Oh my: White House having second thoughts on new contraception rule?

posted at 7:12 pm on February 7, 2012 by Allahpundit

How dangerous is this for them? Dangerous enough that even Chris Matthews, who was last seen praising Obama’s beatific smile as worth 10 points in the booth this November, is talking about how “frightening” it is that the state might start dictating to churches in matters of conscience. If they’ve got Tingles saying stuff like that, imagine what undecided religious voters are thinking.

A key White House adviser on faith issues said Tuesday that several organizations with ties to the administration have approached President Obama’s aides about finding a resolution to fast-growing controversy over a new rule requiring many Catholic institutions to offer birth control and other contraception services as part of employees’ health care coverage.

“There are conversations right now to arrange a meeting to talk with folks about how this policy can be nuanced,” said Pastor Joel C. Hunter, a Florida megachurch pastor who has grown personally close to Obama and advised his White House on religious issues. “This is so fixable, and we just want to get into the conversation.”…

One possible compromise was introduced as early as last October, long before the issue hit the national headlines, when one of Obama’s outside advisers drafted a plan that would have allowed women working for Catholic institutions to receive coverage directly from insurers rather than from the objecting institutions themselves.

Carney said this afternoon that they “will be working with those organizations and individuals who have concerns” on implementing the new policy before it goes into effect next year, but Axelrod was a bit stronger this morning in the MSNBC clip you’ll find below. Quote: “We certainly don’t want to abridge anyone’s religious freedoms, so we’re going to look for a way to move forward that both provides women with the preventive care that they need and respects the prerogatives of religious institutions.” As with Komen and Planned Parenthood, I’m surprised the White House is as surprised as it seems to be about the backlash it’s getting. The thinking, I assume, was that they could get away with it because, as Ed notes in his new column, Catholics just aren’t that socially conservative. Fifty-four percent of them voted for The One in 2008; meanwhile, in today’s new PRRI poll on the contraception issue, 58 percent of Catholics thought all employers should cover birth control in their health plans at no cost and 52 percent thought that policy should extend to religiously-affiliated employers. (Among Catholic voters specifically, though, the split was 45/52.) If there was nothing else happening to keep the issue cooking, it might have faded before election day. I think Team O might have been caught off-guard by the intensity and uniformity of the pushback from Catholic bishops, though, especially since they’re used to getting cover from many of them on other Democratic agenda items like immigration. And of course, Romney went after this issue hard and will probably be pressed by Santorum into going after it harder still. That’s a risky simultaneous surge of political demand and supply for the White House, so here comes the climbdown.

Exit question from Ace’s co-blogger Laura W: Why did Catholic organizations support ObamaCare in the first place when they knew there was a risk that it would force conflicts of conscience like this one? Did they think it didn’t matter how other groups were burdened so long as they themselves got a pass?

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2 3

Has anyone noted that The Washington (com)Post is busy creating false positives for their chosen one, Obama?

rplat on February 8, 2012 at 9:40 AM

This is so all the liberal Catholic Bishops can get back on the re-elect obama band wagon. You can’t be Catholic and support the Democrat agenda of abortions, gay marriage and welfare!

vietvet68 on February 8, 2012 at 9:51 AM

“Catholics” are not hypocrites. Once-a-week (or less) cultural Catholics and most of the 60s/70s/80s-era bishops who oblige them in order to keep their money coming are hypocrites.

Allah, Ed, Tina, I would really love it if you all could get your hands on a serious poll of Catholics that includes questions regarding their actual participation rather than throwing out these numbers that you do so often that don’t have any real information about what serious Catholics are thinking.

Vatican Watcher on February 8, 2012 at 9:56 AM

This is so all the liberal Catholic Bishops can get back on the re-elect obama band wagon. You can’t be Catholic and support the Democrat agenda of abortions, gay marriage and welfare!

vietvet68 on February 8, 2012 at 9:51 AM

True about abortion and gay marriage. However on other social issues like welfare, immigration, and war, catholics can (with an informed conscience) have different opinions from each other.

neuquenguy on February 8, 2012 at 9:59 AM

Allah, Ed, Tina, I would really love it if you all could get your hands on a serious poll of Catholics that includes questions regarding their actual participation rather than throwing out these numbers that you do so often that don’t have any real information about what serious Catholics are thinking.

