WASHINGTON – A month from now, the Supreme Court will try to unravel one of the cruelest, most radical and unnecessary invasions of the Constitution ever visited by a president on his people.
The court will hear the Obama administration’s defense of its order that all employers, regardless of their religious objections, pay for health insurance that provides contraception, medicines that can cause an abortion and sterilization.
In a narrow sense, the case deals with whether for-profit employers are protected by the Constitution’s establishment clauses against the government making them buy health insurance that violates their religious principles.
The case, to be heard March 25, was brought by the nationwide crafts retailer, Hobby Lobby, owned by a family of Evangelical Christians. But the court ruling expected in June may be a bellwether for whether Catholic and other religious institutions – hospitals and nursing homes – must pay for this insurance.
The First Amendment’s language on freedom of religion could not be more clear: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” This clause, giving religious groups protection against the government, has distinguished us from almost every other culture on earth: Germany, Japan, Russia and Great Britain, certainly; Mexico, even Canada.
Yet President Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius have pursued the contraception mandate against our churches with almost diabolical determination.
Back in 2012, Obama and Sebelius permitted almost 800 businesses and labor unions to be exempt from coverage by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Last summer, it was learned they wrote regulations that exempted certain congressional employees and allowed subsidies, even for the best paid on the Hill, if they had to buy into Obamacare.
Aside from the president’s own broken promise to let Americans keep their own insurance and their own doctors, Obama and Sebelius have twice in seven months delayed the rule requiring coverage by private companies employing between 50 and 99 people. One Fox News analyst noted the administration has put off imposing one Obamacare rule or another 28 times. But not the contraception mandate on religious organizations.
Obama and Sebelius have in their sights the Catholic University of America, and ironically, Notre Dame University. Ironic, because Notre Dame awarded an honorary degree in 2009 to the most prominent pro-choice president in history. Now humiliated, Notre Dame is spinning like a top trying to deal with the contraception mandate – once supporting it, then indignantly opposing it and now, facing administration penalties, struggling to accommodate it.
The Obama state has even driven the Little Sisters of the Poor scurrying to the Supreme Court twice in recent months for protection. The regime has offered these habited nuns the choice of either violating their vows or facing financial ruin because of Obama’s schedule of heavy fines on those who in conscience cannot obey him. In communities where they work, these nuns, who run nursing homes for those in their last months of life, are often seen begging at the back doors of Catholic churches after Mass. They operate some of the best nursing homes in the country.
The relentless pursuers of the Little Sisters and their kind have no shame. They wouldn’t stop until the court told the government to back off until the Little Sisters’ case – one of nearly 80 – is decided.
So a question: To paraphrase 19th century poet James Whitcomb Riley, if a president quacks like an extremist, swims like an extremist, walks like an extremist and behaves like an extremist, what is he?