The contraception mandate being enforced under ObamaCare has the Catholic Church under assault, not only by the Administration, but by critics in the media and around the blogosphere, who think the non-existent "right" to free contraception over--rules Catholic principles. Most of the criticism being leveled against the church is simply anti-Catholic bigotry, which has been making fun of the Catholic position on birth control as long as it’s been acceptable to say “condoms” in public. The difference is that now, the Constitutionally mandated independence of the Church is being questioned.
Archie Bunker once said, “Faith is something you believe, that no one in their right mind would believe.” Which is why our founders wrote a hands-off policy into the Constitution. It’s why we have a tradition of not charging taxes on religious organizations, so that churches never have to pay for activities they find abhorrent, like wars, death penalties, and Modern Art. It’s long been recognized that religion is a vital building block of American Culture, as well as one that cannot always be simply explained in legal, political or scientific terms.
As a comic (and a product of a Catholic elementary school) I’ve probably been guiltier than most of ridiculing Catholic traditions. It’s easy to mock principles you don’t really understand. Trusting the will of God in family planning seems as hypocritical as the bulletproof glass windows on the Pope-mobile. But underneath the surface, lies the important message of treating sex with more respect than a round of golf.
But it isn’t just the Catholic position on birth control that’s under attack here. Nor is it only the Catholics who are under assault. If this mandate is allowed to stand, the relationship between the Federal Government and Religion will be permanently altered.
If the Federal Government can overrule the laws of the Catholic Church, where does it stop? Can HHS decide that health codes prohibit bare feet in Mosques? Can the USDA require milk to be served with chicken nuggets, in the cafeterias of Jewish Schools? Can they pass labor laws requiring Mormon coffee breaks? Why not mandate psychotherapy for Scientologists? (I might be on board with that one.)
Already this Administration wants to force the Amish, whose religion only allows 18th century technology, to accept the 19thcentury process of Pasteurizaion. And Eric Holder’s Justice Department, who has been quite lax at finding crimes in the past, seems quite adept at prosecuting Milk-Runners.
This isn’t very different from making Catholics provide birth control. It is a fine example of the arrogance of government, where educated bureaucrats feel they need to make important decisions for the ignorant religious people. The Obama Administration believes they are smarter than all the silly primitives savages who worship a God who isn’t named Marx.
It’s not much different than the way the pilgrims looked at the quaint customs of the Native Americans when they first landed, before two winters of starvation, forced them to ask the locals how they grow food here.
Once the needs of the State take precedence over the laws of the church, there are no longer church laws. And without laws, the church structure crumbles like a stale communion wafer.
There I go again.