Obama Redoubles Efforts to Force Liberalism on Religious Congregations

Matthew Sheffield
By Matthew Sheffield | January 23, 2012 | 6:16 PM EST

Less than a week after the Supreme Court said - in a 9-0 ruling - that government can't tell religious organizations who they must hire and fire, the Obama administration has retaliated with a mandate that religious organizations violate their conscience on matters of sex and reproduction, in order to serve the Holy Writ of the Left: Roe v. Wade.

Let's recap: Last week, the Supreme Court upheld what lawyers refer to as the "ministerial exception" to federal employment law. In the specific case, Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that religious workers cannot sue their employers for discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

That's because of a little clause in U.S. law known as the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of religion.

The Supreme Court upheld a lower court's ruling that government can not interfere in church affairs. It was a huge victory for the free exercise of religion - the constitutional right of religion to be free from meddling and interference by the state.

Today, the Obama administration has announced that it will force religious organizations to pay for birth control and abortion-causing drugs as part of its employees' healthcare coverage, even if those organizations have a core moral objection to birth control and/or abortion.

The media is portraying this as the Obama administration angering Catholics, but it goes beyond just the Catholic Church. While the Catholic Church opposes birth control and abortion, millions of evangelical Christians in various non-Catholic denominations share the Catholic Church's opposition to abortion.

As a result of Obama's new mandate, thousands of Catholic and evangelical Christian schools, universities and non-profit ministries will now be forced to make a choice between following their conscience and obeying Obama.

Some are already fighting back.

Patrick J. Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society, which promotes faithful Catholic identity in Catholic higher education, writes about the upcoming legal battle in today's Washington Post:

"The U.S. bishops and leaders from the Protestant, evangelical and Jewish communities have warned the Obama administration many times against any compromise of religious freedom. Many religious organizations also vigorously opposed the interim HHS rule, such as the 18 Catholic colleges that joined last September in protest together with The Cardinal Newman Society and the key bishop responsible for Catholic education. But now the fight is in the courts, and the attention shifts to one small Catholic college that has stood valiantly to oppose the HHS rule in federal court. The suit filed by Belmont Abbey College in the District Court in Washington, D.C., is perhaps the best hope that religious organizations have to halt the HHS mandate, along with a similar suit filed by Colorado Christian College in its home state. Both colleges are represented by the impressive Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which won this month’s unanimous Supreme Court decision against the Obama administration’s attempt to abolish special protections for religious employers with regard to their “ministerial” employees."

The Washington Post itself agrees that the Obama administration's decision represents an infringement on religious freedom, saying this in an editorial:

"The significance of the new health-care law is that the federal government will for the first time require all employers to provide insurance coverage for their workers — in other words, to spend their own money to help underwrite this coverage — or, in many cases, to pay a penalty. In this circumstance, requiring a religiously affiliated employer to spend its own money in a way that violates its religious principles does not make an adequate accommodation for those deeply held views"

Why the Obama administration has chosen to pick a fight with Catholics and other people of faith in an election year is a mystery. But why they think it is okay for government to interfere with religious organizations and force state "wisdom" over matters of deeply held faith beliefs, is no mystery at all:

For 30 years, Roe v. Wade has been holy scripture to the Left. Today, as the pro-life community marks the 39th anniversary of that awful decision, the Obama administration has chosen to celebrate it by announcing it will force religious groups opposed to abortion to pay for it anyway.

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