March 19, 2012 (CatholicAnchor.org) - I am not sure if you’ve heard but the Obama administration has declared, after much study, that pork is better for you than beef. So the administration is implementing a nationwide law to have pork served regularly in all hospitals. Unfortunately this means both Jewish and Muslim hospitals will have to comply because many patients who eat there do not share that faith. And schools of both Jewish and Muslim faith will have to serve pork because some students who attend the institutions do not share their beliefs. There will be exemptions of course for Jewish synagogues and Muslim mosques that fall under the category of places for religious worship. But even some Muslim and Jewish centers will not be exempt — places which claim to be houses of worship but that do not meet that definition according to the government.
The call by the Obama Administration is clear — Let them eat pork.
The great news is that everyone is abiding by this new law because it is actually portrayed, not as an invasion of religious freedom, but as a fundamental right. Everyone has the right to have pork anywhere and anytime — for free.
A recent poll was taken both in the Jewish and Muslim community and surprisingly 85 percent support the feeding of pork to the masses. In fact there is talk among the faith communities that maybe through the inspiration and wisdom of this administration the long-held tradition of abstaining from pork will soon be seen for what it is — old fashioned and unenlightened. Thanks to this administration maybe finally these two ancient faiths will be brought into the real world of contemporary life where moral principles, faith norms and creeds of belief are best kept tucked away in weekly religious services and out of everyday life.
We thank this administration for being so enlightened and ready to help those of faith figure out what is best to believe and hold as true.
While this is not an actual story, many are aware that the Obama administration has issued a mandate that will require virtually all employers — including Catholic colleges and hospitals — to purchase health insurance plans that cover sterilization, contraception and abortion inducing drugs for their employees. All these procedures violate Catholic teaching regarding faith and morals.
Click “like” if you want to end abortion!
And the “compromise” presented on Feb. 10 by the president is deeply inadequate as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has clearly stated.
This whole controversy raises two important points. First, religious freedom is under attack. Second, a teaching of the Catholic Church is misunderstood and in need of a compelling explanation. This is a teachable moment in America.
The courts will likely decide the religious freedom question. But the bishops need to address the perception in the media of the church as an institution that is unwilling to move into the modern world and is against women and their rights.
In truth, the church is the proponent of the deepest freedom for men and women. The church’s teachings are not old fashioned but radically transforming — every human being is wanted and loved by God, marriage is sacred and life is eternal. Now is the time to teach the freedoms of the church and the vision for living the deepest and most human life possible.
The writer is pastor of the Church of the Nativity in Magadan, Russia. This article first appeared in the Catholic Anchor and is reprinted with permission.