The Right Opinion

Will Obama Allow Americans to Practice Catholicism? No!

By Terence Jeffrey · Nov. 21, 2012

“Catholicism teaches that it is a sin to use, provide, or otherwise support contraception.”

These words are not from the Catholic Catechism or a sermon by a Catholic bishop. They are excerpted from the preliminary injunction U.S. District Judge Robert H. Cleland issued last month temporarily stopping the Obama administration from forcing a family-owned outdoor-power-equipment company to comply with an Obamacare regulation that requires virtually all health care plans to provide women (but not men) with co-pay-free coverage for sterilizations, contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs.

The judge stated the Catholic teaching on contraception as an undisputed fact of the case. He could have made similar statements about sterilization and abortion.

The Obama administration is not arguing that the Catholic Church does not actually teach that artificial contraception, sterilization and abortion violate the natural law and are intrinsically immoral, and that Catholics cannot be involved in them.

What the Obama administration argues is that it has the authority to tell Americans they can no longer practice Catholicism. What the Obama administration argues is that it can order Catholics to act against their faith.

In the case of Daniel Weingartz v. Sebelius, the administration specifically argues it can order a Catholic business owner to provide his employees with coverage for contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs – and thus act against the teachings of his faith on a matter that involves the destruction of innocent human life.

Elsewhere, the administration argues it can order Catholic institutions – such as the University of Notre Dame – to provide its employees and students with coverage for contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs.

Still elsewhere, by mandating that all individuals must buy government-approved health-care plans (whether through an employer or a government health-insurance exchange), the Obama administration argues that it can order all Catholic laypersons in the United States to act against the teachings of their faith.

The Catholic bishops of the United States have unanimously declared that the Obama administration’s contraception-sterilization-abortifacient regulation is “an unjust and illegal mandate” that violates the freedom of conscience not just of Catholic institutions and Catholic business owners, but also of individual Catholic laypersons who do not own businesses or manage Catholic institutions.

The regulation, the bishops said, is a “violation of personal civil rights.”

The regulation, they said, creates a class of Americans “with no conscience protection at all: individuals who, in their daily lives, strive constantly to act in accordance with their faith and moral values. They, too, face a government mandate to aid in providing ‘services’ contrary to those values – whether in their sponsoring of, and payment for, insurance as employers; their payment of insurance premiums as employees; or as insurers themselves – without even the semblance of an exemption.”

How does the Obama administration justify ordering Catholics to act against their faith?

First, it argues that Catholics lose the right to live according to the moral teachings of their church when they start a business. “Weingartz Supply Company is a for-profit, secular employer, and a secular entity by definition does not exercise religion,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Stuart F. Delery argued in a submission to Judge Cleland.

Well, what about a nonprofit institution such as a Catholic university? What about an individual Catholic layperson? How can the administration justify ordering them to act against their faith? The First Amendment says Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion. Isn’t the administration prohibiting the free exercise of religion when it orders Catholics to act against Catholic teachings?

“The Free Exercise Clause does not prohibit a law that is neutral and generally applicable even if the law prescribes conduct that an individual’s religion proscribes,” Assistant Attorney General Delery told the court. “The preventive services coverage regulations fall within this rubric because they do not target, or selectively burden, religiously motivated conduct.”

In plain English: As the Obama administration interprets the First Amendment, it cannot order only Catholics to pay for the administration of a drug that kills an unborn child, but it can order all Americans – including Catholics – to pay for the administration of a drug that kills an unborn child.

Many bishops have spoken out clearly and courageously against President Obama’s attack on religious freedom.

Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh wrote in his diocesan newspaper: “The Obama administration has just told the Catholics of the United States, ‘To Hell with you!’”

Archbishop Timothy Broglio, who leads the Catholic Archdiocese for the Military Services, wrote a letter to be read by chaplains serving Sunday masses attended by U.S. military forces. Obama’s mandate, the archbishop said, is “a blow to a freedom that you have fought to defend and for which you have seen your buddies fall in battle.”

Broglio and many other bishops declared: “We cannot – we will not – comply with this unjust law.”

In his encyclical letter Evangelium Vitae, Pope John Paul II cited St. Thomas Aquinas in explaining the Catholic teaching on unjust laws.

