The Corner

What Would Dagger John Do? Part IV

So now the battle over the contraception mandate is well and truly joined, as the naked fist of federal power comes down on the Little Sisters of the Poor and others: 

The Obama administration on Friday asked the Supreme Court not to exempt Catholic groups from an ObamaCare requirement to offer contraceptive coverage, after the high court gave them a temporary reprieve earlier this week. 

The court filing comes in response to a surprise order — issued shortly before coverage under the law went into effect — by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. The justice issued a stay late Tuesday preventing the government from enforcing the so-called contraceptive mandate against the Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged. 

The group of Catholic nuns argues that the contraceptive coverage requirement violates their religious beliefs. To get around the mandate, they claim they’d have to sign a “permission slip” authorizing others to provide contraceptives and “abortion drugs” — or pay a fine. 

But the Justice Department, responding just before the Friday morning deadline, reiterated its argument that the group has no foundation for its case. The administration says religious nonprofit groups such of this one can certify that they don’t want to provide contraceptive coverage. In that case, it would be up to a third-party administrator to decide whether to provide it. 

David French takes apart the typical mendacity of the Justice Department’s position here. But reason is unlikely to work with these ideologues; the entire mission of the Obama administration’s second term is to force submission to its “progressive” whims, whether through executive orders, congressional impotence, fiat, or the justice system. It’s never enough for people like them to win — the losers must also bow on bended knee and embrace what they fought so bitterly. It’s the only way the Left can ever really feel good about itself and the havoc it wreaks.

So I’ll tell you what Dagger John would do. (For more on Dagger John Hughes, please consult the first three articles in this series here, here, and here.) He would simply refuse to comply no matter how the courts rule, announce that no Catholic institution will either obey the mandate or pay the fines, stand on the steps of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and dare Eric Holder to arrest him in front of every TV camera in New York City. As I wrote earlier:

“Conscientious objectors” and “civil disobedience” were all the rage on the left during the Vietnam War and the draft,” and it’s high time we tried the same tactic on them: Catholic institutions should simply ignore the law, refuse to implement it, and refuse to pay the Obamacare fines — and dare the Left utter a peep about “higher morality.” There are 77 million Catholics in the U.S., and an awful lot of them vote.

In other words, Archbishop Dolan and his confreres ought to ask themselves, What Would Dagger John Do? No need for mobs this time, just morals. But if they’re not going to vigorously defend their own faith, in a Church Militant sort of way, who will? 

Alas, from Dolan — whose performance on Meet the Press in November was entirely disheartening – I expect nothing

The Catholic Church could have been one of Obamacare’s “biggest cheerleaders” if not for some of its mandates involving contraception, New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan said Friday…

“We’ve been asking for reform in healthcare for a long time.  So we were kind of an early supporter in this,” Dolan said in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” set to air on Sunday. “Where we started bristling and saying, ‘Uh-oh, first of all this isn’t comprehensive, because it’s excluding the undocumented immigrant and it’s excluding the unborn baby,’ so we began to bristle at that . . .”

“So that’s when we began to worry and draw back and say, ‘Mr. President, please, you’re really kind of pushing aside some of your greatest supporters here.  We want to be with you, we want to be strong.  And if you keep doing this, we’re not going to be able to be one of your cheerleaders,’” Dolan explained. “And that sadly is what happened.”

Maybe it’s time to stop bristling and start resisting, your Eminence. 

Michael Walsh — Mr. Walsh is the author of the novels Hostile Intent and Early Warning and, writing as frequent NRO contributor David Kahane, Rules for Radical Conservatives.


The Latest