Maybe you guys and gals know this already. But I was wondering exactly how Obama got the power to push into church affairs? I mean, Obama’s not king. He doesn’t get to make laws all by himself. And I don’t recall Congress voting on this bit of overreach. So where did it come from?

I see the answer in this WSJ editorial, “ObamaCare’s Great Awakening”.

In late January the Health and Human Services Department required almost all insurance plans to cover contraceptive and sterilization methods, including the morning-after pill. The decision came after passionate lobbying by religious groups and liberals from the likes of Planned Parenthood…

A decree came out of HHS? So as a technical point it wasn’t even Obama that did this, it was the Secretary of HHS, Kathleen Sebelius. But how did she get the power?

This goes back to the drafting of the ObamaCare law. At that time, a few guardians of civil liberties expressed concern that ObamaCare might be used to exert unacceptable control over religious institutions. So lawmakers tossed in a conscience exemption for “religious employers”. Thus reassured, wavering Democrats signed on.

Turns out there was a problem: The definition of what constitutes a religious employer was not precise. Perhaps this was done purposely, perhaps inadvertently. We saw how the bill was a cobbled-together mishmash. By the time it had reached its final form, nobody had a clear picture of what was in it.

In the final push to pass ObamaCare, you’ll recall how Nancy Pelosi famously declared, “…we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy.” And she was right about the first part, in that we’ve spent the subsequent era figuring out exactly what the hell Obama did to us. But that “fog of controversy” doesn’t seem to have gone away.

Given that Obama fills positions with extremists, it’s no surprise what happened next: HHS declared an ultra-narrow interpretation of the conscience clause, such that the protection would apply to almost nobody. Religious charities, universities, schools, hospitals, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, etc. are precluded from being guided by their religious conviction. Thus, with the stroke of a pen, Obama’s lackey asserts sovereignty over the entirety of the nation’s religious infrastructure.

We expected this sort of thing. But some of Obama’s more moderate supporters were surprised.

Peggy Noonan’s editorial, “A Battle the President Can’t Win”, notes that Obama might have lost his bid for reelection in this single act.

…the church is fighting back. Priests in an estimated 70% of parishes last Sunday came forward to read strongly worded protests from the church’s bishops. The ruling asks the church to abandon Catholic principals and beliefs; it is an abridgement of the First Amendment; it is not acceptable. They say they will not bow to it. They should never bow to it, not only because they are Catholic and cannot be told to take actions that deny their faith, but because they are citizens of the United States.

She goes on to note:

There are 77.7 million Catholics in the United States. In 2008 they made up 27% of the electorate, about 35 million people. Mr. Obama carried the Catholic vote, 54% to 45%. They helped him win.

They won’t this year. And guess where a lot of Catholics live? In the battleground states.

I find it interesting that this decision comes on the heels of another sop to the left and a slap to the center: The Keystone XL veto.

It seems that Obama is trying to satisfy the extreme wing of his party. Maybe his plan is to ease up on the extremism as the election draws near, and hope the swing voters will forget what he did here. The electorate can have a remarkably short memory.

By the way, if war does come to the Middle East, that may be the overwhelming concern to voters in November. If it’s war, all bets are off, both for America and the world. But I’ll speculate this much: If the war goes well, this will work to Obama’s advantage. The nation tends to unite behind its leader in time of war. And if the war doesn’t go well, we’ll have such serious problems (global oil shocks, global financial shocks, etc) that there may not even be an election.

Nothing to be done about that, so just pray.

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7 Comments | Leave a comment
  1. trevy says:

    I’m a Southern Baptist, not Catholic. But I support Catholics in this fight. They are my Christians Brothers and Sisters.

  2. Pat_S says:

    Last year the HHS commissioned the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to determine what preventive services are necessary for women’s health. Pro-abortion groups such as Planned Parenthood were allotted time on the IOM agenda to testify but pro-life groups were shut out. Pro-life advocates were permitted to speak only during the general public comments. The IOM decision to designate abortion as “preventive” care is key. By so-doing abortion coverage was more likely to be expanded under the health care law.

    The last critical juncture in passing the health care bill was Rep. Bart Stupak and a few other pro-life Democrats accepting Obama’s executive order that federal funds would not be used for abortions. It was the final deal that gave Obama the winning margin. How can Obama keep this promise in light of mandating Catholic entitities to provide insurance for contraception and abortion which are now deemed “preventive” care? We all knew at the time it was a ruse. The health care law is riddled with “to be determined by the Secretary”. It didn’t take long to get to abortion. Abortion is preventive care!

    You can read about it in lifenews.com (July 19, 20100)
    Board: Obamacare Should Force Coverage of Birth Control, Abortion Drugs

    Politico) March 2010
    Historic win close after Bart Stupak deal

  3. LucyLadley says:

    Maynard, thank you for this article! I live in Kansas & was glad when Kathleen Sebelius left. My husband said for me to watch what damage she could do in D.C.
    He was right. I am deeply troubled by this attack on American’s freedom & faith.
    Your closing “PRAY” is appropriate. Your writing is a blessing & God is working through you.

  4. otlset says:

    Sic Semper Tyrannis! Down with King Barry and his lust for power!

  5. Tombstone Tony says:

    Maynard, you write

    “We expected this sort of thing. But some of Obama’s more moderate supporters were surprised.”

    Yes, we knew that ObamaCare was about control of much more than health care. There were hidden and intended consequences built in. Yet, it’s hard to convince people of good faith that an initiative with such good sounding benefits – health care for those who need it – would not be cast in good faith.

    … and you say

    “It seems that Obama is trying to satisfy the extreme wing of his party. Maybe his plan is to ease up on the extremism as the election draws near, and hope the swing voters will forget what he did here. The electorate can have a remarkably short memory.”

    Obama and crew have taken another step to eliminate the religious infrastructure. They mean to do it, sooner or later. So far, the push back is a spate of letters written in February of an election year – a long way and many speeches and mitigating news articles away from November. Nothing serious, yet.

    Religious institutions are now waiting for an answer. And, you know something, they are also waiting to forgive Team Obama. If the religious groups really understood how serious this is, they should plan to defeat Obama now and forgive him later, after the election.

  6. [...] question about banning contraceptives. It became more clear when the Regime used ObamaCare to declare war on the Catholic Church. The Democrat-controlled media is fairly drooling at the idea of facing Rick [...]

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