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Mar 08th
Home Sections Politics Politics and Religion and the Catholic Church
Politics and Religion and the Catholic Church PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Gerry Garrison   
Sunday, 12 February 2012 19:34



In This Corner

By Gerry Garrison


My dear readers, President Obama has finally made one of the worst mistakes of his Administration. What is that, you ask? Lie to Cardinal-designate Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, and violate the First Amendment’s right of the freedom of religion?  Mr. President, when you step in it, you really step in it.


First of all, Archbishop Dolan was told by President Obama in December, if there were any health-care mandates that would go against the teachings of Catholic Church, he would work out with the Rev. Dolan to exempt religious organizations from any policy that would violate their religious beliefs. Then just before President Obama made this current mandate public, he called the archbishop and told him he was going to require religious medical institutions cover sterilization, “morning after” pills, and contraceptives.


This week, the archbishop came out and called the President a liar.  Pretty harsh words from this cardinal-designate. The archbishop had no choice, since President Obama lied to his face, while stabbing him the back.


After several days of being lambasted by various religious groups, members of congress, including some in his own party and many in the press, President Obama finally back down and reversed course on his birth-control mandate pushing the requirement that all hospitals and clinics, including those run by the Catholic Church and other religious organizations.


However, it may be too little too late. The first amendment of the Constitution, “...prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, (or) impeding the free exercise of religion…”  He violated one of the country’s basic rights by signing into law a directive requiring religious organizations to pay for health insurance covering sterilization, “morning after” pills and contraceptives.


The Catholic Church and many other religious organizations find abortion, sterilization and contraceptives morally wrong.   Regardless what many women do or don’t do concerning abortion, using contraceptives, the “morning after” pill, etc., the federal government has not right to impose any law that violates canon laws of any religious organization.


His pitiful Secretary of Human and Health Service, Kathleen Sebelius, former governor of Kansas and outright supporter of all types of abortion, made the weak attempt defending this mandate saying this administration was making an attempt to “balance religious freedom while providing women with critical birth control”.


Really? Who’s kidding who here? This is nothing but contempt of America’s religious freedoms, while tearing down the fabric of our Constitution - the very source of this country’s freedom and democracy. This issue has little or nothing to do with women’s rights and everything to do with an attempt to direct our religious organizations how to run their health care institutions.


Many members of President Obama’s party, in and out of Congress, were also upset, many calling it wrong headed.  Members of Congress rallied around the Speaker of the House and Senator Marco Rubio’s (R-FLA) legislative bill that would overturn President Obama’s mandate with a Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 2012.


Even the military was affected. When Archbishop Timothy Broglio sent a message to all Catholic military chaplains to denounce this health-care law, as well as speak out against contraception, Army officials instructed these chaplains not the read this letter. This is violation of freedom of speech. Many chaplains distributed this letter to their parishioners, rather than read it, in order not to violate a military directive.


A fter all the negative coverage, along with numerous letters and e-mails to the White House, the President had a change of mind. With Secretary Sebelius at his side, he told the American people he was making “adjustments” to this mandate.


The new change allows religious organizations to deny coverage of contraceptive care. But it still requires insurers to offer a plan that does not include contraceptive care in their contracts with nonprofit religious groups. 


 However, the problem is that insurers would be required to make contraception available free of charge to women anyway. The money to pay for this comes out of those who pay the insurance by higher premiums to cover this giveaway.


As far as I am concerned, nothing has changed. This is nothing more than a bandage on an issue that still requires insurers (that provide health insurance to religious organizations) to necessitate them to provide this coverage. This is not going to go away until the President completely pulls away from any mandate requiring insurance carriers of any religious institution to provide these services, even if they are free.


Even the US Bishops’ Conference, along with other groups, is telling us President Obama didn’t go far enough.  They are demanding this mandate be rescinded in its entirety.


President Obama has yet to learn his lesson when it comes to dealing with religion in this country.  Perhaps he will when finds himself on the street January 20, 2013, when a new Republican President-elect is sworn into office. They are also urging Congress to pass legislation that would reverse this policy.


I could be wrong. Don’t’ think so … but what do I know? I am just a person who understands the Constitution, unlike our President … # # #

Life is short. Forgive quickly. Kiss slowly. Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that made you smile.


COTA for Cullen Steele




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