And Religious Freedom

The following comes from the February 17 issue of Commentary.

Yesterday, many on the left had a hearty laugh about the statement by Bishop William E. Lori on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops at a hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform about the administration’s effort to force the church to violate its principles by paying for insurance coverage for practices it opposes. 

The left-wing site Talking Points Memo in particular thought it was ludicrous for Bishop Lori to claim a government mandate that Catholic institutions pay for contraception is akin to one that would force Jewish delis to serve pork. To the left, the analogy is ludicrous, because getting free birth control from your employer is, they believe, a constitutional right, and a ham sandwich is merely a whim.

But Lori was absolutely right. The attempt by the president to force all employers, even those whose religious convictions forbid them from doing so, to provide insurance coverage for contraception is no different than a hypothetical law that would require all places that serve food to include non-kosher items on the menu.

As Lori said, the fact that many Jews eat pork does not undermine the right of kosher restaurants to exclude it from the menu. Nor should it obligate them to provide ham or shrimp or cheeseburgers to their non-Jewish employees for lunch. Rather than their refusal to do so being a case of observant Jews “imposing their beliefs” on others, a law that sought to force such restaurants to alter their fare to conform with a government dictat would allow the state to use its power of coercion to run roughshod over the religious beliefs of its citizens.

Lori went even further and analogized the president’s “compromise” on contraception by saying it was no different than if the state allowed the kosher delis to not put pork on its menu and to have its employees serve ham sandwiches but forced them to allow pork distributors to set up kiosks on the premises where free ham sanchwiches would be served, the cost for which would be born by the kosher deli owners.

If the analogy sounds ludicrous it is only because there is no national meal plan to feed Americans in the way that Obamacare has nationalized health insurance. But, as Lori points out, there isn’t any more need for anyone who works at a Catholic institution to get birth control from the church than there is for a pork-craving customer to get ham from a kosher deli.

In both cases, there is nothing preventing either person from working someplace else or just going down the block to get the item they want from somewhere else. The attack on the church demonstrates not only the contempt of this administration for religious freedom but the threat that its signature health care bill poses to constitutional liberty.

The impulse to impose these regulations on the church has no more to do with the correctness of the Vatican’s ruling on contraception than the validity of kashrut. Both are religious beliefs that must be respected if we are serious about protecting religious freedom in this republic. Such freedom either exists for all or for none.

Click here for entire story, including Bishop Lori’s complete statement.



Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2012 1:50 AM By TED
Pray for Bishop Lori. BILL of RIGHTS, Article I: ” Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; …..” The Obama Administration has no regard for the US Constitution. Let us not forget that he tried to blame gun store owners for his administration’s “Fast and Furious” of sending guns to drug lords in Mexico so he could violate our “right to keep and bear Arms” – a self protection right, under Article II.

Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2012 1:54 AM By Nancy
If all US Bishops actively promoted the reading of the “CATECHISM of the CATHOLIC CHIURCH, Second Edition” it would be clear to the majority of Americans that abortion and artificial contracpetion are mortal sins. “The Catechism of the Catholic Church, lastly is offered to every individual who asks us to give an account of the hope that is in us (cf. 1 Pet 3:15) and who wants to know what the Catholic Church believes”. – Pope John Paul II (pg 6). “….the Catechism has raised throughout the world, even among non-Christians, and confirms its purpose of being presented as a full, complete exposition of Catholic doctrine, enabling everyone to know what the Church professes, celebrates, lives, and prays in her daily life.” – Pope John Paul II (pg xiv).

Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2012 5:26 AM By Angelo
The left wingers are certainaly not ludicrous, they are just plain ridiculous and only in the way of true progress. This goes to show there are still liberal Bishop dissidents whose resignation we all wait for. I pray the Holy Father just retire this whole bunch once and for all, as they serve no useful purpose in the Church.

Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2012 6:20 AM By JMJ
Yes, these blind fools are laughing themselves straight into the pits of hell, while Bishop Lori is getting ready for to receive his blessings in Heaven. I don’t know if this great Bishop wrote this masterpiece by himself or not, but it is well written and inspired by the Holy Spirit. What did Jesus tell us about being mocked for Him? How many of us will be mocked as we will be taken away to who knows what, prison or even death? Obama wants war and we must obey our leaders (St. Paul tells us so), which means that we cannot just lay there with our arms by our sides and do nothing as the body in the casket is doing. We need St. Joan of Arc to show us the way. +JMJ+

Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2012 6:45 AM By Cody in Tucson
Comparing snuffing out life in the womb to pork sandwiches, common on, this IS laughable! A better analogy would be if the Obama administration forced many Bishops to partner with them and others supporting ‘intrinsic evil’ in order to get taxpayer money and advance the party agenda, instead of these Bishops WILLINGLY doing those things under their free will and choice.

Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2012 7:11 AM By JLS
If the government can nationalize the insurance industry, then it can nationalize anything, including religion.

Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2012 8:45 AM By Tracy
All of those “Pill” pushers should look up the side effects and contradictions of hormonal contraceptives. (Yes Doctors included) I’ll bet if you ask them, they will foolishly tell you to avoid the “deadly” ham sandwich, while ignoring the truth that women are shortening their lives everyday by taking these hormonal killers.

Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2012 9:02 AM By charles
We members of the Knights of Columbus support our Bishop and pray that even more church leaders find their backbone, be not afraid.

Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2012 9:08 AM By Catherine
Bishop Lori’s statement about pork-craving customers ordering ham sandwiches is certainly true. Unfortunately it will not be the discussion of ham sandwiches that true progressives are banking on. Yes, true progressives are banking on the topic being “birth control” and “contraception.” This is a specific strategy to win the votes of women and men to the Democratic Party. A consortium of progressive groups working with a marketing outfit that helped to sell Obamacare to the public recently recommended that President Obama make contraception a re-election issue. The marketing outfit that coordinates the contraception campaign, the Herndon Alliance, received funds from Media Matters, which is also tied to other progressive groups behind the contraception drive. Jennifer Lawless, director of the Women and Politics Institute at American University is warning of a major female backlash if Republicans overreach on contraception. Yes, true progressives are definitely behind the strategy of a contraception drive. President Obama is also banking on benefiting from the votes he will gain from using the strategy that many Catholic women do use artificial contraception. Yes, they are strategically shifting the discussion to birth control. This brings us back to the discussion of ham sandwiches. Our bishops are in need of a united miracle because of the big pickle that they find themselves in. For well over 40 years our shepherds have neglected to educate and uphold the teachings of the Catholic Church on contraception from the pulpit. Only a very few shepherds have done this. Let us pray that we will all benefit from the miraculous graces of those very few courageous shepherds who DID do their job. Haven’t we all benefited from the eleven faithful Apostles? Let us keep praying that our bishops truly see the horrific repercussions of spiritual neglect, for in this case none of us wants the ham sandwich or the big giant pickle that spiritual neglect brings.

Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2012 7:51 PM By MacDonald
Regarding ham sandwiches: “But Eleazar made a decision worthy of his gray hair and advanced age. All his life he had lived in perfect obedience to God’s holy laws, so he replied, ‘Kill me, here and now. Such deception is not worthy of a man of my years. Many young people would think that I had denied my faith after I was ninety years old. If I pretended to eat this meat, just to live a little while longer, it would bring shame and disgrace on me and lead many young people astray. For the present I might be able to escape what you could do to me, but whether I live or die, I cannot escape Almighty God. If I die bravely now, it will show that I deserved my long life. It will also set a good example of the way young people should be willing and glad to die for our sacred and respected laws.’ ” (2 Maccabbees 6:23-28) And so I think Bishop Lori’s comparison is not so bad after all…

Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2012 8:45 PM By JLS
So the govt is planning to nationalize ham sandwiches?

Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2012 11:49 PM By JLS
Contraceptives and abortion are never free; the cost is always one’s soul.

Posted Thursday, February 23, 2012 9:51 AM By Abeca Christian
JLS your last comment was short and simple and very straightforward. It is the truth, our souls are at stake here. Free is a temptation for many, one would think things more thorough if they had to pay for it but free it is giving them permission to sin. It’s the easy way.

Posted Thursday, February 23, 2012 6:02 PM By Charles
JLS, Not intending to correct, just expand on your comment: Actually the cost of an abortion or contraceptives is more than just one’s soul! It is the end of the earthly life of the murdered innocent child not his/her soul; but even worse for the aborter, the decision-maker (including parents and/or grandparents as applicable), and the accomplices (staff and financiers). It is the fires of hell for their souls for eternity, unless of course any of the aforementioned are remorseful for their involvement in the killing, go to a holy catholic priest to confess sincerely and sorrowfully, promise never to do so again, and serve their penance. This mind you will restore their souls to receive God’s graces again; however God’s justice will be served to atone for their involvement in the murder (a mortal sin). Many years in purgatory may be in store for the forgiven murderers. Those with mortal sins will be lost in hell forever. Once we are called by the Angel of death, the time of mercy is over and all that remains is God’s justice. His infinite justice will treat us as we deserve. Excerpts taken from “My Daily Bread” the Confraternity of the Precious Blood.

Posted Thursday, February 23, 2012 6:24 PM By JLS
Thanks, Charles for pointing out the weakness of my post. It was not clear that I meant to say that one of the costs is the souls of those complicit in abortion.

Posted Thursday, February 23, 2012 9:25 PM By MacDonald
@ JLS — perhaps my ham sandwich reference seemed a bit loopy. It’s just that religious freedom, whether endangered at the time of the Maccabees, or now (when the County of San Francisco was trying to outlaw circumcision, and the President of the United States is tyring to force the Church to provide abortifacients), is always bad news. Good old Eleazar stood up for his faith.

