What if Catholic bishops aren’t bluffing?

posted at 8:40 am on March 1, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Earlier this week, Francis Cardinal George of the archdiocese of Chicago sent a message to parishioners in Barack Obama’s home town that imposition of the HHS mandate to fund and facilitate contraception, abortifacients, and sterilization would force the Catholic Church to close its hospitals, clinics, schools, and all other organizations that would otherwise have to comply.  “Two Lents from now,” Cardinal George warned, “unless something changes, the page [listing Catholic organizations] will be blank.”  At the time, some commenters wrote that this has been Obama’s plan all along — to force religious charities out of business to make people more dependent on government.  Others, including myself, figure that Obama just thinks the bishops are bluffing, and wants to engage in a high-stakes bout of brinksmanship to force them to kneel to secular authority over doctrine.

But how high are those stakes?  In my column for The Fiscal Times today, I did a little research just on Catholic hospitals and their significance in American health care.  As it turns out, this bet involved nearly $100 billion in annual costs and about one-seventh of all hospital beds in the US — and that’s not all:

The Catholic Church has perhaps the most extensive private health-care delivery system in the nation. It operates 12.6 percent of hospitals in the U.S., according to the Catholic Health Association of the U.S., accounting for 15.6 percent of all admissions and 14.5 percent of all hospital expenses, a total for Catholic hospitals in 2010 of $98.6 billion. Whom do these hospitals serve? Catholic hospitals handle more than their share of Medicare (16.6 percent) and Medicaid (13.65) discharges, meaning that more than one in six seniors and disabled patients get attention from these hospitals, and more than one in every eight low-income patients as well. Almost a third (32 percent) of these hospitals are located in rural areas, where patients usually have few other options for care.

Compared to their competition, Catholic hospitals take a leading role in providing less-profitable services to patients. They lead the sector in breast cancer screenings, nutrition programs, trauma, geriatric services, and social work. In most of these areas, other non-profits come close, but hospitals run by state and local governments fall significantly off the pace. Where patients have trouble paying for care, Catholic hospitals cover more of the costs. For instance, Catholic Health Services in Florida provides free care to families below 200 percent of federal poverty line, accepting Medicaid reimbursements as payment in full, and caps costs at 20 percent of household income for families that fall between 200 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty line.

Imagine the impact if these hospitals shut down, discounting the other 400-plus health centers and 1,500 specialized homes that the Catholic Church operates as part of its mission that would also disappear. Thanks to the economic models of these hospitals, no one will rush to buy them. One in six patients in the current system would have to vie for service in the remaining system, which would have to absorb almost $100 billion in costs each year to treat them. Over 120,000 beds would disappear from an already-stressed system.

The poor and working class families that get assistance from Catholic benefactors would end up having to pay more for their care than they do under the current system. Rural patients would have to travel farther for medical care, and services like social work and breast-cancer screenings would fall to the less-efficient government-run institutions. That would not only impact the poor and working class patients, but would create much longer wait times for everyone else in the system. Finally, over a half-million people employed by Catholic hospitals now would lose their jobs almost overnight, which would have a big impact on the economy as well as on health care.

Of course, it’s not just hospitals.  The Catholic Church runs over 7500 primary and secondary education schools in the US (where over a third of students are non-Catholics), educating more than 2.5 million students.  Thanks to a near-blanket moratorium on vouchers, taxpayer money doesn’t get used in teaching these students in a system that has a 99% graduation rate and a 97% success rate at placing students in college.  Based on an average student cost of $8000 in public schools, Catholic schools save taxpayers about $20 billion dollars a year.

Perhaps with schools, though, the notion that Obama wants to crowd out private enterprise in favor of the public sector makes more sense. How about charities?  Catholic Charities would also have to close its doors if the bishops refuse to comply with the HHS mandate.  In 2003, the latest data available, they provided emergency food services to 6.5 million people, temporary shelter to over 200,000 people, and a range of other assistance to another 1.5 million people, including assistance in clothing, finances, utilities, and even medication.  Those efforts would disappear overnight, along with schools and hospitals.

Surely, some will think, the bishops are just bluffing, and won’t purposefully create such a social disaster.  Perhaps, but consider the teachings of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit order and a deeply influential figure in Catholic thinking:

Some may doubt that the bishops would create this kind of havoc and disruption, and perhaps President Obama believes Cardinal George and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to be bluffing. However, Obama may want to read St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, and his Principle and Foundation of faith, which informs Catholics on the priority of salvation. The first task of mankind, according to St. Ignatius, is to serve God and “save his soul,” and “other things on the face of the earth” should be used only as long as they serve that purpose. When they become a hindrance to salvation, St. Ignatius warns to “rid himself of them.”

If the HHS mandate forces the Catholic Church to fund and facilitate access to products and services they believe imperil souls, they will apply Ignatius’ principle and stick with salvation — which is the entire raison d’être of any religious organization.  The implications for public-sector spending and services is massive, and Obama may be pushing all in with only a pair of jacks.  Don’t count on the bishops to blink first.


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just wait for the other shoe to drop. JOBS.

how many more people will this “jobs president” put on the soup line when they close 1/7th of the hospitals in the country?

This kommunist kenyan has got to go!

MaaddMaaxx on March 1, 2012 at 9:59 AM

It’s really not like people who work at these hospitals can’t afford to pay for their own contraceptives out of pocket. So, why force the Church to do it?

