This morning, I finally got to a stack of material about the recent Department of Health and Human Services rules pertaining to "reproductive healthcare" mandates for all enterprises who offer health care insurance as a benefit. This reproductive healthcare mandate is focused on the fact that insurance plans must offer contraception and some other services (read this services associated with abortion) with no co-pay required. This means that all members of a healthcare insurance plan must subsidize these services. As bad as that is, religious institutions, rather than be given a "ministerial exemption," must comply with these rules within one year. Of course, this is anathema for nearly all religious institutions and the Catholic Church has decided not to take this without fighting back.
The Council of Bishops authored a letter to all dioceses that was to be read in mass this past weekend. That letter states without qualification that the Catholic Church and its institutions will not comply with this set of rules. The church simply cannot not and remain faithful to its doctrine and tenets. Other church organizations will likely follow the lead of the Catholics. One would hope so.
In the letter to the Danbury Baptists, Thomas Jefferson made it clear that the central government should never breach that "Wall of Separation" between church and state. That wall was intended to keep the government out of church business. Subsequently, we have enjoyed over two centuries of keeping the state out of the pulpit. That has changed with these rules. Government cannot pass along rules that breach that wall and then not allow religion in our courthouses or in our schools. This is not a one way thing.
I do not think these rules will stand. Approximately 30% of Americans are Catholic and they vote seven to three democrat. Obama cannot believe that something so fundamental to the Church will not influence this situation. If the Catholic vote goes 7-3 republican, Obama will be back in Chicago a year from now, trying to find work. Let's hope the Catholic Church and other religious organizations find their voices and protest these rules in the most strident manner.
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