Posted Friday, February 24, 2012 7:13 AM By Juergensen
Had Hitler ordered all Jewish delis in Germany to offer pork to its Jewish and non Jewish customers, this would be near the top of Hitler’s listed atrocities. So how is Obama ordering Catholic institutions to offer contraception to its Catholic and non Catholic employees different? It’s not. The two actions are identical: the state ordering a religious segment of society to violate its religious conscience. The only difference between the two state actions being, of course, the targeted religion.

Posted Friday, February 24, 2012 7:15 AM By JLS
Not at all “loopy”, MacDonald! Excellent choice of Scripture to provide! My “humorous” one liner was intending to stretch the topic a bit too far, and point to the encroaching govt tentacles of tyranny … whoa, dude, “tentacles of tyranny”? Hey, did I just coin a new catchy phrase, or am I vainly dreaming of fame here? Tentacles of tyranny: Wow, if this has never been put in print before, I may yet be inducted into some literary hall of fame … just think of it, describing the US government with “tentacles of tyranny”. But, alas, no doubt my bubble of glory will soon be popped by some mention that the phrase has been seen and heard before. Oh well, day late, dollar short.

Posted Friday, February 24, 2012 10:15 AM By MacDonald
@ Juergensen & JLS — now that we’re talking about government sticking its nose into religious practices, I’m wondering about France recently telling Muslim women they can’t wear head scarves, or whatever it was. This also reminds me of Mexico during the anti-Catholic period, during which Nuns and Priests were forbidden to wear religious garb — and much worse. Or when our military chaplains serving in Saudi Arabia were forbidden from wearing the Cross on their uniforms…which is an OFFICIAL part of any Christian chaplain’s uniform!!!

Posted Friday, February 24, 2012 9:05 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
MacDonald, 10:15 AM, If the French government is outlawing those grotesque things that completely cover the woman’s face, the government, for many reasons, is within its rights. If they are outlawing the head scarfs such as that worn by St. Bernadete, the government is wrong. Check your facts before running off at the pen. God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher

Posted Friday, February 24, 2012 9:15 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
Charles, 9:02 AM, How about :”we Knights of Columbus” growing some backbone and insisting that the “Supreme and State Officers” stop interfering with Councils and Districts that want to enforce Article 162-7 of yours and our Constitution and By-Laws when it comes to publicly pro-abortion, pro-homosexual public figures who are members? God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher

Posted Sunday, February 26, 2012 10:55 AM By MacDonald
@ Kenneth M. Fisher — aren’t you something, deciding that Muslim women in France MAY wear the “modified habit” but may NOT wear the “full habit.” I’m sure they will be grateful for your edict. On the other hand, I have read that some Muslim women are actually grateful for the burqa, as it allows them to avoid being ogled by strange men who have no sense of decency.

Posted Sunday, February 26, 2012 3:19 PM By Anne T.
I do not think head scarves should be banned as many women wear them at times for modesty or many other reasons, including non-Muslim women. I do think, though, that no woman should be allowed to drive and do certain things while wearing a burqa. Why? Because our right to know and be able to identify someone who hit our or another person’s car in a car accident superceeds anyone else’s right to wear a mask, and ithat is what a burqa is. If someone is asked to take off a mask or a burqa, they should have to do so. Wearing burquas in the West is ridiculous. If they do not want to take them off at times, let them stay in their own countries. In fact, In some countries men have dressed up as women in burqas and set bombs. Probably women have done it too. We all know how we would feel if someone came into a bank or a store with a ski mask on. Our first gut feeling would be that they are up to no good, and most likely we would be right. I once saw a woman come into a Target Store as I was going out covered from head to toe, including her face, and all I wanted to do was get out of there. In fact, I really do not know if she was a woman. I am sorry that I feel that way, but I do have my Juan Williams’s moments.

Posted Sunday, February 26, 2012 7:23 PM By Anne T.
I believe there should be allownces for old women wearing burquas in this country because it would probably be hard for them to change, but over here the young women need to keep their faces uncovered, and almost all of them do, no matter how modestly they dress. Most of the older women do not cover their faces either in our area.

Posted Monday, February 27, 2012 7:32 PM By JLS
MacD, that is not why they are grateful for the full burqa, and you know it.

Posted Tuesday, February 28, 2012 5:13 PM By MacDonald
@ JLS — having only read the one thing I mentioned (i.e., not being ogled), I really have no idea why else anyone would want to wear a burqa. If you do know, please tell us, as my personal experience is that California is pretty much a burqa-free zone, so I’ve never met anyone in such garb.

Posted Tuesday, February 28, 2012 10:06 PM By JLS
Glib, MacD, glib.