Bishops to Obama: No dice

posted at 8:40 am on February 11, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

After a long day of supposed “accommodation” and discussion, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops took a close look at the supposed adjustment of the HHS mandate yesterday.  Their conclusion?  It represents no change at all, and the bishops will press for a “legislative solution” to Barack Obama’s mandate:

These changes require careful moral analysis, and moreover, appear subject to some measure of change. But we note at the outset that the lack of clear protection for key stakeholders—for self-insured religious employers; for religious and secular for-profit employers; for secular non-profit employers; for religious insurers; and for individuals—is unacceptable and must be corrected. And in the case where the employee and insurer agree to add the objectionable coverage, that coverage is still provided as a part of the objecting employer’s plan, financed in the same way as the rest of the coverage offered by the objecting employer. This, too, raises serious moral concerns.

We just received information about this proposal for the first time this morning; we were not consulted in advance. Some information we have is in writing and some is oral. We will, of course, continue to press for the greatest conscience protection we can secure from the Executive Branch. But stepping away from the particulars, we note that today’s proposal continues to involve needless government intrusion in the internal governance of religious institutions, and to threaten government coercion of religious people and groups to violate their most deeply held convictions. In a nation dedicated to religious liberty as its first and founding principle, we should not be limited to negotiating within these parameters. The only complete solution to this religious liberty problem is for HHS to rescind the mandate of these objectionable services.

We will therefore continue—with no less vigor, no less sense of urgency—our efforts to correct this problem through the other two branches of government. For example, we renew our call on Congress to pass, and the Administration to sign, the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act. And we renew our call to the Catholic faithful, and to all our fellow Americans, to join together in this effort to protect religious liberty and freedom of conscience for all.

The bishops note that the Obama administration never even bothered to contact them to discover what their true objections are, and what would satisfy them.  The White House simply presumed to know church business better than the bishops and offered an “accommodation” that is anything but.  In fact, that sounds a lot like the process that produced this mandate in the first place.

There are two broad objections in the USCCB statement.  First, they are opposed to the mandate in general for moral reasons, but that alone would probably take the form of a teaching moment for the bishops rather than a call to action.  They note that the overall mandate is “unsupported in the law and remains a grave moral concern,” and that they “cannot fail to reiterate this, even as so many would focus exclusively on the question of religious liberty.” But it’s that question that animates their activism, and it’s not just the fact that these religious organizations will end up paying for these products and services either directly or indirectly — which we’ll address momentarily.  The mandate forces these organizations to facilitate the use of products and services that violate their religious doctrine, under penalty of government force.  It’s exactly the type of government threat from which the First Amendment was written to protect religious practice — and that included the practice of religion outside of worship spaces.

Second, supporters of the Obama administration’s mandate claim that there won’t be any cost at all to pass along from this new policy, based on this analysis from HHS itself, included in last night’s QOTD:

The direct costs of providing contraception as part of a health insurance plan are very low and do not add more than approximately 0.5% to the premium costs per adult enrollee. Studies from three actuarial firms, Buck Consultants, PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC), and the Actuarial Research Corporation (ARC) have estimated the direct costs of providing contraception coverage.

However, as indicated by the empirical evidence described above, these direct estimated costs overstate the total premium cost of providing contraceptive coverage. When medical costs associated with unintended pregnancies are taken into account, including costs of prenatal care, pregnancy complications, and deliveries,the net effect on premiums is close to zero. One study author concluded, ‘The message is simple: regardless of payment mechanism or contraceptive method, contraception saves money.’

When indirect costs such as time away from work and productivity loss are considered, they further reduce the total cost to an employer.

At the same time, LifeNews quoted a Blue Cross study that showed the mandate would cost insurers — and their clients — almost $3 billion.  So who’s right?  It’s Blue Cross, and here’s why.  Blue Cross estimated what the actual costs for providing the mandated products and services would be, while HHS projected estimates of long-term savings.  In truth, no one is really sure whether those long-term savings will come to pass, but what we do know is that costs will rise immediately as insurers have to pay for the contraceptives and abortifacients for which they will get no cost-sharing from the women who use them.  When those costs go up in the short term, so will premiums.  If the long-term savings that HHS predicts do come to pass, all it will do will be to avoid premium hikes far down the road, but the initial impact will force insurers to raise premiums to cover these costs — and that means the religious organizations that have to pay more to cover the costs of the mandate.  So yes indeed, they will have to pay for contraceptives and abortifacients despite the shell game announced by the White House yesterday.

The Obama administration’s “accommodation” was nothing more than a smoke screen intended to get rid of a bad political problem.  The bishops aren’t going to let them get away with it, and that means that Obama will still have religious organizations — and not just Catholics — demanding an end to the mandate and forcing a fight over religious liberty.  Don’t expect it to go on for long, because this will prove disastrous to Obama’s political support in the fall if left in its current status.  I’d give it a week, perhaps less, before we see a real climbdown.


