In case you haven’t noticed, it’s all about contraception
Yes, she actually says, “Basically, we’re not looking to the Constitution…” Watch the video and hear it for yourself:
This should not come as a surprise. You see, the way the government has framed the issue all along is that this is about reproductive healthcare (i.e., contraception), not religious freedom. That’s why Katherine Sebelius did not consult any bishops before issuing the mandate. That’s why the government isn’t looking to the Constitution in this case.
In other words, here’s what they are saying: It’s about contraception, stupid!
The point they’ve been pushing, the point they’ve already made for many Americans who favor the mandate, is that this mandate is about your right to contraception and that no religious institution should deprive you of that right; we, the government, are here to insure that they don’t.
The government will continue issuing statements to this effect: It’s not about religious freedom. It’s about healthcare which obviously involves access to free contraception (small print: although we are forcing religious institutions to pay for the insurance coverage that will include free contraception, whether it violates their conscience or not).
Of course it is about religious freedom. It’s about religious freedom because it’s about contraception (and sterilization and abortifacient drugs), which we cannot pay for without violating our conscience.
Whether you are an early Christian in the Roman Empire being forced to bow to an idol of Caesar, or a Jew in the time of the Maccabees being forced to eat pork, or a 21st Century American Catholic being forced to pay for services that you consider intrinsically immoral, the violation of religious liberty always boils down to some specific action that violates the conscience.
I’ve heard too many people insist that this issue is not about contraception, as if it either has to be about religious freedom or about contraception, but not about both.
That’s a false distinction we cannot afford to make. If we continue to make it, we are playing into the administration’s hand, because this administration actually benefits more the more we continue talking past each other. It’s in their play book: make it look as if we zealots refuse to see their side of the issue because we are stuck on our own dogmatic beliefs.
According to a recent Rasmussen Poll, 39% of the American public favor the mandate even when specifically asked whether it makes a difference that it violates some people’s religious beliefs. 50% of those polled oppose the mandate and 11% are undecided.
That means that at least half the American public does not recognize the other side’s point. For a large percentage of Americans, it’s not a constitutional issue. Rather, it’s a healthcare issue. Religion should stay out of it.
No wonder the president thinks he can pull this one off. Who’s going to stop him?