Vatican Watcher on February 8, 2012 at 9:56 AM

Exactly!

neuquenguy on February 8, 2012 at 10:00 AM

“Sometimes this is a difficult road being in politics. Sometimes you can become fearful, sometimes you can become vain, sometimes you can seek power just for power’s sake instead of because you want to do service to God. I just want all of you to pray that I can be an instrument of God in the same way that Pastor Ron and all of you are instruments of God. We’re going to keep on praising together.

I AM CONFIDENT THAT WE CAN CREATE A KINGDOM RIGHT HERE ON EARTH.”

- Senator Barack Obama, 8 October 2007

“My individual salvation is not going to come about without a collective salvation for the country. Unfortunately, I think that recognition requires that we make sacrifices and this country has not always been willing to make the sacrifices to bring about a new day and a new age.”

- Barack Obama, 1995

“… my individual salvation is not going to come about without a collective salvation for the country. Um, unfortunately I think that recognition requires that we make sacrifices and this country has not always been willing to make the sacrifices necessary to bring about a new day and a new age.”

– Barack Obama, 1998

“My individual salvation depends on our collective salvation.”

- Barack Obama, Dreams of My Father, 2004

“I ask you to take it because you have an obligation to yourself. Because our individual salvation depends on our collective salvation.”

- Barack Obama, Xavier commencement address, 2006

“Because our individual salvation depends on collective salvation. Because thinking only about yourself, fulfilling your immediate wants and needs, betrays a poverty of ambition.”

- Barack Obama, Wesleyan commencement address, 2008

Whenever men set out to create “Heaven on Earth” or a “Kingdom on Earth,” they invariably end up creating hell instead.

Resist We Much on February 8, 2012 at 10:01 AM

This is priceless …

“There are conversations right now to arrange a meeting to talk with folks about how this policy can be nuanced,” said Pastor Joel C. Hunter, a Florida megachurch pastor who has grown personally close to Obama and advised his White House on religious issues. “This is so fixable, and we just want to get into the conversation.”

Anybody know who this guy is, ØbaMaØ’s “conscience” and religious counsel?

http://www.pastorjoelhunter.com/

And we are supposed to take seriously the word of a “mega-church” ‘gelical re: matters of the Catholic faith? They hate Roman Catholics too.

YaaaaaaaaaaHE wants to get “into the conversation” too, eh?

Shucks, why not just axe Rev. Jerry Wright, Jesse ‘Shakedown’ Jackson, Al ‘The Fraud’ Sharpton and the rest of the usual race-baiting, bigoted “clergy”.
~brushes off shoulder~
“Round up the usual suspects”.

~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on February 8, 2012 at 10:04 AM

True about abortion and gay marriage. However on other social issues like welfare, immigration, and war, catholics can (with an informed conscience) have different opinions from each other.

neuquenguy on February 8, 2012 at 9:59 AM

US laws allow for divorce and remarriage. Catholics don’t. Catholics can still practice their faith in marriage without interference from US laws. Gay marriage in the US shouldn’t affect the relationship between the Vatican and their faithful in the US.

OptionsTrader on February 8, 2012 at 10:13 AM

Exit question from Ace’s co-blogger Laura W: Why did Catholic organizations support ObamaCare in the first place when they knew there was a risk that it would force conflicts of conscience like this one?

Because they believed Obama who told them what they wanted to hear: if you like your current health care plan, you can keep it. And because church officials were assured in private conversations with White House officials that they would be taken care of.

Brutus on February 8, 2012 at 10:23 AM

Is it just me or does the narrative keep moving further away from abortion the more they backpedal on this issue?

Now that they are ready to start looking for a way out of this debacle, abortion has vanished from the reports, referring now only to “contraception”. Look how magnanimous and tolerant the administration is! They will even work with churches who are so backwards and anachronistic that they think condoms should be banned from the universe!

Helping lower-income families get preventive care is all well and good, but this is a gross mischaracterization of the debate. It’s not “preventive” if you are already pregnant.

The Schaef on February 8, 2012 at 11:01 AM

Gay marriage in the US shouldn’t affect the relationship between the Vatican and their faithful in the US.