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the Won really stepped in it this time….

thedevilinside on February 11, 2012 at 8:44 AM

I hate the term “teaching moment.”

disa on February 11, 2012 at 8:45 AM

Why is anyone surprised that Obama did not really compromise. And who on earth thinks it is anyone’s obligation to pay for a woman’s sexual activities? What happened to individual responsibility for one’s own actions. It is not my responsibility, your responsibility, or our responsibility to pay for contraceptives and/or abortions. Period. Besides, by the way, as a Catholic, I can see the immorality of all this HHS debacle.

chai on February 11, 2012 at 8:45 AM

C’mon guys….!

ted c on February 11, 2012 at 8:45 AM

Obama thinks the Bishops are politicans like himself. However, he’s met a group whose principles are not for sale.

itsspideyman on February 11, 2012 at 8:48 AM

Barack honey, Notre Dame’s on the phone. They want their honorary doctorate back.

Jeffster on February 11, 2012 at 8:49 AM

I’d give it a week, perhaps less, before we see a real climbdown.

Even if he does, we won’t forget this.

Key West Reader on February 11, 2012 at 8:49 AM

serious moral concerns.

Is that the same as “severely” moral concerns? And since when did the liberals EVER give a hoot about anything moral?

they lie on February 11, 2012 at 8:49 AM

All I can say is ABO, as in anyone or anything but Obama (aka His Royal Majesty King Barack I).

TxAnn56 on February 11, 2012 at 8:50 AM

Good for them. I was afraid that the subterfuge would work. Now if they will only do more walk than talk we might get somewhere. I still sense that the general religious establishment is cowed from adversary social and political action by IRS threat to their income. Anyone who plays the social justice theme is OK. Step off the reservation just a little, vary from liberal orthodoxy, and risk federal wrath

ironked on February 11, 2012 at 8:51 AM

No justice, no peace!

rcpjr on February 11, 2012 at 8:51 AM

Don’t you love how this strutting, thin-skinned, tin-pot dictator “compromises”? It’s always “heads, I win; tails, you lose.”

And his singing sucks!

SagebrushPuppet on February 11, 2012 at 8:52 AM

I still fail to see how contraception is healthcare. Chemo is, insulin is, statins are, etc. but contraception? No.

If Uhhhbama can arbitrarily mandate the, with NO congressional action, what stops him from mandating that US Steel should provide “free” steel for the Volt? Why aren’t insurance companies screaming that they have to provide “free” contraception? Doesn’t Obamacare mandate that they have to ask for premium increases and have to stay within a certain percentage or the increases will be denied?

If Uhhhbama thinks he can mandate at will, what makes us think he will actually leave the WH when he loses the election? He will just declare a mandate that all elections are null and void.

herm2416 on February 11, 2012 at 8:54 AM

But.. but.. Obama has decreed that this issue is over

faraway on February 11, 2012 at 8:54 AM

You know you’ve got one helluva good case when the leader of the Southern Baptists joins forces with Roman Catholics – or “papists” as Baptists (and the KKK) like to say.
Take it any which way you want: “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”.

~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on February 11, 2012 at 8:54 AM

Even if he does, we won’t forget this.
Key West Reader on February 11, 2012 at 8:49 AM

We’d better not. If he’s re-elected, this will be the first thing he slaps back on the table.

JanYarnot on February 11, 2012 at 8:54 AM

Our country may have been founded on religious liberties but it absolutely isn’t any more. The founders told us that our constitution was for a religious and moral people/society. This is why our constitution cannot protect us any longer. Sorry to be a Debbie Downer but apart from a revival in the heart and soul of our countrymen I do not see how we pull this back from the abyss. Secular libertarianism leads to the serving of oneself over society. Really working out great in Europe, huh?

1nolibgal on February 11, 2012 at 8:54 AM

I understand long suffering and forgiveness but at what point will the catholic Church hold accountable it’s members who are in positions of great leadership and public influence to any kind of standard.

These very public church members are in obvious and willful contradiction of core doctrinal issues and yet the Church continues to allow them the freedom to deceive lay members over one of the most serious offenses a man can commit, the sanctity of life.

The Church is rapidly abdicating any moral authority it has on these issues.

Skwor on February 11, 2012 at 8:54 AM

there is a larger point: its obamacare. the mandates of obamacare. thats the teachable moment. if we allow the fed gov to do this, to dictate mandates for all citizens, we’ll be figthing this fight every year, everymonth, forever. it may be encroachment on the 1st amend vis a vis religion this time. but next month it will be some other attrocity, some other mandate that will violate someone, some freedom. the is about MORE than religious rights, its about citizens rights diminishing under OBACARE. and the citizens relationship to government. this is big. bigger than some catholics complaining about birth control pills and who pays for them, and what they cost.

t8stlikchkn on February 11, 2012 at 8:54 AM

No justice, no peace!

rcpjr on February 11, 2012 at 8:51 AM

resist we much!

t8stlikchkn on February 11, 2012 at 8:55 AM

Obama’s alleged “accommodation” works exactly like the premise that federal funds that support Planned Parenthood are not used for abortions, since federal funding of abortion is supposedly illegal. If you’re supporting something financially, you’re supporting it. If the religious-based service organizations are purchasing insurance that includes birth control, claiming the birth control portion is “free” doesn’t sequester it from the package purchased.
Hopefully the electorate is capable of distinguishing Obama’s “accommodations” for traditional mores and strict constitutional reverence as nothing more than empty words and “chaff” to distract from his more insidious machinations.

tpitman on February 11, 2012 at 8:55 AM

Obama thinks the Bishops are politicans like himself. However, he’s met a group whose principles are not for sale.

itsspideyman on February 11, 2012 at 8:48 AM

I believe that the Council of Catholic Bishops supported Obamacare, that is why Dolan is so ticked at being sold out.

herm2416 on February 11, 2012 at 8:56 AM

I PREDICTED the first climbdown, but I don’t expect another climbdown. The One would lose too much face, and we all know what an ego he has.

