We don’t need no stinking Bishops! – UPDATE

I guess this is like “smart” diplomacy, right? If you need to affirm your special relationship with the United Kingdom you ship back the bust of Winston Churchill, and if you are having trouble with Catholic bishops, you go talk to…anybody but Catholic bishops.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says the Obama administration plans to issue a rule “in the near future” on its compromise plan on contraception coverage and is meeting with insurers, clergy and health leaders to get feedback on how to make it work.

“We’ve begun outreach. I have talked to Catholic health leaders, I’m reaching out to priests. We’re also talking to union leaders, we’re talking to our partners at labor who run the self-insured plans to figure out a strategy,” Sebelius told reporters at a conference in D.C. on Tuesday.

Okay, so that means they’re basically talking to Sr. Carol Keehan and, probably, some Jesuits. But they’re not talking to the bishops.

And, for some reason, they’re talking to self-insuring unionistas who — as Thomas Peters notes, “have had their self-insured plans exempted form Obamacare’s mandates through special favors and waivers, at the same time as a huge number of Catholic dioceses and employers who also self-insure are required to follow the mandate” — but they’re not talking to the bishops.

Amazing. I wonder how much longer the charade goes on. We’ve known since early 2009 that the concept of conscience means nothing to this president who is much more interested in asserting power, sidestepping the constitution and acquiring more power.

This thing has been a game from the start, one put in play last November when Mrs. Pelosi let slip about “this conscience thing” that Catholics bother the government with. It’s a game, but it’s one they want to win, and one we can’t afford to lose.

And this is why they’re not interested in talking to the Bishops:

“Only in the post-mandate world might it be considered ‘liberal’ for the government to coerce people into violating their religious beliefs; to justify that coercion based on the minority status of those beliefs; to intrude into the internal affairs of religious organizations; to crush out religious diversity in the private sector; and to incentivize religious groups to serve fewer of the needy.”

Yeah, they don’t want to hear it. They just want to get enough names and bodies for the photo-op.

When they did the “doctors meet Obama in Rose Garden to support Obamacare” staging, the White House at least supplied the lab coats for the photo. I wonder if this time they’ll supply their endorsers with miters, surplices and pectoral crosses?

I’m just saying.

Meanwhile, prepare to see “freedom of religion” defined down to “freedom of worship”

UPDATE: Sr. Mary Ann Walsh writes:

The Administration’s intrusive decision about what does and does not constitute religious ministry should make every American pause. What falls after freedom of religion? Freedom of the press? Will Caesar tell you what you have to print or air?
[...]
The Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution makes freedom of religion the “First Freedom.” The Founding Fathers stressed that this freedom was sacred. George Washington in 1789 wrote to an annual meeting of Quakers that “The conscientious scruples of all men should be treated with great delicacy and tenderness and it is my wish and desire, that the laws may always be extremely accommodated to them.”

Certainly our government, wise as it is, can’t be expected (and shouldn’t purport) to know everything. It might well ease its burdens by leaving some things to the Almighty and rendering unto God the things that are God’s.

Sister Mary Ann is not out of line wondering about this administration and the future of the freedom of the press, and even the New York Times notes it

Related: Is Obamacare a contract killer?

More on that From Ed Morrissey

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  • Teresa

    I think it is too late for the razzle dazzle from Sebelius and Obama. We are on to the tricks. I really do think that they overstepped with this mandate judging from the number of lawsuits coming down the pike. They will not change the mandate unless they are forced to do so.

  • kevin

    The empty jargon, “outreach.”

    Glad to see a posting on this. I was afraid it would go off the radar what with Cardinal Dolan’s promotion and all. I would love to see the bishops put noncompliance back on the table, i.e., you impose this rule, we will not comply. Lawsuits will take forever to resolve.

  • kelleyb

    Evidently all the President needs to do is offer these catholics shiny new pens to garner their support. I suspect the pen manufacturer has received a very large order just for this purpose. How soon before we see the women “priests” and “bishops” trotted out for the Q&A and photo op? You know-’cause they are catholic too.

  • Linus

    Once you establish a dictatorship, and that is where we are headed, there is no protection for anyone-including the people who originally helped engineer the coup d’etat. We are one election away from a dictatorship. Look at history, the history of dictatorships, that is what we will become. Not a pleasant thought.

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    “Okay, so that means they’re basically talking to Sr. Carol Keehan and, probably, some Jesuits. But they’re not talking to the bishops.”

