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Big Brother vs. The Little Sisters of the Poor

In response to Obama Admin Urges Supreme Court To Reject Contraception Mandate Exemption For Catholic Nuns:

I can’t say any of this is surprising.  There are matters of political perception at stake here, and Obama’s swarm of bureaucratic munchkins is much less worried about alienating a small order of nuns, and the people who will grow angry on their behalf, than about the hit to their image of power and mastery that would come from Big Brother taking a knee before the Little Sisters.  

This is all going to end up in the Supreme Court, and right now ObamaCare’s “optics” are about as bad as they could get, short of Healthcare.gov randomly causing users to burst into flames.  Pushing around a lovable band of dedicated nuns who minister to the elderly is nothing compared to the public-relations issues Obama already has, particularly with people of faith.  If they didn’t push back hard against the Little Sisters of the Poor, however, they would irritate the secular Big Government congregation already in their hip pockets, and that’s not something they regard as affordable.  Better to put all the marbles on a Supreme Court judgment they might win, and if they lose, they can solemnly declare their undying fealty to the Court – the only other part of government the Obama Administration pretends to respect – and say the matter is out of their hands.

There is much significance to these religious challenges to the ObamaCare mandates.  It’s all about determining whether anything lies beyond, or above, the almighty central State.  The Constitution doesn’t really matter any more.  The legislature is becoming a rubber stamp for a single elected dictator, at least when the dictator has the right Party credentials.  States’ rights?  Don’t make me laugh.  But here’s a real challenge to the power of Obama’s government singularity, which at least demands the power to decide whose religious conscience is valid.  They want the power to grant bona fides for conscientious objectors, and they want to make it clear that even duly State-certified religious operations still participate in the system, by filling out the paperwork which our plucky Little Sisters insist is still offensive to their principles.  There will still be a government-designated box to hold the Little Sisters, and they are required to stand in it.

Some critics of these religious lawsuits say it’s silly for the Little Sisters and other plaintiffs to turn up their noses at the reasonable accommodation the commisars have provided for them.  Why make such a big deal about singing some papers?  But those papers are at least as important to the commissars, aren’t they?  The nuns clearly aren’t the only ones who find great significance in the act of compliance demanded from them.

Everything inside the State; nothing outside the State.  Never mind who originally made that dictum famous; Obama clearly believes it, with a fervor that approaches religious devotion.  No development is dire enough to shake his faith in the importance of dominant government action in every square inch of our lives, even the parts government is willing to designate as limited, controlled, carefully-defined Exercise of Freedom Zones… provided we make the appropriate gestures of bureaucratic submission.  

The only thing the masters of The Village said they wanted from The Prisoner was the reason he quit his job, and no matter how trifling a matter they made it out to be… no matter how extravagantly they made him pay for what they called a meaningless act of resistance… he never gave it to them.  The Little Sisters of the Poor are required only to sign off on some papers that formally relieve them of bureaucratic responsibility for something they believe is wrong.  (You can learn more about the mission they’d like to get back to performing here.)

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