I have long held the position that statists wish to supplant the church and its influence in the lives of people with its own authority, and to do so, the institutional left seeks to displace religion from the lives of Americans because this will enable them to pour government into the vacuum. The latest controversy over the Obamacare mandates on religious institutions to provide contraception coverage in their health care insurance policies was thought to be just another ill-considered political decision from which the Obama administration would ultimately retreat. That retreat has been only rhetorical as Obama’s dictatorial policy remains in place. This isn’t political ineptitude, but statists’ calculations: The Obama administration knows that this attack on the Catholic church and Christianity generally will result in the wholesale elimination of religiously-oriented institutions. That’s what they’re after, and that’s what they’ll get, as the seek to push people even further from religion in order to make more room for the growth of an aggressive and overpowering state.
Hot Air posted an article on this, and I think it should give us pause, because it speaks to the motivations of those who are forcing these policies upon religious institutions, and what their real goal might be. They aren’t worried that the Catholic charities, hospitals, and schools(including universities) will perhaps cease to operate, due to matters of conscience because they fully expect them to do so. Francis Cardinal George of the archdiocese of Chicago sent a message to parishioners and its contents demonstrate the point:
“Two Lents from now,” Cardinal George warned, “unless something changes, the page [listing Catholic organizations] will be blank.”
The Cardinal didn’t stop there. He went on to describe the choices with which the church will be confronted:
- Secularize itself, breaking its connection to the church, her moral and social teachings and the oversight of its ministry by the local bishop. This is a form of theft. It means the church will not be permitted to have an institutional voice in public life.
- Pay exorbitant annual fines to avoid paying for insurance policies that cover abortifacient drugs, artificial contraception and sterilization. This is not economically sustainable.
- Sell the institution to a non-Catholic group or to a local government.
- Close down.
This is telling, and you can already see the hand-writing on the wall. The Catholic church will not be able to take steps 1 or 2, so they will instead be compelled to follow steps 3 or 4. What will that accomplish? Simply put, it will demolish their employees, their institutions, and will further serve to separate Catholics from their church. This is not accidental, but instead a long-sought goal of the institutional left that has been seeking to drive all religion out of our society. This move will force a retreat of the church into the physical buildings that bear the same description.
The truth is that the church, any church, is not a matter of buildings. It is as large and widespread as its adherents, and this is the secret to what the Obama administration and his thugs of the left are really after: They will confine the church to church grounds, but force the church out of the public sphere altogether. Whether you’re a Catholic, or a member of any other faith, you’ve just been served notice that your church is no longer welcome in the public square except on conditions to be established, enforced, and dictated by government.
Of course, Cardinal George is well aware of this fact, and it’s with sadness I report to you his conclusion from his letter to his parishioners, and if you are a person of faith, you had better pay attention, because whether you are a Catholic or not, he’s speaking to you. All of you:
“The provision of health care should not demand “giving up” religious liberty. Liberty of religion is more than freedom of worship. Freedom of worship was guaranteed in the Constitution of the former Soviet Union. You could go to church, if you could find one. The church, however, could do nothing except conduct religious rites in places of worship-no schools, religious publications, health care institutions, organized charity, ministry for justice and the works of mercy that flow naturally from a living faith. All of these were co-opted by the government. We fought a long cold war to defeat that vision of society.”
“The strangest accusation in this manipulated public discussion has the bishops not respecting the separation between church and state. The bishops would love to have the separation between church and state we thought we enjoyed just a few months ago, when we were free to run Catholic institutions in conformity with the demands of the Catholic faith, when the government couldn’t tell us which of our ministries are Catholic and which not, when the law protected rather than crushed conscience. The state is making itself into a church. The bishops didn’t begin this dismaying conflict nor choose its timing. We would love to have it ended as quickly as possible. It’s up to the government to stop the attack.”(emphasis added)
When you consider what the Cardinal is saying, its importance must not be ignored. He’s issuing you a warning, but he’s also telling you the resolution. The government is doing this. Who runs the government? You do. You have it in your power to stop this. You can stop this in November. You can stop this by refusing. You can. You can stop this with a vote. If you’re not Catholic, you’re not exempt from any of this, or the effect it will have on your church, mosque, synagogue or temple. There are no exemptions, because if the Obama administration can successfully drive the Catholic church out, by the far the single largest religious institution in the country, with as many as one in six hospital beds in the country under its umbrella, what will your relatively less influential institution of faith do in response? How will you hold back the government?
Here in the Bible belt of Texas, there are relatively fewer Catholics, but there is a vast diversity of small churches with tiny congregations that are all under threat by this move against religion. As people of faith, you had better understand that this isn’t a war on the Catholic church isn’t due to an anti-Catholic bias, but instead a war on all religion as an obstacle to the supremacy of the state. The institutional left isn’t out to slap the Catholic church in a political move for the sake of some radical, loud-mouthed supporters as has been supposed. They are taking steps to chase churches out of the public square, the private sphere, and eventually out of existence. This is the purpose, and if you blind yourself with the faulty notion that this is about Catholics, or about contraception, you’re setting yourself up for slavery, because whereas churches must solicit donations from you to support their various social causes, the government will instead only demand payment at gunpoint. There will be no choice, and there will be no conscience but that which they dictate it to be.