    It’s a plan of divide and conquer. They are looking to divide Catholics between Liberals and the others. Based on what I read over at Deacon Greg’s from the Liberals, I’m going to guess it will work. What a despicable act to divide a religion this way. We have got to make this obamaination (I’m sorry, but I have not felt this angry over him until this issue) pay at the polls. He has got to lose re-election and the deciding factor has to be the Catholic vote.

    What a despicable man.

  • Bender

    That is exactly what it is.
    Pope Sebelius will establish who speaks for Catholics. She will decide, in the exercise of her magisterium, what “Catholic” doctrine is and what it is not, playing this group of Catholics against that group of Catholics. After all, the bishops, including that bishop of Rome, are no better or authoritative than any other Catholic.

  • Jan

    Manny, I hate to say it but he’s going to be elected again – there’s really no way around it. The Catholics have already divided and conquered themselves. I don’t get the sense that Romney is all that well-liked here in Utah, and I don’ t think Santorum will stand a chance here against a Mormon. Sure, faith shouldn’t be an issue in a presidential election, but it will be in this case. And if things start looking too hairy for the dems, sure as shootin’ a third party candidate will arise, a la Ross Perot.

    Prepare for Obama, round 2. Them’s words I’d like to eat come November, but I doubt I’ll have to.

    Linus – I think we’re already at the dictatorship point. The USA is going to be a hard place to live in for the next several years.

  • Anthony N. Onimous

    If I wasn’t still in college, I would start preparing to leave the u.s. in case Obama wins a second term, by some demonic intervention.

  • Mark

    Jan, I don’t think you can guage anything at this point. When there is a candidate that is going to run against Obama, and the focus then goes toward Obama, I predict you will see the pool numbers drop on Obama.

    However, in my view, the wild card is what the Obama team and the huge money folks in back of Obama have planned. Ben and Jerry of the ice cream company have said they plan to kick in 2 million dollars to Occupy groups. I would bet that you are going to see the unions and these occupy people out on the street in massive protests and violence most of the summer. The media will play them up as fighting for the little guy against the rich and class warfare is going to be full bore. I also think they have a Reichstag Fire type incident planned which they will try to pin on the Tea Party shortly before the election. This would provide the crisis that they will not let go to waste. I am reading the Bonhoeffer book by Eric Metaxas which is excellent. I doubt few know that in a five month time frame, the Nazi’s were able to take a Christian democratic republic with a strong constitution protecting liberty to a godless totalitarian state with no liberty left. FIVE MONTHS:

    On January 30, 1933 Hitler became chancellor while his party held a minority of seats in the Reichstag. Three days later, Feb 2, 1933, Goering diary said, “Now it will be easy to carry on the fight, for we can call on all the resources of the State. The radio and press are in are at our disposal. We shall stage a masterpiece of propaganda and have no limits on money.” They of course also controlled the brown shirts that could be used for anything they needed to whip up anger and fear like burning down the Reichstag, home of the German legislature where Hitler had the smallest minority of seats. On that same day, Bonhoeffer gave his first speech on radio in opposition to Hitler and was cut off the air in mid speech. Feb 27, 1933 Reichstag Fire which was the crisis they did not let go to waste blaming the party with the most seats, the communists. History has seen that the fire was started by the SA. Very next day they had legislation waiting Feb 28, 1933 Law for the Protection of People and State known as the Reichstag Fire Decree which in effect gave the government wide powers and removed freedom from the people. Over the next five months, the Nazis systematically force all opposition political parties to shut down. Mar 22, 1933 Dachau concentration camp opens. Mar 23, 1933 Enabling Act, passed with help of Catholic Center Party, (kind of like Catholics United), effectively hands the legislative powers of the Reichstag (Congress) over to the Chancellor, Hitler. Act permits Hitler to issue laws without a vote of Parliament and in essence creating a new Constitution by Hitler alone. Apr 1, 1933 One day boycott of Jewish shops using new broad powers. Apr 7, 1933 “Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service” – Jewish and Communist workers removed with purge of Civil Service. Nazi governors appointed to rule each of the German states. Apr 26, 1933 Hermann Goering forms the Gestapo (secret extrajudicial police force). May 1, 1933 Trade union offices which opposed Hitler are stormed by SA. Jul 6, 1933 at a gathering of high-ranking Nazi officials, Hitler declares the success of the National Socialist, or Nazi, revolution. Jul 14, 1933 Hitler proclaims the Nazi party “the only political party in Germany.” All others banned. Jul 20, 1933 Reichskonkordat signed with Holy See. Violations by Germany begin immediately. Hitler, who up to this point had every speech loaded with his faith and God, now in control, proceeds to go after every form of religious liberty and free speech.
    Five months from gaining office, the German Christian democratic republic was a godless Totalitalitarian State.
    So Obama already in control of the MSM, loaded with unlimited cash, using his Chicago style politics powered by the Occupy lawbreakers and Union thugs in the streets, and a total disregard for the Constitution and law of the land, you could easily see a lot of problems between us and the election. Those who do not know history, are doomed to repeat it.