And, yes, that he didn’t consult the bishops deserves an Obamateurism of the Day . . . or week.

WannabeAnglican on February 11, 2012 at 8:56 AM

The Obama administration’s “accommodation” was nothing more than a smoke screen intended to get rid of a bad political problem. The bishops aren’t going to let them get away with it, and that means that Obama will still have religious organizations — and not just Catholics — demanding an end to the mandate and forcing a fight over religious liberty.

We will see just how big the Pubs’ testicles are in keeping this alive and making it a huge political issue right up to election day. We will also see how smart the Pubs. are in making the Dems. and Obama pay politically for this abuse of power. You can rest assured if the shoe were on the other foot, the Dems. would come out on top of this issue. They would back the Pubs. into a big corner and make them cry uncle and then hammer them so hard, they’d lose an election.

they lie on February 11, 2012 at 8:57 AM

We need to be very careful not to allow the administration to frame this argument in terms of whether contraception saves money, or even whether contraception and abortifacients are moral or not. The Catholic Church has long held that contraception and abortion violate its fundamental beliefs and it’s irrelevant whether Obama agrees with them or not. The bottom line in this argument is that it’s a direct assault on the First Amendment and a clear attack on religious freedom by the government. That is the issue and we cannot allow the administration to distract or dissemble with smoke and mirrors about cost savings and preventive care. We are facing a recklessly overreaching administration which is determined to strip away fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution.

Trafalgar on February 11, 2012 at 8:57 AM

The only complete solution to this religious liberty problem is for HHS to rescind the mandate of these objectionable services.

No bishops, the only complete solution is a complete repeal of Obamacare. But you guys were all willing to support Barry’s trampling on the constitution, so long as he promised to tread lightly on your own special interests. Well now you’ve seen what Barry’s promises are worth.

Keep feeding that crocodile. He promises he’ll eat you last . . . . No, really.

AZCoyote on February 11, 2012 at 8:58 AM

Obama thinks the Bishops are politicans like himself. However, he’s met a group whose principles are not for sale.

itsspideyman on February 11, 2012 at 8:48 AM

Uhmm.. I have seen no current evidence supporting your statement. In fact given the events around Obamacare and Illegal Immigration I would say the facts indicate American Catholic Bishops principles are very much for sale.

Skwor on February 11, 2012 at 8:58 AM

This controversy is bound to bear good fruit, I think. This is the most attention that the Church’s teaching on contraception has gotten since 1968.

Perhaps this will remind disobedient Catholics of what they should be doing. And perhaps it’ll will posit the question to other Christians how contraception could be a grave moral evil until 1930, after which point… the truth changed, I guess.

AbaddonsReign on February 11, 2012 at 9:00 AM

Meanwhile, Obama exonerates the banking industry from fraud.

He plays America like Lucy plays Charlie Brown.

maverick muse on February 11, 2012 at 9:00 AM

There won’t be a climb down. This is their religion-killing the unborn, control of population growth, control over every facet of your life. This was the aim of the ACA and they will do whatever it takes to implement their agenda.

The ACA IMHO is similar to the mark of the beast in the book of revelations.

Here is a little reminder of how this started. Remember Richard Creamer?

http://nicedeb.wordpress.com/2011/11/28/the-white-house-visitor-log-document-dump/

FLconservative on February 11, 2012 at 9:01 AM

Good for them. This was no compromise at all.

gophergirl on February 11, 2012 at 9:02 AM

And this from an alleged “constitutional scholar.” Pffft! Shows that BO knows nothing about the constitution or Christianity.

Syzygy on February 11, 2012 at 9:02 AM

The Catholic Bishops draw another line jn the sand just like the budget battle over Planned Parenthood funding, Bravo! Oh wait, … Nevermind.

Afterseven on February 11, 2012 at 9:02 AM

Why is anyone surprised that Obama did not really compromise. And who on earth thinks it is anyone’s obligation to pay for a woman’s sexual activities? What happened to individual responsibility for one’s own actions. It is not my responsibility, your responsibility, or our responsibility to pay for contraceptives and/or abortions. Period. Besides, by the way, as a Catholic, I can see the immorality of all this HHS debacle.

chai on February 11, 2012 at 8:45 AM

I agree, I just cannot get my head around how the government can force anyone, religious organization or insurance company, to pay for everyone’s contraception. What are they basing this on? I’m not asking this to be a smart @$$, I truly don’t know.

I jokingly told my wife that my mental health would be much better if I owned a Harley Tri-Glide and Obama should force Harley to give me one. It was a joke, but am I that far off?

kam582 on February 11, 2012 at 9:03 AM

So should we orders a bunch of these from The Morning Spew?

bloggless on February 11, 2012 at 9:03 AM

Leaves out the cost of all of those unwanted pregnancies that would never have happened if people weren’t depending on contraceptives (which have a non-zero failure rate).

Count to 10 on February 11, 2012 at 9:04 AM

Since the Bishops apparently have subscribed to the “Fool me once, shame on me,” credo when it comes to believing Team Obama’s claims on their health care package, the next few weeks are going to be interesting.

