt to play divide-and-conquer with the Catholic Church in the United States, a ploy to which some nominally Catholic groups quickly acquiesced. . . . Continue Reading »