I suspect the Obama Administration will try and back off their anti Catholic “free birth control” rule because it is very bad politics. But first, they will try to spin it as not anti religion. They will pretend it isn’t narrowly drawn. And that’s just what HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius attempted today in USA Today–and it’s a crock. From “Contraception Rule Respects Religion:”
The public health case for making sure insurance covers contraception is clear. But we also recognize that many religious organizations have deeply held beliefs opposing the use of birth control. That’s why in the rule we put forward, we specifically carved out from the policy religious organizations that primarily employ people of their own faith. This exemption includes churches and other houses of worship, and could also include other church-affiliated organizations.
What, she thinks people can’t read? Does she believe mendacity by omission isn’t still mendacity?
First, there are four criteria, all of which must be met to qualify for exemption, not just “employ people of their own faith,” including the requirement that the organization primarily “serve” people of its own faith:
1. The “inculcation of religious values” is “its purpose.”
2. It “primarily employs persons who share its religious tenets.”
3. “It primarily serves persons who share its religious tenets.”
4. It is a non-profit organization under sections of the code that “refer to churches, their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations, as well as to the exclusively religious activities of any religious order.”
Moreover, the Preliminary Rule, unchanged in the Final Rule, explicitly states that it protects “houses of worship:”
Specifically, the Departments seek to provide for a religious accommodation that respects the unique relationship between a house of worship and its employees in ministerial positions.
Thus, most Catholic organizations will be forced to provide free birth control, sterilization, and abortifacient coverage even though it is a direct violation of faith. This includes, hospitals, elementary and high schools (can you imagine the howling if these schools refused to admit non Catholic kids?) universities, Catholic Charities, nursing homes–even Mother Teresa’s Sisters of Mercy hospices. (Again, can you imagine the Sisters refusing to care for non Catholics?)
And don’t forget this gem from Sebelius’s announcement; forced speech by exempt organizations that violate their faith:
We intend to require employers that do not offer coverage of contraceptive services to provide notice to employees, which will also state that contraceptive services are available at sites such as community health centers, public clinics, and hospitals with income-based support.
Mendacity won’t protect us from noticing the bigotry of this Administration against Catholic (in particular) faith. Reread my NRO piece, “Free Birth Control vs. Freedom of Religion.
Oh, and don’t forget, the Obama Adm. refused to renew an anti sex trafficking federal grant to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops because it won’t distribute “reproductive” services that violate the Catholic faith–despite an exemplary record of success in the field. Less egregious, because he who provides the money has a legitimate claim to be able to make the rules, but significant nonetheless about its priorities. At some point, one-plus-one equals two.