Axelrod was the one who signaled on Monday he figured out this was a major screw-up, and Biden (!) appears to have been the more savvy policy person currently in the White House, joining Dailey to oppose the plan before it was announced. But the hard-liners like Jarrett, Selibus and the feminist groups may still think they can scrape through by using the same tactics on the Bishops and others in the Catholic Church they’ve used on conservatives for the past four years.

Alinsky and entire religious institution? Wouldn’t be a shock — the left thoroughly enjoyed trashing the Church a decade ago over the child sex scandals, so you can expect the militant pro-abortion types to be bringing that and other church-bashing issues, like the Nazi insinuations due to the Pope’s German roots, up frequently if they decide to go to war over this. Then it will be battle for Obama’s heart between them and advisors like Axelrod, who might not have any problem with attacking the Church in a non-election year, but not in 2012.

jon1979 on February 11, 2012 at 9:04 AM

All I can say is ABO, as in anyone or anything but Obama (aka His Royal Majesty King Barack I).

TxAnn56 on February 11, 2012 at 8:50 AM

Exactly – everytime I get depressed about our candidates, King Idiot reminds me that he is the ultimate enemy and must be defeated in November.

gophergirl on February 11, 2012 at 9:05 AM

I bet if these were Muslim-run hospitals, the scenario would be different.

chai on February 11, 2012 at 9:05 AM

Blue Cross estimated what the actual costs for providing the mandated products and services would be, while HHS projected estimates of long-term savings.

I’m sure we can take HHS’ “projected estimates” to the bank. After all, we know how good federal government agencies are with these types of estimates of projected future cost savings — especially when there is a political objective the agencies hope to achieve with these numbers.

AZCoyote on February 11, 2012 at 9:05 AM

Bishops to Obama: No dice

Alternative title: Bishops Don’t Buy Obama’s Potomac Two-Step

(changing the deck of cards doesn’t change the game Mr. President. Neither does re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic)

Rovin on February 11, 2012 at 9:06 AM

accommodation shell game

petefrt on February 11, 2012 at 9:07 AM

…, like the Nazi insinuations due to the Pope’s German roots, …

That can’t possibly make Soros happy.

SagebrushPuppet on February 11, 2012 at 9:08 AM

This is a constitutional crisis and should be framed in that manner. In fact, as we all know, Obamacare has always been a constitutional crisis, and all the Pub establishment wants to do is nibble around the edges to “fix” it.

they lie on February 11, 2012 at 9:08 AM

Skwor on February 11, 2012 at 8:58 AM

Furthermore, Bishops are certainly politicians. How else does a Pope get elected? Some lack a political historical grip on Constantine usurping Christianity for his own purposes, the subsequent Holy Roman Empire and how things Roman/Vatican yet function.

maverick muse on February 11, 2012 at 9:08 AM

they lie on February 11, 2012 at 9:08 AM

to “fix” us.

maverick muse on February 11, 2012 at 9:09 AM

If there was a question Friday morning whether the Obama administration might cede ground, there was no doubt at the end of the day. They haven’t budged.

Despite what President Obama said at his White House press conference, the actual regulations make permanent the “interim final regulations” issued August 3, 2011 — the ones that sparked the furor in the first place.

Prefaced by 17 pages of the kind of rhetorical squid ink that President Obama defensively deployed at his press conference, the words that have the force of law appear on pages 18 to 20. That’s where the actual amendments to the Code of Federal Regulations are made by three departments — Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services — that Congress previously granted joint oversight of employer health plans.

The bottom line is this: “Accordingly, the amendment to the interim final rule with comment period amending 45 CFR 147.130(a)(1)(iv) which was published in the Federal Register at 76 FR 46621-46626 on August 3, 2011, is adopted as a final rule without change.” [Emphasis added.]

Translation: The Obama administration Friday afternoon put into federal law the very regulation that drew objections from almost 200 Catholic bishops, some 50 religiously affiliated colleges and universities, 65 North American bishops of Orthodox churches, numerous other Jewish, Evangelical and Lutheran leaders, and even some liberals — and without changing so much as a comma.

From this point forward, any changes to this regulation have to go through the formal regulatory process all over again.

The administration admits as much in the preamble to these regulations when it states that Treasury, Labor, and HHS “plan to initiate a rulemaking to require issuers to offer insurance without contraception coverage to such an employer (or plan sponsor) and simultaneously to offer contraceptive coverage directly to the employer’s plan participants (and their beneficiaries) who desire it, with no cost-sharing. Under this approach, the Departments will also require that, in this circumstance, there be no charge for the contraceptive coverage.”

Thus, instead of delaying final regulations until they could be revised to reflect the prospective changes President Obama outlined Friday, the administration went ahead and locked into regulation its original position, accompanied by a (non-binding) promise to revisit the issue.

Furthermore, even assuming that the administration followed through in good faith on this promise, it still leaves the technical problems identified yesterday in a Heritage Foundation blog post — how to handle employers that “self-insure” and don’t buy coverage from an insurer — that make the president’s proposal unworkable.

Meanwhile, the administration simultaneously issued “Guidance on the Temporary Enforcement Safe Harbor for Certain Employers, Group Health Plans, and Group Health Insurance Issuers with Respect to the Requirement to Cover Contraceptive Services Without Cost Sharing . . .” (yes, the title keeps on going for another two lines).

Bottom line on the guidance: The administration has said it won’t enforce the new law on religious employers until after August 1, 2013. However . . .