“This is the clear teaching of Saint Thomas Aquinas, who writes that ‘human law is law inasmuch as it is in conformity with right reason and thus derives from the eternal law,” said the pope. “'But when a law is contrary to reason, it is called an unjust law; but in this case it ceases to be a law and becomes instead an act of violence.’”

“To refuse to take part in committing an injustice is not only a moral duty,” said the pope, “it is also a basic human right.”

President Obama has launched the greatest attack on religious liberty in the history of the United States. He hopes to divide Catholics from their church and American law from truth and justice.

There is no middle ground here. The church is right, the bishops are right, freedom of conscience is an alienable right, and Obama is more wrong about the meaning of liberty than any American president has ever been.



Rod in USA said:

Very well said.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 8:43 AM

Gregory in Yakima said:

So...the institution that institutionalizes child molestation and thought the Inquisitions were "a neat idea" is prostrate with outrage huh?

Since when is a condom use ".....a matter that involves the destruction of innocent human life." ?

I know, I know, the Catholic Church does many good things and has many good people working earnestly for excellent causes....but you have to admit they're less than the absolute authority, throughout history when it comes to what is permissible, what is moral and what is not.

Consider the silence of the Catholic Church during Russia's pogroms or the Nazi's mass killings of Jews and Gypsies. I suppose someone will quickly challenge facts to fit a neat little history revision but that doesn't change fact at all.

It's time...well past time to put religions where they belong...out of public policy on issues where religion claims moral authority it has not earned and is not entitled to. Separation of Church and state, remember?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 8:49 AM

Brian P. Rabbit in Pennsylvania replied:

Thanks for Your comment.

However, Your objection to the argument raised in the article appears to be the fact the argument in the article helps and/or are being put forth by some People You find imperfect. If I recall correctly, such attempts to discredit an argument based on the Speaker of said argument constitute what is called an "ad hominem fallacy" and suggest the Person utilizing the ad hominem don't really have much of an argument Themselves.

However, not all of Your comment involves ad hominem; only paragraphs #1, #3, #4, and most of #5.

Paragraph #2 of Your comment is irrelevant to the discussion at hand, whether the contraception mandate violates the Free Exercise Clause, making it a "red Herring fallacy".

As such, the only potentially valid argument You have left in Your comment is "Separation of Church and state, remember?" However, even then, You can find no rhetorical comfort because the concept of "separation of church and state" is limited to the prevention of government favoring one religion or classes of religions over another and to the prevention of government interfering with the free exercise of One's religion.

Consequently, You have no valid argument presented in Your comment.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Bill in Texas replied:

Greg - I agree with your last point about seperation of church and state. We have that, it is the 1st amendment.

When it comes to this, I agree with the church, but not for the reasons of the church.

I believe that the ability to prohibit preganancy in all its forms is a choice of the individual, and as such, is an individuals right to provide for themselves and not as a free service that the Federal Government mandates must be provided nationally by a 3rd party service not afflicated with the Federal Government, ie. health insurance providers and their policies.

Also, I find it difficult to understand why females have problems with buying a 5 dollar 3 pack of condoms and telling a man that if they want sex, they put one on.

Because of this, it is one reason that I support Roe v. Wade due to the fact that the ability to abort a pregancy is an individuals right to decide. However, females also need to start taking responsibilty for their relations and interations with regard to sex. If a woman wants to have sex, so what and who cares. However, she also needs to take action for the potential long term ramifications of that decision, ie. pregancy and a potential child.

That is why, even though my wife and I are married 10 years this last October, I still buy condoms for when we do have sex. We plan when we decide to have children, and we have been blessed with a girl and recently a boy. We are also talking about having a 3rd, but that will be a couple of years off, so I make sure to have condoms on hand until that time.

You make valid points about the Catholic church, but also, the Federal Government has no position to make requirements of the church per the 1st Amendment.