OptionsTrader on February 8, 2012 at 10:13 AM

It shouldn’t but it will, so long as the faithful keep voting for people who are intent on bringing the Church into submission to the State.

The Obama Administration recent attacks against the Church (e.g., its lawsuit against the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and its refusal to expand conscience exemptions for religious organizations over birth control coverage) seem like preliminary steps toward the inevitable clash between Church and State regarding same-sex marriage. The clash will not be at the ballot box or in legislatures or courts, but in the sanctuary.

The Obama Administration has already tried to use anti-discrimination laws to dictate to the Church who it can call a minister; it is not too great a leap from that to using those same laws to dictate to the Church which Sacraments (i.e., marriage) it will be permitted to administer. No, I don’t think that this or any Democrat-controlled WH or Congress will be so bold as to try to force churches to perform ceremonies that are in direct violation of their teaching, but I think a Democrat-controlled WH or Congress will eventually use anti-discrimination laws to prohibit ministers from performing any marriage ceremonies if they refuse to perform same-sex ceremonies.

Of course the clash between Church and State is bigger than same-sex couples who only want to live and love in peace, and are content with state-recognized marriages. Same-sex marriage is only the occasion, not the cause of the clash.

Threshing Flora on February 8, 2012 at 11:01 AM

Of course the clash between Church and State is bigger than same-sex couples who only want to live and love in peace, and are content with state-recognized marriages. Same-sex marriage is only the occasion, not the cause of the clash.

Threshing Flora on February 8, 2012 at 11:01 AM

It has also FAILED in every State that has it on its ballots.

~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on February 8, 2012 at 11:31 AM

Let’s get real; devout Catholics are as rare as honest liberals. Historically they have been in bed with government on a whole range of issues. And they’ve been in bed with the Democrats. So if you lie with dogs then you get fleas. You Democrat Catholics were quite content to be closed mouthed as long as others had to take the hit. You thought you could play the politics and pick and choose what government did to you. Well, I hope this is a wake up call for you but I doubt it.

artman1746 on February 8, 2012 at 12:07 PM

This HHS issue is a blessing in a way. At last I’ve convinced some relations that they cannot be Democrat and Catholic.

theCork on February 8, 2012 at 12:09 PM

This is not a Catholic issue.

See: Colorado Christian University v. Sebelius, which was filed on 21 December 2011 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. Its claims violations of the First Amendment, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the Administrative Procedures Act.

Resist We Much on February 8, 2012 at 12:13 PM

Quote: “We certainly don’t want to abridge anyone’s religious freedoms, so we’re going to look for a way to move forward that both provides women with the preventive care that they need and respects the prerogatives of religious institutions.”

First, he says they don’t want to abridge anyone’s religious freedoms, then he ends by saying that they want to respect the prerogatives of religious institutions. This issue is not just, or even primarily, about the religious rights of “institutions”, as important as that is. This is primarily about religious rights of individuals.

Should a Roman Catholic business owner be required to provide employees with contraception coverage any more than a Church related institution? Should a pro-life Protestant business owner be required to provide employees with contraception coverage that includes abortive drugs?

Should any business owner who considers sexual relations outside of marriage to be immoral be required to provide unmarried employees with contraceptive coverage that could be considered as tacit approval and encouragement of immoral behavior?

The bottom line is that this is not essential health care. The decision to be sexually active and to use (or not use) contraception is an elective decision of the individual that no employer, regardless of religious convictions, should be required to provide. But if the government should try to force this on people, in opposition to their religious beliefs, then there are those who will have to make a choice between civil disobedience and denying their faith.

Ordinary American on February 8, 2012 at 2:56 PM

Obama’s Waterloo?

I think it might be his waterloo. He is messing with a huge section of the American electorate. A vast majority of Americans identify as religious.

I don’t think it will matter at all if he retreats on the rule, he has pissed off people of faith.

I certainly hope so, how anyone who is remotely concerned about religious liberty can vote for him is beyond me.

http://dailycaller.com/2012/02/07/obamas-war-against-religion-a-political-waterloo/

ConservativeLaw on February 7, 2012 at 8:18 PM

Waterloo: British for flushable toilet

Hope that does apply in Comrade Zero’s case…

affenhauer on February 8, 2012 at 3:24 PM

Comment pages: 1 2 3