Let’s say you are one of those “certain employers” — e.g., the director of a Baptist food bank, headmaster of a Jewish school, or operator of a crisis-pregnancy center — and you wish to take advantage of this “grace period.” The guidance says that you not only have to certify to HHS that you are eligible, but you also have to include the following notice of contraceptive coverage in the information you distribute to your employees at their next health-plan enrollment:

NOTICE TO PLAN PARTICIPANTS

The organization that sponsors your group health plan has certified that it qualifies for a temporary enforcement safe harbor with respect to the Federal requirement to cover contraceptive services without cost sharing. During this one-year period, coverage under your group health plan will not include coverage of contraceptive services.

Meaning what? It means that religious institutions such as Colorado Christian University, Belmont Abbey College, and EWTN — all three of which are represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty in lawsuits against the federal government over the anti-conscience mandate — must send this notice to their employees simply to be allowed the one-year reprieve.

The strong implication is that such religious employers will get that and no more.

As for all the rest of what we heard in the Obama administration’s media blitz to fend off criticism, these final rules do not back it up. The rest of the content in these documents — about working over the next year to modify this regulation and accommodate objections — are just so many words: words that have no force of law, and are simply promises and obfuscating squid ink.

NRO this morning.

A big F U to the bishops.

Wethal on February 11, 2012 at 9:10 AM

I understand the thinking behind the “savings” but doesn’t that assume that women will make different choices on the number of children they will have based on whether they or the insurance company pay for their birth control?

Cindy Munford on February 11, 2012 at 9:11 AM

t8stlikchkn on February 11, 2012 at 8:54 AM

I will note that the USCCB actually wrote in the quoted section above that the entire bill’s legality is somewhat dubious. I was surprised, actually.

Skwor on February 11, 2012 at 8:54 AM

While I tend to agree with you in that some action is in order, Pelosi et al. are ipso facto heretics for their public policy statements on abortion and a few other issues. They have excommunicated themselves by their stance. From the standpoint of the Church, they already have their reward.

I certainly would like the Magisterium to crack down on clergy who, apparently, don’t mind aiding and abetting known sacrilege to the Eucharist, though. Also, you have a point in that declaring their heretical position is confusing the ethical positions on the issue, and from the standpoint of instructing the faithful, the Magisterium should take more steps to ‘deal’ with this issue.

herm2416 on February 11, 2012 at 8:56 AM

Last I checked, the USCCB did not support ObamaCare in its final form. As for myself, I have an excellent rhetorical line specifically for Catholics who think that government health care is a good idea.

Scott H on February 11, 2012 at 9:11 AM

Bobby Jindal just read the 1st Amendment and addressed B.O. at CPAC. Said B.O. was right about one thing, they love their religion and guns, LOL

bluefox on February 11, 2012 at 9:13 AM

Just get ready for a temporary Presidential exemption to the mandate for Religious institutions which would expire Jan 1 2013…….

alQemist on February 11, 2012 at 9:13 AM

I’m impressed that the Catholic Bishops mentioned secular organizations and individuals and not simply other Christian and religious groups.

Catholics have long been my ally or, let’s face it due to their numbers and influence, I’ve been one of theirs on anti-abortion causes. So while I certainly have no problem with birth control, I admire and support the principled stand the Catholic Bishops are taking.

They should not waiver — I don’t agree with their religion but, where their own employees are concerned, they ought to be able to choose not to provide (or subsidize through a deceptive scheme) “medical services” to their employees that go against their religious views.

Ace explains the logical flaw in the deceptive reasoning of the Obama administration here.

Random on February 11, 2012 at 9:13 AM

As I believe others have mentioned, one of the central issues here actually has nothing to do with the topic at hand…

Imagine Obama’s overreach if he wins a second term and no longer has to worry about re-election.

BardMan on February 11, 2012 at 9:13 AM

IOW, there has been no climbdown….merely the appearance of a climbdown and the guys in the tall hats are knotbuyinit.

ted c on February 11, 2012 at 9:13 AM

In fact given the events around Obamacare and Illegal Immigration I would say the facts indicate American Catholic Bishops principles are very much for sale.

Skwor on February 11, 2012 at 8:58 AM

As long as it’s the taxpayers who pay for it. Funny that they have lobbyists who get lawmakers to fund all these social justice causes that Jesus told THEM to do themselves instead of sticking all taxpayers (regardless of belief or lack thereof) with the bill.

Shay on February 11, 2012 at 9:14 AM

All I can say is ABO

Anything but Corruption (ABC)

Vote Constitutional Integrity

maverick muse on February 11, 2012 at 9:14 AM

maverick: I don’t know. Can you tell me how the Pope is elected? :p

Scott H on February 11, 2012 at 9:14 AM

This reply is interesting when you consider that the media was promoting that Obama had kissed and made it all better, including some “Catholic” health officials going on the record.

Cindy Munford on February 11, 2012 at 9:14 AM

Barack honey, Notre Dame’s on the phone. They want their honorary doctorate back.

Jeffster on February 11, 2012 at 8:49 AM

Notre dame only has themselves to blame just like the Bishops that backed bamacare in the first place.

Guess what, you lay down with the mongrels you are going to get fleas.

