In late February, Archbishop Francis Cardinal George summarized the choices President Obama’s contraceptives mandate presents to Catholic service organizations—and by extension, to all faith-based service organizations. Under the existing Health and Human Services regulations (which remain unchanged, despite Obama’s promised “accommodation”—an adjustment that only pushes the contraceptives-for-free mandate onto faith-based insurance organizations like GuideStone Financial Services, anyway), the choices are these:
- abandon church teachings and oversight, or
- pay annual fines that are “not economically sustainable” [which is the point of the fines—to coerce the organization into contravening its own conscious and religious teachings], or
- sell their hospitals and charities to non-Catholic groups and local governments, or
- “close down.”
Thus, Obama’s “decisions about medical care should be made by a woman and her doctor, not a woman and her boss,” thesis, often expressed through his Press Secretary, Jay Carney, doesn’t apply where it contradicts Boss Government’s demands.
But this is the position of the present administration. Jim Towey, President of Ave Maria University, which is suing the government over Obama’s contraception mandate, describes that position this way:
Democratic and Republican presidents alike—nobody would cross this line until now. There was always respect for conscience rights, and the fact that maybe government didn’t have the only voice on moral issues like this.
And that’s what it’s come to. The present administration is presuming to inject the Federal government into fundamental matters of conscience, of morality. That same administration, an administration of moral equivalence, is insisting that its version of morality is more equivalent than others’, and it seeks to impose its version on all of us. Not by conversation, or debate, or the President’s bully pulpit—all of which would be legitimate venues for discourse and persuasion—but by Federal fiat.
Where’s the morality in that?