  • Jan

    Yes, and you made my point. He’s going to win. It’s going to be ugly. Aren’t we just an amazing people? We are so magnanimous and liberal-minded that we voted in an incompetent (fill in the blank) to bring down the country. And this (nauseating) ‘historical’ presidency has proven to have nothing to do with the color of his skin. He’s a despot.

  • Brian J McFarland

    I wonder if the response so far from the Bishops and other Catholics hasn’t missed such a unique opportunity (see Fr Rutler’s commentary on Obama as the Lord of the World come to be). They seem to be content in arguing this on – largely – commercial grounds instead of addressing the underlying evil. Have we, in the pews, caused them such little confidence? May God give our Bishops the strength and coax the rest of us to remain loyal.

  • Andrew

    @Mark, I just finished that book and was thinking the same thing… Also, if you listen to any Warren H Carroll’s talks on communism you can see the same thing. I recommend “1917″ and “1936- the Last Crusade”. He also has some free lectures on itunes which are great(the quality isn’t the best but the material makes them worth it). Viva Cristo Rey!

  • cathyf

    I think this is smaller and simpler and much more evil. In order to make the death panels work (to free up all that money that would otherwise be spent on the last months/years of useless old people) they have to get all of the Catholic hospitals and Catholic hospices out from under the control of the Church. In order to stop all of that medical research that generates new drugs and treatments that gobble up all of that health care spending, they need to shut down all of those Catholic universities doing medical research.

    That’s what Obamacare is all about. The private system of health insurance that we have created in this country collects a huge amount of money that can only be spent on health care. That tax-free money provides a market for drug companies and device manufacturers to spend billions discovering and engineering new drugs and treatments. The progressives want that money, to spend on buying votes and paying off cronies. In order to get to the money, they have to destroy the contract law framework which allows private health insurance to exist. And they have to destroy the institutions that will insist on spending their money taking care of sick people, especially the sick people that the progressives would rather see euthanized.

  • Bill

    Actually, it’s all over . . . but the shouting. There are only five people who stand literally in the way of profound persecution of the Church. By 2016, some of these Justices will be replaced, and then there will be no further protection. The majority of the values in America have descended too far. It will take a miracle to make evrything right again. Well . . . eventually, that will happen. Right? Keep the faith, and an active prayer life with God.

  • Bender

    Aren’t we just an amazing people? We are so magnanimous and liberal-minded that we voted in an incompetent (fill in the blank) to bring down the country.

    Who do you want?

    Give us Barabbas!

    With respect to the election, it is not really the divide-the-Catholics-and-conquer that the left has long pursued that will lead to President Tudor’s re-election (if he is re-elected). The “Catholic vote” has long been split.

    Rather, it is the split in the Big Tent Party, which should have been resolved long ago*, but has now come to a head. If it wasn’t obvious before, if you had been in denial in the past, now it is clear: the elite establishment despises you. They are embarrassed to be associated with you and they have nothing but contempt for you if you are a social conservative and/or people of faith. And it is increasingly clear that their antipathy for those who are social conservatives and/or people of faith exceeds their disagreements with the Democrats, including Obama.

    So in November, if Romney is the Republican nominee, it will be a choice between a despotic tyrant, or a vote for the faction that holds you in contempt (and quite possibly violate your conscience to do so), or stay home. And if you do not fully embrace and accept the Romney Mandate to vote for him in the primaries as you are told, and allow that religious nutcase to be the nominee instead, their resentments for him being greater than for Obama, many would run to cast their votes to re-elect the tyrant.
    _________________________

    * I told you all four years ago with the DISASTER that was John McCain (I tried to warn you all) that it was “time to settle all family business.” We didn’t do it then, and now look at where we are.

  • Peggy R

    Even my kids’ public school social studies books (elementary grades) frequently speak of the desire for religious freedom that brought many colonists, eg, Pilgrims, to America; and that the Bill of Rights, our Constitution, guarantee our most important freedoms–freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

  • ahem

    Cardinal George at Catholic Culture:
    http://tinyurl.com/856kywq

    “Freedom of worship was guaranteed in the Constitution of the former Soviet Union. You could go to church, if you could find one.”

