President Obama and the Catholic vote

I had written about this subject a week and a half ago, and Yorkshire added another article on it today, but more needs to be said. President Obama may well have ended his chance to be re-elected with this decision by his administration.

It is not particularly surprising to your editor that President Obama is somewhat insensitive when it comes to religious issues. Though Mr Obama claimed to be a Christian, he was sufficiently inattentive to the sermons delivered by his pastor that that he claimed not to have heard the Reverend Jeremiah Wright saying any of the things which caused Mr Obama grief during the 2008 presidential campaign.

The Bishops of the Catholic Church are not just laying down and taking this.


Bishops Refuse to Comply With Obamacare Birth Control Mandate


by Steven Ertelt | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 1/30/12 6:54 PM

At least three Catholic bishops have said they will not comply with the mandate the Obama administration put in place recently in Obamacare that will force religious employers to pay for birth control, contraception and drugs that may cause abortions in their health care plans.

The Obama Administration issued a statement re-iterating the “contraceptive mandate” requiring all insurance providers cover the full range of FDA-approved drugs and devices would remain intact. This mandate, originally proposed in August, includes drugs that work after conception to destroy life rather than prevent it. The statement included a postponement of one year for religious groups that do not already carry contraceptives and additionally would not be exempted under last year’s narrow definition of “religious employer.”

The mandate not only violates such existing conscience protections on abortion such as the Hyde/Weldon Amendment (in so far as Plan B and Ella are covered), but also violates the principles of the Church Amendments which protects conscience rights for those who object to contraceptives and other services on moral or religious grounds.

Responding to it, Bishop Thomas Olmstead of Phoenix announced that his diocese will not comply with the mandate and Archbishop Dennis Schnurr of Cincinnati and Bishop David Ricken of Green Bay, agreed to refuse to comply.

They issued similar language in public statements saying they would not do so.

Much more at the link.

The Administration is on somewhat shaky ground. The United States Supreme Court, in the recent decision Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC, ruled unanimously that the Constitution does not allow for “government interference with an internal church decision that affects the faith and mission of the church itself.” The case was on a different subject, concerning whether there is a ministerial exception for churches in hiring and firing which puts such decisions beyond the scope of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, but it set the threshold for government action which impinges upon the mission of the churches very high. There is some question as to whether previous law, which bound, for example, Catholic social service agencies to include prospective parents who were homosexual as legitimate candidates to be adoptive parents,1 would survive scrutiny under the Hosanna-Tabor ruling.

The shutting down of Catholic Charities adoption and foster-care agencies was a large issue to a relatively small group of people, but the regulation being pushed by the Obama Administration would be a very large issue to a very large number of people: one out of every six Americans receives at least some care from a Catholic health care institution every year. If the Administration’s ruling is allowed to go forth, thousands upon thousands of Catholic hospitals and schools would be forced to either drop providing health care coverage completely, or would have to close their doors. What would the people of Lexington, Kentucky, a not-very-Catholic city, have to say if Saint Joseph’s Hospital was forced to close down due to a ruling from the Obama Administration?2

In 2004, the Democratic Party chose Senator John Kerry (D-MA) to be it’s presidential nominee. Senator Kerry, who claimed to be a Roman Catholic, was a consistent and persistent supporter of abortion, and though the Church did not officially oppose his election, more than one bishop noted that Mr Kerry ought to be barred from receiving the Eucharist due to his support for abortion. In the 2004 general election, President George Bush, a Methodist, beat Senator Kerry 52% to 47% among Catholic voters; Catholic voters comprised 27% of the electorate in that election. Catholics normally being a significant Democratic demographic, this was a real blow to the Kerry candidacy. In 2008, Catholics gave 52% of their votes to Senator Barack Obama (D-IL).

In the main, Catholic voters are more liberal than are Protestant Christians, and the Church places a heavy emphasis on issues which could be grouped under the “social justice” heading. The Church is very supportive of the social welfare system in the United States, and supported President Obama’s health care reform effort, though, as I noted here and here, the Democrats double-crossed the Church. However, the Church strongly holds to its pro-life and anti-contraception stances, and, as the closure of the Catholic Charities adoption agencies demonstrates, will not compromise on issues of faith. In Philadelphia, Catholics are already upset by the planned closure and consolidation of several parochial schools due to declining attendance; if the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced that all of the Catholic schools would have to close due to this regulation by the Obama Administration, Catholics would be outraged, and President Obama could easily lose Pennsylvania.

