The decision to require Catholic hospitals to provide contraceptives and abortifacients they deem immoral in their insurance plans, demonstrates either President Obama’s personal antagonism to religious liberty — or the degree to which he is beholden to the secular left.
Because it makes no political sense.
Unlike some election-year decisions which are blatant attempts to “triangulate,” or transparent attempts to woo independents, the costs seem to outweigh the gains here. Since Ronald Reagan created a new voting bloc called, “Reagan Democrats,” Catholics have emerged as the most important swing voters in presidential politics. They vote in high numbers and populate swing states in disproportionately large numbers.
As a consequence, as the Catholic vote goes, so goes the nation.
This also comes at a curious time when Obama’s foreign policy credentials have been buttressed by the killing of bin Laden — and when the declining unemployment rate seems to minimize his vulnerability on the economy.
It’s almost as if — having won the war on bin Laden — and having perhaps turned the corner on the unemployment rate — Obama has now found time to reawaken culture wars.
Obama is too politically savvy to have been caught by surprise by the backlash over this decision, so I suppose we must assume this is his worldview: That government can and must use its coercive power to force everyone — regardless of their personal or religious beliefs — to do what they know is best. Period.
But make no mistake, the Catholic Church is outraged.
CatholicVote.org, for example, has reported that “over 80% of bishops who head dioceses have spoken out against the Obama/HHS mandate.” What is more, it is highly likely that other Christian conservatives will identify with the plight of Catholics.
As Michael Gerson averred, “the war on religion is now formally declared.”