Still riffing on themes from The Iron Lady and Pope John Paul II’s 1991 encyclical, Centesimus Annus… And one of the themes I touched on last time, the inherent connection between freedom and truth, is very much in play in current mischief from the Obama administration.
On January 20 Health and Human Services Secretary Katheleen Sebelius (a Catholic, no less), announced that non-profit employers will have one year to comply with the Obama administration’s mandate that they provide, in their employee health-care plans, sterilization and contraceptives, including some abortion-inducing drugs.
About this outrage, the Archbishop and Cardinal-designate of New York, Timothy Dolan, commented:
Never before has the federal government forced individuals and organizations to go out into the marketplace and buy a product that violates their conscience. This shouldn’t happen in a land where free exercise of religion ranks first in the Bill of Rights….
“In effect,” added Archbishop Dolan, “the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences.” (For His Excellency's full comment click here.)
This is a pure power play on the part of the Obama administration. As Archbishop Dolan says, it shows a blatant disregard for religious liberty, and certainly makes the cultural battle lines clear as on Monday pro-life defenders throughout the country prepare to recall, in both prayer and protest, the grim anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
To use a pair of terms from another encyclical by Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, in the Obama administration’s attack upon the consciences of American citizens, it is replacing the “force of reason” with the “reasons of force.”
For the Obama administration’s policy threatens to substantially weaken our polity’s sense of freedom’s intrinsic relationship to truth: on the one hand, the truth about freedom’s relationship to conscience; and on the other hand, the truth about human sexuality’s natural ordering to the goods of family life.
If Obama is still in the White House a year from now, it will be reckoning time for Catholic non-profits—hospitals, schools, charities, etc. They will have to decide whether or not to take a stand against the Obama policy. They will have to decide whether they will fight for a freedom that respects the true dignity of human persons, or acquiesce to a bald-faced assertion of power by the federal government.