I’ll admit it: the HHS Mandate debacle has been on my radar since the news came down the pike. How dare a government dictate that a Catholic employer must hire and serve only Catholics to be worthy of religious conscience protections? Since when is the charity that begins at home, confined to home?
The Catholic Church has done more than any other institution, religious or secular, in advancing the good of any and all people, whether in healthcare, education, or assisting the poor. If Mother Church is confined to giving aid to such a narrow demographic, the value of her services to the world would be devastated–and ineffective. We must be allowed to give succor to those who are in most need, regardless–no, despite!–the narrow parameters set by the government.
The subject has been heating up ever since, as the US Bishops have awakened from their comfort zone and recognized the danger lurking in the hearts and minds of Big Brother, whose ham-handed efforts pose a serious threat to the Church. Many good shepherds have stood up and publicly denounced this infringement of our most basic of rights. In fact, bishops from every diocese in the nation (191) have gone on record in opposition. Good for them! And good for the people in the pews and those who rely on the Church for their survival! I have never been more proud to be an American Catholic!
The laity has gotten involved, too, by rallying across the nation in support of religious freedom and the right to abide by the laws of a higher power: God! In April, more than 140 cities across the United States, as well as cities in some other nations, gathered for the Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rallies. June will see a second wave of these rallies and the tens of thousands who participated will surely increase. Christians from other walks of faith, as well as non-Christians, have also stepped up in our support. There are videos and photos of thousands of citizens proclaiming they “Stand with the Catholic Church.”
None of this has stopped an insidious attempt to beat back those who would stand, toe to toe, against the Goliath of this tale. There are plenty of traitors crawling out of the woodwork to sell their misinterpretation of this threat:
- That Kathleen Sebelius would be an honored speaker at a Catholic institution is only one symptom of a total disconnect. This despite the fact that 26,000 Catholics and the archdiocese vehemently objected.
- The Obama campaign has come out with an ad that uses sentimental and misleading imagery all the while touting the Pill as a necessary aspect of healthcare on which young girls rely to gain happiness and fulfillment in their adulthood. The mother of two young girls ages six and 10 claims the Pill is as common in medicine cabinets these days as cough syrup. What does this have to do with a presidential campaign!?
- CBS News reports that, “The U.S. Health and Human Services Department adopted the rule to expand health care for women. Last year, an advisory panel from the Institute of Medicine, which advises the federal government, recommended including birth control on the list of covered services, partly because it promotes maternal and child health by allowing women to space their pregnancies.”
Regardless of how widely used the Pill is, not even the manufacturers, doctors, or health organizations can deny that there are significant health (and death) risks associated with the its use. The risk of blood clots alone gives one pause, as does the damage to the environment. Can the deceit get any worse? A known carcinogen, the Pill is also a proven abortifacient, and yet its proponents claim it “promotes maternal and child health.” Where is the outrage and the accountability?
There are many more such stories, but this should give you an idea of what we are up against. What is needed is much prayer and a resolve to become active in being a part of the solution. Take your cue from one of our more outspoken shepherds, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, who told CBS This Morning on Tuesday that “the compromise reached earlier this year is not sufficient because the exemptions made for churches are too restrictive.” The White House is “strangling” the church over the matter, Dolan says.
Meanwhile, more than 40 Catholic organizations have sued the Obama administration over the HHS Mandate, which makes it a government requirement that most employers provide birth control coverage as part of their employee health plans. Citizen rallies continue, as yet another Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally is slated for June 8. This day coincides with the anniversary of the day James Madison introduced the Bill of Rights to the 1st Congress, including what would become the First Amendment. To quote the organizers of this nationwide rally effort, “We’re standing up for the First Amendment and demanding that all our health care laws respect religious freedom.”
Lord have mercy on our nation. And inspire us all to be part of the solution!