"Catholics sue over birth control" was the headline used by the Herald-Leader to describe the response by the Catholic Church to the Obama administration's egregious assault on religious liberty, known as Obamacare or, more correctly, the Affordable Care Act.
Why the furor by Catholics and religious people of all faiths surrounding the Health and Human Services mandate?
Is it because the mandate guarantees that you and I will pay for abortions, abortion-causing drugs, sterilizations and contraceptives? Is it because the mandate also rewards the abortion industry's top dog, Planned Parenthood, for its millions of dollars in campaign contributions to both President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party?
In fact, it is not the Catholic Church that is actually in a tizzy over birth control. Rather, it is the Obama administration's own obsession with birth control and abortion services. The HHS mandate will require insurance plans to provide free of cost, morally objectionable services and products described as health care. That is the problem.
Many women have learned the hard way that birth control is not healthy. Blood clots, seizures, strokes, heart attacks, infertility and breast cancer, are but a few side effects of oral contraceptives. Abortion is certainly not healthy for either the baby or the mother. However, both the Affordable Care Act and Planned Parenthood refer to contraception and abortion as "reproductive health care for women."
The justification, according to the HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, herself a Catholic, is that 98 percent of Catholic women already use contraception.
The statistic itself is an exaggeration; its invocation is both despicable and self-undermining. Despicable, because the fact that many people avail themselves of birth control cannot possibly establish that those who wish to avoid paying for abortions, sterilizations and contraceptives, should be forced to do so. It is self-undermining because the statistic highlights the truth that contraceptives flow like water in this country.
Contraceptives are accessible to anyone, even to 12-year-old children. Federally mandated funding will force all faith-based institutions and organizations to provide them free of cost to everyone. The president has no legal authority to impose this mandate.
Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh properly characterized the Obama administration's move as a resounding "To hell with you!" aimed at faithful Catholics and their families. This mandate will radically dismantle the services the Catholic Church provides to millions. No one will remain unaffected by the mandate on a personal level, including those who often disagree with the church on matters of faith and morals.
Regardless of the decision rendered by the Supreme Court on the fate of Obamacare, one thing is disturbing and obvious to those paying attention to the state of the country: Too many Americans have become complacent about religious freedom.
They don't understand the relationship between religious freedom and our peaceful, prosperous and generous society.
The implication of forgetting about or never learning our nation's history and struggles in the fight to gain religious freedom from a tyrant is alarming.