The pox on both their houses.

ouldbollix on February 11, 2012 at 9:15 AM

Bobby Jindal just read the 1st Amendment and addressed B.O. at CPAC. Said B.O. was right about one thing, they love their religion and guns, LOL

bluefox on February 11, 2012 at 9:13 AM

LOVE him!

This is indeed a war on religion. I’m not Catholic but I certainly side with them on this. It’s just wrong.

gophergirl on February 11, 2012 at 9:15 AM

Sadly, a lot of high profile religious leaders and groups are just “cheap dates” for politicians.

Willing to cozy up (to be the next Billy Graham) and sell themselves and their position for a few photo ops with the “Deciders”. Tony Campolo did it with Clinton. Graham has done it with a myriad of leaders. Franklin Graham has done it. Catholic Bishops have done it. Reagan used the Evangelical leaders, and they him. Obama uses the MLK legacy churches and Rick Warren.

….and then theses religious entities wonder why they don’t get consulted?

It’s because both groups use each other, but the pols don’t need the “cheap date” because they’ll just go find another one baby.

PappyD61 on February 11, 2012 at 9:17 AM

Uhmm.. I have seen no current evidence supporting your statement. In fact given the events around Obamacare and Illegal Immigration I would say the facts indicate American Catholic Bishops principles are very much for sale.

Skwor on February 11, 2012 at 8:58 AM

Ahem…. excuse me…. that’s what this is about? Could you explain further?

itsspideyman on February 11, 2012 at 9:18 AM

IMO the German King Henry the IV committed a much lesser offense in supporting a different Bishop as opposed to the one the Pope Gregory wanted. He was excommunicated for that. Today we have leaders of equal power trampling publicly over Catholic Core doctrine and proudly speaking in opposition to the Pope’s direction for the Church and the lay person watches the church acquiesce to the leaders will as long as the Church gets their pet issue of health-care or immigration approved.

Amazing, Core Doctrine for open sale, witnessed by all in exchange for political prizes which are at best fringe elements of the salvation message.

Skwor on February 11, 2012 at 9:19 AM

NPR…………..the ACLU and People for the American Way with their own radio network!!!!

Cut their funding to ZERO………and PBS as well.

Progressive infested cesspools both.

PappyD61 on February 11, 2012 at 9:21 AM

For some reason I am unable to stream CPAC this morning. Worked yesterday.

Cindy Munford on February 11, 2012 at 9:21 AM

Rather than going to Rome next week for a promotion, Dolan should check into a Catholic hospital to get a spine installed. Dolan called this “a first step in a positive direction.” BS.

Both Dolan and Sister Carole “Judas Ascariot” Keehan have given Obama tremendous political cover on this. Shameful and disgusting.

The Bishops should have denounced this “accommodation” before Obama finished at the podium.

matthew8787 on February 11, 2012 at 9:22 AM

Skwor: I am not sure how aware you are of what the Magisterium has been doing in the United States, but rest assured they are taking a very similar tack on doctrinal issues that the GOP has taken in dealing with Obama.

Just as one example, do you know how many heterodox (to put it mildly) priests have been replaced in the last 3 years?

Scott H on February 11, 2012 at 9:22 AM

Then the came for the Catholics…

armygirl on February 11, 2012 at 9:23 AM

Mandate Failure (round two): President Waiver Downgrade in Dire Need of Alternative Accommodation—Weekend Golf Schedule Could be Sidelined—film at 11:00.

Rovin on February 11, 2012 at 9:23 AM

I’d give it a week, perhaps less, before we see a real climbdown.

I hope you’re right Ed. I’m not as confident. I think they’re goal of single payer plays a factor.

Which do think Obama prefers?

A. Climb down from position, Catholic Bishops get there way and provide insurance they deem appropriate.

B. Force a conflict which not only divides Catholics, but forces Catholic organizations to drop coverage, causing the Administration to rush in to tell the country that the Bishops are unreasonable and that the Gov’t needs needs to offer insurance to all these poor afflicted people.

You have to think like a Marxist. Obama wants them drop their coverage. He wants single payer.

WisRich on February 11, 2012 at 9:23 AM

the=they
pushed the submit button too quick.

armygirl on February 11, 2012 at 9:23 AM

It amazes me how Mr. Obama and his minions do not feel the US Constitution should get in his way. The First Amendment of the US Constitution provide…Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;….

Interfering with the exercise of religion:
As far as the US government requiring people of faith and religious institutions to pay for birth control pills IUD, Morning after pills and abortion services the Constitution seems pretty clear the US Government can not do so because this would serve to prohibit the free exercise of religion. Oh yeah if Obama can mandate they pay for it, he can mandate you take it.

Funding or establishing a religion.
As far as the US government requiring insurers, governed by the US government to provide birth control pill IUD, morning after pills and abortion services the Constitution prohibits any law respecting the establishment of religion. In this case the government would mandate business and the government run insurance programs provide “FREE” (OK stop laughing..I know nothing is FREE) birth control pills IUDs morning after pills and abortions to church run organizations is prohibited.Want an example go look at the long list of things ACLU has made sure are not provided to church run schools.

I for one am so so glad Obama and his minions has sought to do this now. I am also so happy the US Constitution was written in a way so as to hamper and slow down self appointed kings and the like.

Can you imagine when Obamacare is argued if some Supreme Court Justice asks the Obama administration to explain how the commerce clause allows Obama to mandate businesses give away they services?