The Northeast is the most Catholic area of the country; it is also President Obama’s strongest region, and the Democrats have carried the Northeast for several election cycles. The President cannot afford to lose Northeastern states if he hopes to be re-elected. And all of the Republican presidential candidates have promised to rescind this proposed regulation on the day that one of them is inaugurated.
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13 Comments

  1. I’m surprised that any Catholic bishops have the moral courage to declare their opposition. The Church has been so infested with simpering and gliding mannequins of the Auxiliary bishop Thomas Mumblebutt type, that it seems inconceivable that a John Fisher sort would still exist.

    This is of course the very fight the left has been looking for, as they attempt to establish the totalizing social solidarity pseudo-religion of the hive in public law.

    The Catholic Church, just like all other so-called private civil society institutions, stands in the way of the progressive’s totalitarian social management project.

    The Church does so by offering and supporting viable and voluntary alternative lifeways to those the bureaucrat class designs according to its sensibilities.

    These competing civil institutions must therefore be hollowed out so as to so be useless as alternatives which offer the political subject any option but to conform to the sensibilities and preferences of the social managers.

    The Catholic Church’s ability to offer a refuge from the relentless moral shaping program of the secular left, stands as an affront and an insult to the progressive. In fact any human exchange relationship that is not mediated by, approved, or in programmatic agreement with, the progressive value system realized as state power, cannot be allowed to stand. As the progressives well know, when responsible people freely choose, they largely choose not to subject themselves to the life managing and directing ways of the progressives.

    And without the compulsory inclusion of everyone, the progressive system, if thrown back upon the moral and economic resources of it’s planners and voluntary subjects, predictably suffers an entropy death much more quickly than it otherwise would.

    “Socialism is an all society program” It’s an invitation you may not refuse and are compelled not to ignore.

  2. DNW wrote:

    I’m surprised that any Catholic bishops have the moral courage to declare their opposition. The Church has been so infested with simpering and gliding mannequins of the Auxiliary bishop Thomas Mumblebutt type, that it seems inconceivable that a John Fisher sort would still exist.

    This is te one issue on which they really don’t have much room to cave: the Vatican has been very strong on these types of issues, both from Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. To not stand firm on this is to risk a problem from the Holy See.

    This is of course the very fight the left has been looking for, as they attempt to establish the totalizing social solidarity pseudo-religion of the hive in public law.

    We’ve seen this type of fight since King Henry II made his Chancellor and friend, Thomas a Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury. Though I have somewhat of a difficult time picturing President Obama musing, “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” this is really not the type of fight the President or the Democrats really want to pick. Unlike Henry, Mr Obama does not have lifetime tenure, and he could find the eight years he anticipates cut in half in just ten months. And while President Obama, even if he is re-elected, is term-limited to a maximum of two terms, the Democrats in Congress simply cannot afford to lose much of the Catholic vote in the Northeast; that would relegate them to permanent minority status, and they know it.

  3. “The shutting down of Catholic Charities adoption and foster-care agencies was a large issue to a relatively small group of people, but the regulation being pushed by the Obama Administration would be a very large issue to a very large number of people: one out of every six Americans receives at least some care from a Catholic health care institution every year. If the Administration’s ruling is allowed to go forth, thousands upon thousands of Catholic hospitals and schools would be forced to either drop providing health care coverage completely, or would have to close their doors. What would the people of Lexington, Kentucky, a not-very-Catholic city, have to say if Saint Joseph’s Hospital was forced to close down due to a ruling from the Obama Administration?”

    I think you overestimate the loyalty to the Vatican and to traditional Catholic doctrine of the institutional inhabitants of the Catholic “system”.

    Numbers of foundations built by orders that were once orthodox, are now managed by aging “career women” who only remained within the R.C. Church because inertia made the choice to operate within that framework more convenient and perhaps more ego fulfilling and fulfilling than switching careers to county welfare caseworker. I don’t offer this as a universal rule, but based upon some up close and personal experience with medical professionals who are very close to me and who have extensive experience working for or with Catholic hospital systems.

    I understand that there is a strong traditionalist movement among the laity in the R.C. Church. Unfortunately you are, in my opinion, somewhat in of the situation of the French infantrymen (who were not in fact cowards) facing the Germans: too much of the officer class is defeatist or even disloyal.

