‘If you like your religion, you can keep your religion’...unless you’re Catholic nuns
Jan. 28, 2014 (Mercatornet) - As we all know now, when President Obama repeatedly preached the tenet, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan,” what he really meant was that you could keep your insurance, not if you liked it, but if he liked it. Since then thousands of Americans have discovered that the insurance they liked did not meet Obamacare standards and so they got dumped from their plans and redirected toward the glitchy and hackable government website to choose president-approved healthcare.
When religious organizations, including the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops as well as Protestant and Jewish leaders, read the HHS mandate which forces insurance plans to offer contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs, they clearly explained that this was in direct opposition to their faith.
To appease the faith-based-community organizers, Obama promised a future “accommodation” giving himself cover to claim in effect: "If you like your religion, you can keep your religion." As we all know now, what he really meant was that you can keep your pre-existing religion if he likes it. For example, several large companies and unions received waivers from the Affordable Care Act because the Obama administration believes in their cause, or something.
But not the Little Sisters of the Poor.
Not only did Team Obama refuse to grant them a waiver, the nuns are also not considered religious enough to receive a religious exemption because they have the audacity to serve non-Catholics. That’s right. A non-profit organization of chaste nuns who care for the indigent and elderly in nursing homes are not religious enough for an exemption to the contraception mandate because they don’t turn away patients based on religion.
This is a wee bit hypocritical coming from a president who criticized Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland for their segregation:
“If Catholics have their schools and buildings, and Protestants have theirs … that encourages division. It discourages cooperation.”
Since the Little Sisters encourage cooperation by caring for people of other faiths, the Obama administration is forcing them to sign a permission slip authorizing a third party to provide abortifacients, sterilization and contraception on their behalf, or else face exorbitant fines. In other words, they must deny their faith to comply with Obamacare.
Because their insurance is currently under a “church plan,” their employees will not receive “free contraception" anyway. Therefore, the government argues this is a non-issue.
But the nuns aren’t buying it. (Neither has every single bishop in America.) If the permission slip is so ineffectual, then why is this administration forcing the Little Sisters to sign it? Surely we can forgive the sisters for being sceptical. After all, a majority of Americans now believe President Obama is not “honest and trustworthy.”
Represented by the Becket Fund, (which has filed 71 other lawsuits against the HHS Mandate) the Little Sisters appealed the decision, but the clock was running out; the nun-crunching fines were due to begin on the first of the year. To gain time, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued an emergency stay on December 31.
In response, U.S. News & World Report columnist Jamie Stiehm posted an anti-Catholic tirade in which she ousted Sotomayor from the Sisterhood of Traveling Rants because she’s too Catholic. This is the Stiehm spin:
“The Supreme Court is now best understood as the Extreme Court. One big reason why is that six out of nine Justices are Catholic. Let's be forthright about that. (The other three are Jewish.)”
If we’re moving to government-run religion, perhaps Stiehm would prefer that the court be comprised of members of the church that President Obama attended for 20 years, Trinity United Church of Christ, where former pastor Rev. Wright (famous for his “God damn America” sermon) married the Obamas, baptized their daughters, and was credited by Obama himself for the title of his book, The Audacity of Hope. The same church that posts this on its website:
“We are a congregation which is Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian... We constantly affirm our trust in God through cultural expression of a Black worship service and ministries which address the Black Community.”
I bet Trinity United Church of Christ’s nursing homes aren’t threatened with government fines. Oh, wait. What nursing homes?
“In a stay order applying to an appeal by a Colorado nunnery, the Little Sisters of the Poor, Justice Sotomayor undermined the new Affordable Care Act's sensible policy on contraception. She blocked the most simple of rules – lenient rules – that required the Little Sisters to affirm their religious beliefs against making contraception available to its members. They objected to filling out a one-page form. What could be easier than nuns claiming they don't believe in contraception?”
What could be easier than governments that don’t force nuns to violate their religious beliefs? What could be more lenient than leaving nuns alone so they can continue to care for the sick?
Perhaps Stiehm didn’t read page two of the one-page form? The part where the employer authorizes a third party to cover sterilization and abortion drugs on its behalf:
“the provision of this certification to a third party administrator for the plan that will process claims for contraceptive coverage required under 26 CFR 54.9815-2713(a)(1)(iv) …This certification is an instrument under which the plan is operated.” [Emphasis added]
Much more than the redistribution of wealth, this is the redistribution of sin. More than a takeover of one-sixth of the economy, this is government taking over religion.
If Big Brother can force the Little Sisters to authorize abortion-drugs in violation of their faith, what’s next? In the future will the government fine Muslim organizations for refusing to pay for gender reassignment surgery? Or Jews for declining funds for euthanasia? Mormons who won’t cover sterilization?
On Friday, the rest of the Supreme Court agreed with Sotomayor that the Little Sisters do not need to comply with the HHS Mandate while litigation continues. Although this isn't their final word on the matter, it certainly is a decision in favour of religious freedom. You know what that means. To avoid inequality of anger, Stiehm must redistribute her animus among the rest of the justices. For those who like to keep track, like Stiehm, that leaves five Catholics, three Jews, and zero from Reverend Wright's church.
Regarding the low number of enrolments, President of Health Policy and Strategy Associates Robert Laszewski explained that, “The problem with Obamacare is it’s product driven and not market driven.”
Democrats are in such a frenzy to deliver their products for child-free sex that they are willing to do so at the expense of dozens of nursing homes run by the Little Sisters of the Poor as well as several other businesses and non-profits, including universities. Contraception for Sandra Fluke’s friends is more important than freedom of religion.
Condoms are cheap. Faith is priceless.
If you want contraception, you have a plethora of choices. You can hop down to your local pharmacy and get yourself some inexpensive condoms. Or go online to get a pack of 100 (!) for less than $15. Or, if this is for your teenagers, check out your local Planned Parenthood; they have so many extra funds that some of them pass out condoms for free: "All of our health centers offer free condoms to teens. Drop in any time during clinic hours, and you can pick up a dozen free condoms at the counter – no waiting!" In other words, Team Obama wants to force Little Sisters to pay for something that the charitable Planned Parenthood eagerly wants to give away for free.
If the government doesn’t provide you with tax-funded contraception, you still have many choices. But if the government doesn’t provide you with freedom of religion, there is no pharmacy, website, or Planned Parenthood clinic that can sell it to you at any price.
By outlawing Catholic nursing homes, President Obama has chosen lifeless sex and death to religious liberty over care for the elderly. His priorities are clear. In order to promote their sex products, the Obama administration has chosen to throw universities, Little Sisters, and nursing homes full of grannies over the cliff.
Kelly Bartlett has been practicing life, love, and marriage for decades, hoping to improve her game. She writes from Vermont. She blogs at Home Griddle, where this was originally posted.