The Culture Wars Are Back

by Kathryn Jean Lopez

There probably isn’t a single chattering-class show that hasn’t made that observation in recent days. But what is frequently overlooked is the fact that the Obama administration forced this debate over birth control — though it hoped that its HHS mandate would fly under the radar. Now, it wants everyone to believe that Republican men are trying to ban birth control in America. That’s just not the case.

This mandate is pernicious, and it shows us the long, dangerous road that mandates — and the health-care bill — have set us on. Although it wasn’t clear what the bill would entail when it was passed, now we’re getting the picture. 

You don’t have to be a Catholic with twelve children — or celibate — to be alarmed. This controversy does have to do with culture, but American culture, not your bedroom. Is the federal government mandate-happy? What is the federal government doing designating pregnancy as a disease? Does the government exist to carve out exemptions for religious liberty? We should recognize that this is a transformational moment. And not just because Rick Santorum or some bishops — or some women even — happen to believe certain things about sexual morality. Surely we have that right, don’t we?

Internationally, this administration has been arguing for freedom of worship instead of freedom of religion. That’s not just semantics. Carl Bernstein said the other day on Morning Joe that Rick Santorum’s has “unacceptable” views. And the Obama administration is using the regulatory mechanisms of the federal government to suppress and marginalize those views. That’s tyranny. You can call what we’re in a culture war if you want, but you should know what it’s really about. It’s not about sex; it’s about tyranny.