    We can’t allow these marxist slobs to stuff our republic in the garbage. We’ll be slaves.

  • Manny

    Jan

    Don’t give up hope yet.

    (1) We are in an infighting mode, but that will end soon. This infighting distorts our perception. It’s not as bad as it looks.

    (2) The economy is still weak. Obama is not going to get much credit for it. It was still the worst recovery since the great depression, and Oba,a’s policies are to blame.

    (3) He is very weak. Gallup last night (I didn’t look today yet) had him at 43/50 approval/disapproval. That’s horrible. That’s a -7 with a disapproval at 50%.

    If we can settle on Romney, if Romney picks a good conservative for VP that will energize the base, and if we can run a solid campaign (I know all big “ifs”) I do think Obama will lose.

  • Mark

    Andrew, I will look into those other suggestions. As I continue to pour through Bonhoeffer, I find it so obvious that someone in the Obama administration, probably axelrod, has digested everything available on the Nazi Socialist party and their rise to power and fashioned from that a playbook with very subtle modifications learned from Nazi Socialist mistakes.

    I had to laugh out loud as I read about the German Christians and how they worked to get Muller in as the countries Reich Bishop and their distortion of every Christian belief that would counter what the Nazi Socialist agenda. Anything Jewish in the bible had to go and be ripped out or lied about. It reminded me of those who support Obama and what they have to do to their faith to contine to be a Democrat and Catholic. I think reading it should be as worthwhile to those who care about this country as it would have benefited Germans to really look at Mein Kampf before being so overjoyed with Hitler. I hear Goering in his diary sound an awful lot like the administration “never let a crisis go to waste” and shortly after it having the Reichstag fire with a communist immediatly caught and the very next day having legislation ready for a vote putting the country under the Chancellor Hitler by removing all liberties. That is what made this timeline possible of 5-6 month takeover and complete distrction of all liberties in the country. They even had a death camp and the laws making the Jews fair game voted into law through the changes of the Reichstag fire resolutions. They even used names like the Civil Servants Restoration Act when it should have been the death to Jews act.

    I also found it instructive to see how hard it was for Bonhoeffer to get anything going to oppose this evil. Those who were opposed, were too focused on getting along, not appearing mean spirited or intolerant. Bonhoeffer would write something up to point out the sharp differences between real Christian teaching and the distorted views of the German Christians and they would water it down so that you the German Christians could answer but few could really see solid differences. Kind of like those pointing out non negotiable teaching of the Church and those voting against them because the bishops kind of made race the proportianl reason equivalent 54 million babies killed with abortion or anyone suggesting that act of sodomy is still a grave sin and should not be made equal to marriage of one man and one woman as a homophobe bigot. Rather than be a church of St Michael the archangel and soldiers for Christ, we are now supposed to go along and get along folks who allow our faith to be trampled to the altar that there is nor real evil in the world. There was a terrible price paid for those responses and if we do not wake up now, we will pay them again. Great book to see Obama roadmap exposed.

  • Mr. Justice

    Obama is going to win this one in the courts. It will be decided on labor law, not as a First Amendment violation. Providing mandated insurance to employees is not “promulgating the faith.” It is part and parcel of hiring an employee.
    Equal Rights law also goes to Obama’s side, since the Church cannot discriminate on who it employs, thus Obama wins again. (Look for womyn priests to be the next big dust-up viz. “Pope Sebelius.” Secular Law trumps religion, don’tcha know?)
    The big question is: Will the Church have to provide health insurance that includes abortion coverage to the bishops, priests, and nuns? My opinion: yes. Again, insurance is labor law, not “promulgating the faith.”
    Will the Catholic Church in America be bent to fit the morals of the Protestant/humanist state? My opinion: yes. Justification: Would we allow Sharia Law to trump Secular Law? If we won’t allow Muslims to have their faith be superior to the state, then Catholics can’t expect it either.

    [If that were true, Obama would have won on Hosanna-Tabor. He lost 9-0 -admin]

  • Bender

    Obama don’t need no stinking judges either. He will do whatever the hell he wants to do.

    Don’t like it? Just try and stop him.

  • Brian English

    “Obama is going to win this one in the courts.”
    I doubt it, but it is possible.

    “It will be decided on labor law, not as a First Amendment violation. Providing mandated insurance to employees is not “promulgating the faith.” It is part and parcel of hiring an employee.”

    But the mission of the institution is related to promulgating the faith. As Elizabeth points out, Hosanna-Tabor would have been decided differently if it was as simple an issue as you present.