Problem with this country is that we have become so divided based on what we are as individuals. I am a American. For the breakdown for those who care, I am a Texas-white-american-husband-father of 2-blue collar worker-ward of the state-raised in an orphanage-know my parents but never raised by them. Because I am all things, I like to keep it simple: I am first a Texan, then I am an American, then I am simply ME.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 12:19 PM

Jay in FL said:

Conscience. Everyone has a stake in this, including agnostics and athiests. At some point everyone will recognize an issue of conscience which the government wants to violate. In this case it is free religious expression. If the government can crush this then it can begin to make demands which even the non-faith people can recognize as wrong. Either that or those same people will have embraced the 'brave new world' to the extent that they are incapable of recognizing right from wrong.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 8:57 AM


God help us all!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 9:37 AM

Gregory in Yakima said: have a good point. In this circumstance the CC has determined what is problem with that...but they go further by deciding for their employees whether or not they will use birth control. These are employees with rights too.

Should law allow religious institutions to impose their beliefs and thereby restrict the rights of others? Religious organizations may want veto power over health laws including diet, what sexual activities are not allowed and etc. but that resulted in the dark ages. If Southern Baptists had their way slavery would still be a fact of life.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 9:44 AM

Wayne in Hinesville, GA replied:

Your comment about Southern Baptists shows your total ignorance about today's Southern Baptists. I want you or any of your liberal buddies to show me where the Constitution or the Bill or Rights emphatically states that there will be a seperation of churcn and state. I'm not talkiing about what someone may have said or published, I'm talking about the wording of the Constitution. It distinctly says that the government will not establish a religion nor interfere with the right to the practice of religion. I am a Methodist and I don't let my religiious beliefs interfere with my politics.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 10:21 AM

Bill in Texas replied:

With regards to religion, I am Methodist as well and by choice! As for poltics and religion mixing. I don't have the time for it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 12:24 PM

Brian in Newport News replied:

Greg, read the constitution for once in your life. Also learn something of the intent behind the document. Our founders did not want any religion to dictate law, as that led to the very things you complain about regarding the Catholic Church (Inquisition, etc)

The catholic church is not saying that others cannot use birth control, it is arguing that it's members should not be forced to pay for it/supply it to others. What is so wrong about that? When was the last time you saw anyone unable to obtain birth control because the Catholic Church stopped them?

And since when is birth control a health issue anyway? Let's say someone is NOT catholic, but works at a catholic institution. Why should that institution be required to offer that individual health insurance that supplies "free" birth control (not actually free as that cost will be passed on as higher costs on all other services)? If that individual wants contraception, what is so hard about going to buy their own condomns, birth control pills or whatever?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 10:30 AM

The Old Man 35 in Foothill Ranch, CA replied:

Thank you for trying to explain to those who won't listen or try to understand anothers faith. You are completely right that Catholics do not restricts anothers right to do as they please. They just do not nor will we accept the goverment forcing us to pay for their right to do as they please.
May God have mercy on our country and return it to the right path.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 10:36 AM

Truthseeker in Springfield, MO replied:

Greg, the Catholic Church hasn't said its members, employees, or anyone else can't use contraceptives, it just is saying it won't pay for them. That is a HUGE difference.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 11:25 AM

Jay in FL replied:

Respectfully, you miss the point. Religious freedom is assaulted. The property rights of those same people are assaulted. If someone has their own business, the government should not have the right to force that owner to go against their beliefs. The employees are free to work somewhere else. In the specific case of being forced to provide abortion or abortificiants, it has to do with something so fundamental as when life begins. Any teenager can tell you why pophylactics are necessary to stop the onset of life, and its consequences. If people cannot or will not take responsibility for what they do, then surprise, the government will accomodate them, especially if it will purchase some votes. The basic issue is the beginning of life, not to mention the character of the citizens who either care or don't care, as a matter of mere convenience, about the consequences of and responsibility for their actions. Once you cross the line of not caring about the most defenseless form of life, you've then opened the door to disposing of adult life you find inconvenient. It isn't hard today to find so-called "ethicists" who are only too happy to kill your senior loved ones. The whole approach to the current health care law is so misplaced as to deceive and delude. That is why the passing of the law was itself a desertion of responsibility by elected representatives, from their duty to READ the law, and engage in an HONEST DEBATE about its content, which we now have being shoved down our throats: it was a dereliction of duty on the part of those who voted it into law " that we could see what is in it..." In the process, religious freedom and freedom of conscience have been assaulted, and you have to pay for your own conscience being placed under the heel of the state!! It's a sad day. And out of mere convenience, so many people cannot see what is wrong with that. If it isn't so obvious, you and all others will have the opportunity to yourselves be callously "disposed of" for the convenience of your younger fellow citizens. We have not addressed real solutions to the problem.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 3:52 PM