DVPTexFla on February 11, 2012 at 9:24 AM

matthew: Er, are you saying that the quoted section above is not a denunciation? Or are you saying that they should have denounced something before they had time to examine it?

Scott H on February 11, 2012 at 9:24 AM

Last I checked, the USCCB did not support ObamaCare in its final form.

Scott H on February 11, 2012 at 9:11 AM

The Catholic Bishops before this clearly stated their intentions against any form of contraception or abortion in the final bill.

We have two issues, the Catholic Bishops against contraception, and the constitutional objections. Both have been under assault for years. For those who have been allowing a walk-back of their freedoms, they’ve finally hit the wall.

In the words of Bruce Willis in Die Hard: “Welcome to the party, pal!!!”

itsspideyman on February 11, 2012 at 9:24 AM

Ahem…. excuse me…. that’s what this is about? Could you explain further?

itsspideyman on February 11, 2012 at 9:18 AM

Any intelligent person let alone one entrusted with a leadership position should have been able to see this coming. The Bishops supporting health-care from Obama was a Faustian compromise at best.

The same goes for the current Illegal Immigration support within the Catholic Church leadership. That has little to do with the salvation message. Yet we watch the church throw much more political clout behind Illegal Immigration than it is willing to do to high ranking public leaders who are members of the church that openly contradict and encourage others to contradict the salvation message.

Skwor on February 11, 2012 at 9:24 AM

Yes, this is mere child’s play compared to what he’ll do if he wins re-election. I’m not a Catholic, but I hope and pray they do NOT back down on this one..

plumorchard on February 11, 2012 at 9:24 AM

Skwor on February 11, 2012 at 9:24 AM

Let me ask again…. what does this current have to do with their stance now?

itsspideyman on February 11, 2012 at 9:26 AM

My advice to the Catholic Church: form an insurance company that follows the precepts of the Church and its duties, and offer that insurance openly to any who wish to get it and keep a clear conscience. Make sure that it is strictly run by the Church but is a haven for all who do not wish to have their insurance dictated by government. You will be surprised at the response to this by showing what a moral institution can do in the marketplace. And it will offer a sanctuary to those who wish to be free of government obligations against our liberty and conscience.

ajacksonian on February 11, 2012 at 9:26 AM

Yes, this is mere child’s play compared to what he’ll do if he wins re-election. I’m not a Catholic, but I hope and pray they do NOT back down on this one..

plumorchard on February 11, 2012 at 9:24 AM

Yep – this is a big one.

gophergirl on February 11, 2012 at 9:27 AM

ajacksonian: I like it. I like it particularly because it is a non-political solution to a political problem. Relying on political solutions to political problems just creates more problems later.

Scott H on February 11, 2012 at 9:28 AM

is that a picture of a fishing lure??…./

ted c on February 11, 2012 at 9:28 AM

My message to Obama:

We need more of this kind of action. Nothing like stirring up the various religions in the country to bring your poll numbers down. How about rules against Freedom of Speech? Oh, wait, you tried that with SOPA. Ok, how about making guns illegal. Never mind that nasty 2nd Amendment thing. Just outlaw the possesssion of firearms via HHS rules.
More actions like the contraception rules will ensure your defeat come November. You will replace Barry Goldwater as the most defeated candidate for POTUS.

Thanks for all you do.

Note: scarcasm tag intentionally left out.

gasmeterguy on February 11, 2012 at 9:28 AM

In addition to the separation of church and state issue is the precedent this sets for selecting certain medical services as being so essential that they must be provided at no cost to the individual. They presented this as an issue of “Women’s Health” which gets the entire panel on Morning Joe all warm and fuzzy.

What area will next be deemed so essential to civilization? “Children’s Health”? ( Up to age 26 of course. ) “Men’s Health”? ( Just joking!) “Mental Health”?

Progressives view health care as a right and their ultimate goal is to have it provided entirely by employers and / or the government. This is just another step in that direction.

Laurence on February 11, 2012 at 9:31 AM

Obama’s and his thugs tried the old bait and switch, but the Bishops called their bluff.

jan3 on February 11, 2012 at 9:31 AM

Shay

True enough. According to Jewish Law, relatives cared for relatives. And recall that Jewish Law provided for widows and orphans to glean from the fields as need be at the end of a harvest. The beggar could legally scrape the fallen remnants of grain from the harvested field for sustenance. Jewish custom, even Deuteronomy “eye for an eye”, was unlike barbaric subsequent Muslim law lopping the hand of a starving beggar who stole bread. After all, an eye for an eye would equate to a loaf for a loaf (not a hand for a loaf) amounting to a transaction requiring labor to repay the man robbed. In the Jewish tradition, a “blessing” is an act of mercy performed [by a person].

maverick muse on February 11, 2012 at 9:31 AM

Scott H on February 11, 2012 at 9:28 AM

It is called: asymmetrical warfare.

Call Obama’s bluff.

And raise the stakes in a game he can’t win.

ajacksonian on February 11, 2012 at 9:32 AM

My advice to the Catholic Church: form an insurance company …

Seton II?

maverick muse on February 11, 2012 at 9:34 AM

Incidentally, at least one organization (the Eternal World Television Network) has already filed a lawsuit challenging this reg. Seems to me that lawsuit should be fast-tracked and consolidated with the existing challenges to Obamacare to be considered by the SCOTUS.