    “Equal Rights law also goes to Obama’s side, since the Church cannot discriminate on who it employs, thus Obama wins again.”

    Actually, Title VII does have an exception that allows the Church to prefer to hire Catholics.

    “(Look for womyn priests to be the next big dust-up viz. “Pope Sebelius.” Secular Law trumps religion, don’tcha know?)”

    That will not happen, but the Church’s alleged “bigotry” could be used to strip it of its tax exemption.

    “Would we allow Sharia Law to trump Secular Law? If we won’t allow Muslims to have their faith be superior to the state, then Catholics can’t expect it either.”

    This is a gross oversimplification of this issue. Are we talking about a law that is actually of general applicability or a law aimed at religious practices? And apparently in Pennsylvania, Sharia Law does trump the laws against assault and battery.

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  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Actually, even as we speak, NATO has offered to hold a trial in Afghanistan for those Americans accused of the “crime” of burning Korans—and our administration has not rejected this out of hand, or stated that it will not allow Americans to be submitted to this.

    And a judge in Pensylvannia dismissed charges against a Moslem who attacked an atheist dressed as Zombie Mohammed at a parade—and then lectured the victim about the glories of Islam.

    So, yes, I’d say that so far, we are allowing shari’a law to trump secular law.

  • Bender

    When you rely on the courts for your liberties, you get rulings that say that a husband can legally kill his wife by starvation and dehydration over the objections of her family and faith. And you get rulings that say it is perfectly fine to kill 55 million innocent human beings.

    More so that Obama even, the courts will do whatever the hell they want. And you can’t do a damn thing about it.

  • MarieLouise

    The strange thing is that even here on Patheos, we get Mark Shea seriously arguing that since there is no saintly Republican candidate, we should just throw our votes away on a third party or not vote at all, ensuring that we get 4 more years of Obama!

    [That's because "even here on Patheos" we encourage a variety of viewpoints and believe everyone is entitled to their opinion and to full respect for them. I never set out to create a monolithic echo-chamber, here -admin]

  • Brian English

    “If we can settle on Romney, if Romney picks a good conservative for VP that will energize the base, and if we can run a solid campaign (I know all big “ifs”) I do think Obama will lose.”

    A lot can happen in eight months. Let’s see what Obama’s number look like after a summer of $5+ a gallon gas.

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  • Jan

    I wish I shared your optimism. Frankly, I don’t think Romney can beat the current president. The country is too polarized – too many special interests and no common sense, it seems. People are going to stick with the devil they know –

    It’s gonna be a disaster.

  • Bender

    If merely beating Obama is the objective, why don’t we nominate Hillary?

    She is, no doubt, far more electable than even Mr. Most Electable 2012.

  • kevin

    Well we can be sure that Obama will get the votes of the 50% of Americans (legal or illegal) who pay no income taxes.

  • SKay

    Mark–I read the Bonhoeffer book. You are exactly right. I thought it was also instructive how they thought it necessary to have a “state” religion using the Lutheran Religion thus spliting that church. Amazing how easily the Nationlist Socialists were abe to overturn everything as you described so well. I must admit I was shocked at how easily these people gave up their freedom. Now I am beginning to see it in this country–something I would never have believed even two years ago. As I read the book I remembered that Soros(who is an athiest and a socialist) had been donating money to pro abortion Catholic groups and groups like Catholics United for the Common Good who backed Obama(we had a Jesuit promoting that group on local TV)–trying to split the Church. He was successful in 2008–since a majority of Catholics voted for Obama-believing the propaganda.
    In a recent interview with Soros –
    .
    As anger rises, riots on the streets of American cities are inevitable. “Yes, yes, yes,” he says, almost gleefully. The response to the unrest could be more damaging than the violence itself. “It will be an excuse for cracking down and using strong-arm tactics to maintain law and order, which, carried to an extreme, could bring about a repressive political system, a society where individual liberty is much more constrained, which would be a break with the tradition of the United States.”
    Gleeful?–I’m sure he is. That is why the left–unions leftists groups like People for the American Way,etc. will be financing “occupy whatever” and the MSM will be telling us that it is all so spontaneous and that the 50% who pay taxes just need to pay more so vote for Obama. Axelrod and Emmanuel are busy in Chicago.

  • Elaine

    It makes me sad to see this young woman demanding free birth control. It is not that she is battling cancer, heart disease or some other illness. This is her free will to go out and purchase birth control to fit her life style. I just don’t get this “give me this” mentality especially when someone else is paying for it. I am truly embarrassed for her and other women like her.

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