Brian P. Rabbit in Pennsylvania said:

So, I have what Some might call a "stupid question": Various institutions/companies have filed suit to block the mandate. Great, wonderful, I hope the suits all succeed. However, as the Author eloquently noted, what of the lone Purchaser? Does Anyone know of any suit filed by an Individual or class of Individuals, say in some sort of "class action", to block the mandate? I would think, even if the administration's arguments about companies not being able to exercise religion are correct (and I certainly do not), at the very least an Individual suit could carry the day for Us All. Or have I missed something?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 10:55 AM

Gregory in Yakima said:

From only last Feb. By Robert Creamer. When will you learn?

"You have to wonder if the political consultants advising the Republican presidential candidates have lost their minds. In the competition for ultra-right wing voters in the Republican primaries, the Romney and Santorum campaigns have completely lost sight of how their positions on birth control appear to the vast majority of Americans -- and especially to women -- and affect their chances in a general election.

Outside of a very narrow strata of political extremists, birth control is not a controversial subject. At some point in their lives roughly 98% of women -- including 98% of Catholic women -- have used birth control -- either to prevent pregnancy, regulate menstrual cycles and cramps or to address other medical issues.

Last week a PPP poll reported that:

This issue could be potent in this fall's election. Fully 58 percent of voters say they oppose Republicans in Congress trying to take away the birth control benefit that saves women hundreds of dollars a year, including 56 percent of independents.

And a recent Pew Poll says only 8% of Americans believe that the use of contraceptives is "immoral."

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 3:50 PM

richard ryan in Lamar,Missouri replied:

Greggy, baby, if birth control saves women "hundreds of dollars a year" they are having more sex than most people have.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 7:53 PM

Wayne in Hinesville, GA replied:

Again, Greg, you miss the point. We don't care if women take birth control. That is their prerogative. What we object to is forcing a religious entity to go against their beliefs. We also don't think taxpayers should foot the bill. When Sandra Fluke became the poster child of the left concerning birth contrrol it left most people with a brain wondering what time she had for class if she needed $3,000 a year for birth control.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 10:22 PM

Abu Nudnik in Toronto said:

Thanks for the well-written piece. The presentation of the government's argument is spot on and shows it to be nothing but sophistry and preposterous to boot. It's like saying "I can't make it mandatory for Hindus to commit a crime against their consciences but I can make it mandatory for all Americans to do so. Ollie-Ollie-Ox-in-free!

It reminds me of the Monty Python mocumentary in which Eric Idle says "Well, first 'he nailed me brother's 'ead to the coffee table. And then 'e nailed me own 'ead to the coffee table. 'e was a cruel man but 'e was a fair man."

By the way, where is the gay lobby here? No help for buying condoms to engage in safe sex? Are you condemning us to death? Where's that argument and where's the counterargument? Here's my guess: "You can afford your own." Ah! Then what's good for the goose should be good for the gander!

PS: Why argue with people who only come here to wind you up and get you upset?

Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 4:07 PM

Mike McGinn in People's Republic of Maryland said:

Folks need to put their "religious baggage" aside for a moment and look at this issue for what it truly is...a gross infringement by the federal government on the rights of a private business. Just because the infringement is against a Christian-owned and operated business does not make it OK.

Imagine for a moment that you own a Japanese Steakhouse. Now imagine that someone comes in and asks to be served a Philly Cheesesteak sandwich. Obviously, you could tell that person "No, I can't serve you a Philly Cheesesteak sandwich. We are a Japanese Steakhouse and we serve Japanese cuisine. Would you like some beef teriyaki?"

Using the "logic" that the Obama administration is using with Christian business owners, the government could force the Japanese Steakhouse to serve the customer a Philly Cheesesteak sandwich because, after all, it is a restaurant that serves food, and a Philly Cheesesteak sandwich is food (it even has "steak" in it's name), and the customer has a "right" to eat whatever they wan regardless what you offer.

In the real world, that person would simply go to a restaurant that serves Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches. In the "Obama world", you simply force the Japanese Steakhouse to serve a Philly Cheesesteak sandwich.

Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 8:45 PM