Syzygy on February 11, 2012 at 9:34 AM

Traflgar said: We need to be very careful not to allow the administration to frame this argument in terms of whether contraception saves money, or even whether contraception and abortifacients are moral or not. The Catholic Church has long held that contraception and abortion violate its fundamental beliefs and it’s irrelevant whether Obama agrees with them or not. The bottom line in this argument is that it’s a direct assault on the First Amendment and a clear attack on religious freedom by the government.

Exactly!

Oldflyer on February 11, 2012 at 9:34 AM

Skwor: I am not sure how aware you are of what the Magisterium has been doing in the United States, but rest assured they are taking a very similar tack on doctrinal issues that the GOP has taken in dealing with Obama.

Just as one example, do you know how many heterodox (to put it mildly) priests have been replaced in the last 3 years?

Scott H on February 11, 2012 at 9:22 AM

Yet given all this the USCCB did indeed support Obamacare though the tact the took was one in which they created a “abortion neutral” language position.

Basically the USCCB was fine with Obamacare as long as the language within it was nuetral to abortion. This was the Faustian compromise. Any wise person (I am not even among the wise yet I predicted Obamacare would be used to do what it is doing right now) should have seen just how dangerous a position was and that under Obama, given his dedication to abortion throughout his adult life, such a nuetral political solution would be abused later to the church’s detriment.

Skwor on February 11, 2012 at 9:35 AM

How would any good father react if a pack of wolves where circling their children in their own back yard?

The bishops would be better off going over the head of O and addressing Sebelius directly. She is whispering in the president’s ear and every time someone describes her as a Catholic, it gives her more clout. How much more power will the princes of the Church give her before they throw her out on her ear, publicly. That would get the Church Militants attention.

Obama wouldn’t recognize a good Catholic if they kissed him on the cheek. Stop playing footsie with him. NOW.

elm on February 11, 2012 at 9:37 AM

Let me ask again…. what does this current have to do with their stance now?

itsspideyman on February 11, 2012 at 9:26 AM

My position is the church is more concerned with making governments socially conscience as opposed to seeing to an individual’s salvation.

Jesus message was directed at the individual and his ministry was for the individual and what I see of the church today goes far from that.

Doesn’t quite answer your question but it at least gives you my basic philosophy on these issues and the church.

Skwor on February 11, 2012 at 9:39 AM

nagging little thought in the back of my mind….Obama doubles down once again & damned be all the religious zealots….#just sayin’

huskerdiva on February 11, 2012 at 9:41 AM

Skwor: And I agree that the USCCB should have realized that Obama was not to be trusted.

They did not, though, support the bill that was passed.

However, I think you missed my message. The Magisterium has been very busy ensuring that the pastoral mission of the Church (read: parish priests) are becoming more orthodox.

I think, also, you are conflating certain things. Blaming ‘the Church’ for the actions of the USCCB is akin to blaming America for actions of the US Congress. It’s not a perfect analogy, but it does give the sense, here.

Scott H on February 11, 2012 at 9:42 AM

Scott, I am saying that the statement from the Bishops was weak and, given that they weren’t consulted, there was no need for further study and waiting half a day to respond. These well-meaning men are like lambs to the slaughter, and gave Obama critical time to allow whores like “Sister Carole” to jump back into bed with PP. Obama secured critical political cover from women in the Church yesterday, which is exactly his goal: divide the Church on this issue.

A great deal of pr damage was self-inflicted by these bishops yesterday, and as a lifelong Catholic I can guarantee they would be only too delighted to saw off anyone who goes out on a limb with them. The bottom line for these useful idiots is that they are too often Democrats first and Catholics second. It’s an ongoing disgrace.

Everyone should beware that the Bishops are completely untrustworthy allies. It pains me to say this but they have let down other friends many times over.

matthew8787 on February 11, 2012 at 9:43 AM

The Church is rapidly abdicating any moral authority it has on these issues.

Skwor on February 11, 2012 at 8:54 AM

Maybe that’s hypérbolé or just frustration, but this mess was brought about as the result of Vatican II (early 1960s). Sadly, Pope John XXIII was deathly ill and unable to prevent future Pope Paul VI and his minions from ruining the Holy Roman Catholic Church. Pope JP² dämn near finished it. The “Jazz Mass”, etc. (or “mess” as it’s better known) in 1968 finished it for me and my family … that is until I found the Traditional Church is still alive and well despite the Protestant edicts coming from the Vatican.
Lingua Latinae mortua non est

~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on February 11, 2012 at 9:44 AM

I bet if these were Muslim-run hospitals, the scenario would be different.

chai on February 11, 2012 at 9:05 AM

Muslims are exempt from Obama Care altogether, so it will never be an issue.

Night Owl on February 11, 2012 at 9:44 AM

The first consideration of the Catholic Church is the Catholic Church . . . it reached an accommodation with Adolph Hitler and it will reach an accommodation with Obama. Sad but true.

rplat on February 11, 2012 at 9:44 AM

One way out for Obama is to throw Valerie Jarrett (and indirectly, Michelle) under the bus. Now, for all his Communist loyalty, you know he is capable of betraying anyone at any time for any reason whatsoever.

Besides, it would be great to disturb that menage-a-yuck that he has in the White House.

He could throw Sebelius under the bus, but at that press conference yesterday, I could already see some tire tread marks.

EMD on February 11, 2012 at 9:44 AM

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