  4. Quin Hiller offers the following thoughts on Obama’s hostility to religion in general and Catholicism is particular. The following excerpt is from Hiller’s article of February 3, 2012 in the The American Spectator

    His Abominations Accelerate

    The Republican presidential campaign thus far has been so bizarre and, frankly, depressing, that some of us have failed to adequately cover worrisome developments on a number of other important fronts. By ineptness and, worse, by deliberate design, Barack Obama daily makes this nation weaker abroad, less free (and more authoritarian) at home, economically more feeble, and in the civic realm more bitterly divided than ever. Meanwhile, ominous developments crowd the world stage. In short, we’re in a big heap of trouble.

    The recent litany of Obama’s odiousness begins with his growing, unambiguous war against traditional Christianity. He has now left no room for any pretense otherwise to be believed. Right on the heels of a unanimous Supreme Court, including his own two appointees, smacking down his administration’s attempt to kill the “ministerial exemption” for employment practices of faith-based institutions, an unchastened Obama has decided that even faith-based organizations must provide insurance that covers contraception — even including abortifacients.

    This is not just a narrow policy disagreement; it is, as Bishop David A. Zubik of Pittsburgh wrote, the president’s way of saying “To Hell With You” to people of faith — “To hell with your religious beliefs. To hell with your religious liberty. To hell with your freedom of conscience.” Zubik continued: “This is government by fiat that attacks the rights of everyone — not only Catholics; not only people of all religion. At no other time in memory or history has there been such a governmental intrusion on freedom not only with regard to religion, but even across-the-board with all citizens.”

    Obama’s broadsides, plural, against religious liberty are only a part of his radical transgressions against the U.S. Constitution. Conservatives are rightly up in arms about Obama’s illegal recess appointments. Obamacare, of course, contains several anti-Constitutional abominations, including the “individual mandate” and the Independent Payment Advisory Board. Meanwhile, his administration is flagrantly violating precedent by trying to force explicit hiring quotas on the Fire Department of New York, in a case in which a key amicus brief was filed on January 24 at the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

    And so on…

    [Comment edited to add hyperlink; no changes made in text. -- Editor]

  5. DNW wrote:

    I think you overestimate the loyalty to the Vatican and to traditional Catholic doctrine of the institutional inhabitants of the Catholic “system”.

    Perhaps so, but I do not underestimate the desire of the bishops not to urinate off the Pope and the Curia. None of them wants to be the first bishop fired for surrendering on this issue.

  6. Editor says:
    February 3, 2012 at 12:20

    DNW wrote:

    ‘I think you overestimate the loyalty to the Vatican and to traditional Catholic doctrine of the institutional inhabitants of the Catholic “system”.’

    Perhaps so, but I do not underestimate the desire of the bishops not to urinate off the Pope and the Curia. None of them wants to be the first bishop fired for surrendering on this issue.

    I suppose. After all, in practical terms what’s an unfaithful 54 year old ex-prelate with soft hands and no skills apart from office politics to do for a living, once discharged? Become a librarian? Is the Jesus Seminar doing any hiring? Maybe such a person could become a stipendiary at AlGore’s Current TV, which seems with the addition to its roster of Jennifer Granholm the former and failed governor of Michigan, to be developing into an institution of refuge for that type.

  7. Hoagie says:
    February 3, 2012 at 12:49

    DNW, are you implying that Current TV is the last refuge for these scoundrels?”

    I can’t think of a better waste of AlGore’s market manipulative gains than his spending it trying to prove that others of his kind can attract paying customers who have a choice.

    Air America anyone?

  8. Pingback: President Obama and the Catholic vote, Part 2 « THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL.

  9. http://conservativebyte.com/2012/02/catholic-church-ups-ante-against-obama-threatens-fighting-in-the-streets/

    Catholic Church Ups Ante Against Obama…Threatens Fighting in the Streets
    Posted on February 7, 2012 by Conservative Byte

    Catholic leaders upped the ante Monday, threatening to challenge the Obama administration over a provision of the new health care law that would require all employers, including religious institutions, to pay for birth control.

    Catholic leaders are furious and determined to harness the voting power of the nation’s 70 million Catholic voters to stop a provision of President Barack Obama’s new heath car reform bill that will force Catholic schools, hospitals and charities to buy birth control pills, abortion-producing drugs and sterilization coverage for their employees.

    “Never before, unprecedented in American history, for the federal government to line up against the Roman Catholic Church,” said Catholic League head Bill Donohue.

    “This is going to be fought out with lawsuits, with court decisions, and, dare I say it, maybe even in the streets,” Donohue said.

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