Seemingly emboldened by the support he received after skipping a trip to the White House a few weeks ago, Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas has put himself in the middle of another political fight with the Obama administration, this time expressing his support for the Roman Catholic institutions that are resisting the federal government’s attempt to force them to include coverage for contraception in health plans for their employees.
“I Stand with the Catholics in the fight for Religious Freedom,” wrote Thomas on his Facebook page earlier today before quoting from “First They Came,” a poem by Martin Niemöller, a German Protestant minister who regretted his failure to resist the Nazis before they came to power in the 1930s.
“In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew,” wrote Thomas. “Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.”
The statement by Thomas can only be seen as a thinly veiled attempt to criticize the decision by the Obama administration to require Catholic institutions — including universities and hospitals — to provide coverage for contraception in their health insurance plans. Since the January 20 announcement of the mandate by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the nation’s Catholic bishops have been rallying their flocks in opposition.
Ever since missing the White House ceremony honoring the Bruins for winning the Stanley Cup, Thomas has taken to Facebook often to thank his supporters. “I just wanted to say thankyou [sic] to everyone for all the support I’ve received from the people that really matter,” wrote Thomas on January 27. Since then, he’s regularly posted famous quotes on dissent by figures like John Kennedy, John Adams and Ben Franklin.
He has also approvingly quoted GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul.
Eric McErlain blogs at Off Wing Opinion, a Forbes “Best of the Web” winner. In 2006 he wrote a “bloggers bill of rights” to help integrate bloggers into the Washington Capitals’ press box. Eric has also written for Deadspin, NBC Sports and the Sporting News, and covers sports television for The TV News. Follow Eric on Twitter.