Taking a Stand Against an Assault on Conscience: What the Government Does to Catholics, It Can Do To EveryoneWednesday, May 23rd, 2012, Fort Wayne News Sentinel
Congratulations to the local and state institutions joining in the Roman Catholic Church’s brave and principled stand against the federal government’s brazen assault on religious liberty – the Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese, the universities of Notre Dame and Saint Francis, and Our Sunday Visitor.
They are fighting for us all. This specific case is about the Catholic Church obeying the dictates of religious belief by not offering, as Obamacare requires, abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization or contraception in medical plans. But if the government can require Catholics to go against conscience, it can require it of Jews and Muslims and Mormons, too, and, really, none of us will be safe. That’s why this challenge, which includes something like 43 plaintiffs from the most liberal to the most conservative Catholic groups, may end up being one of the most important civil liberties cases in constitutional history.
There is a reason the First Amendment contains a particular set of fundamental rights – of religion, of speech, of the press, of assembly, to petition. They all involve ideas – their exploration, their sharing, their defense. The First Amendment protects our very minds – the essence of our earthly existence – from the government’s terrible power.
That’s the power the Obama administration is trying to wield here. The government is saying to us: We do not care what your religious beliefs tell you to do. You will do what we order you to. This is a breathtaking frontal assault on the First Amendment.
Some will try to tell you this is a case of the Golden Rule – he who has the gold makes the rules. As long as we obey the basic rules of citizenship, we can do what we like in our own spheres of influence. But once we accept government assistance in those spheres, we are obliged to obey the government’s rules. Don’t want the rules? Then don’t take the help.
But this isn’t a case of someone voluntarily accepting government largesse. This is a mandate – the federal government is ordering the acceptance of Obamacare and the guidelines under which it operates. That is a serious leap in the rules of the game.Follow this link to read more.