Blake on March 1, 2012 at 10:00 AM

Sure, name the Muslim-run hospitals and I’ll defend their right to run their hospitals according to their principles.1215 on March 1, 2012 at 9:47 AM

Muslims do have schools it’s not just going to effect hospitals. How many Private Catholic Parochial Schools are there across this country? I know people who aren’t even Catholic, who send their kids to Catholic schools to get a good education instead of the public schools. So that takes out one of the Teacher Union’s rivals out of contention when the Catholic Private Schools close their doors.

Of course we all know that the Unions got a waiver, but not the Catholics, and apparently not the U.S. Military.

The purpose of Obamacare was for the State to take over, and it’s preceding on schedule. It’s a power grab by the Left. I find it difficult to believe that the Princes of the Church, haven’t figured it out. The Holy Roman Church could have invented politics, they certainly understand how it’s practiced.

Dr Evil on March 1, 2012 at 10:01 AM

Thanks to a near-blanket moratorium on vouchers, taxpayer money doesn’t get used in teaching these students in a system that has a 99% graduation rate and a 97% success rate at placing students in college. Based on an average student cost of $8000 in public schools, Catholic schools save taxpayers about $20 billion dollars a year.

good point, Ed.

ted c on March 1, 2012 at 10:03 AM

The Catholic Church brought this on itself by not fighting Obamacare. Shut them down, people need to suffer, they need to understand and see that there are consequences to voting in a social experiment, to choosing a candidate based on color rather than content. Obama was blunt about his anti Christian, anti capitalist, anti American views, people chose to ignore and voted to make themselves feel good and liberal. So eat it, watch your health care rights disappear, watch relatives die at an earlier age, watch your freedom disappear and watch the losers, the lazy, the morons bankrupt this country. Only then will people take their vote more seriously.

Smedley on March 1, 2012 at 10:04 AM

Catholics have been in bed with the Democrats for the past 40 years. They have turned a blind eye towards the Democrat agenda of family values, abortion and gay marriage. Just look at Piglosi, Kerry, Biden, and the Kennedy’s. Total hypocrites when it comes to the Catholic Church. You can’t be Catholic and support abortion!

vietvet68 on March 1, 2012 at 9:58 AM

Rev Jeremiah Wright “Their chickens are coming home to roost”

This is what going along to get along will get you.

Dr Evil on March 1, 2012 at 10:06 AM

the devil dont want the catholic church messing it his turf!

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 9:12 AM

Oh, the triple curse of cynicism, atheism and illiteracy….

notropis on March 1, 2012 at 10:06 AM

Anyone who considers this an idle threat is fooling themselves. If the Church feels that it is being forced to provide or pay for abotifacient drugs (and THAT is the biggest sticking point in this debate, and one that doesn’t get brought up very much), the bishops will padlock every hospital and clinic the next day. They are deadly serious.

FuzzyLogic on March 1, 2012 at 10:09 AM

Why should teh Vatican bend to the dictates of the state … especially when it’s protected by the 1st Amendment?

darwin on March 1, 2012 at 9:32 AM

tell that to the mormons that cannot have polygamy.

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 10:11 AM

Sorry, still no sympathy from this former Catholic. For decades the clergy has given sermons and made public statements supporting government programs and the use of government police power to enforce socialist policies. Now, when the logical conclusion of such support occurs, they want to scream. Francis, you and the rest of the Catholic church deserve exactly what Obama is doing to you. To reform, the Pope and Cardinals need to publicly announce the evil of using state power to enforce social goals that may otherwise be admirable.

Over50 on March 1, 2012 at 10:12 AM

just wait for the other shoe to drop. JOBS.

how many more people will this “jobs president” put on the soup line when they close 1/7th of the hospitals in the country?

This kommunist kenyan has got to go!

MaaddMaaxx on March 1, 2012 at 9:59 AM

Don’t forget, many of the Jobs will also be in the Soup Kitchens that are closed, so there will be longer lines at the Fewer Soup Kitchens.

The Daisy Chain of what will go wrong is more immense than the initial effect.

jaydee_007 on March 1, 2012 at 10:12 AM

The Catholics brought this fight upon themselves. The Bishops support for ObamaCare was the decisive factor in getting it passed

This is just sophistry. So now it is Catholics’ fault that Obamacare passed? Really? Broad brush, anyone?

search4truth on March 1, 2012 at 10:12 AM

I just cannot see them closing the doors.

Crusader on March 1, 2012 at 10:14 AM

Oh yeah? you would support their right to impose the Sharia in the confines of their premises? Don’t try to fool anyone here, you know you would not.

1215 on March 1, 2012 at 9:47 AM

Muslim organizations have every right to observe Sharia within their organizations.

hawksruleva on March 1, 2012 at 10:16 AM

Why should Americans bend to the “diktats” of the Obama administration, especially when we have the First Amendment to protect us against this unlawful act?

Funny, you libs always seem to favor secular dictators.

Kingfisher on March 1, 2012 at 9:37 AM

as bad as obama is, at least he was elected by americans. regarding the first ammendment, see what scalia the catholic conservative judge says:
Justice Scalia explained:

We have never held that an individual’s religious beliefs excuse him from compliance with an otherwise valid law prohibiting conduct that the State is free to regulate. On the contrary, the record of more than a century of our free exercise jurisprudence contradicts that proposition. As described succinctly by Justice Frankfurter in Minersville School Dist. Bd. of Educ. v. Gobitis, 310 U.S. 586, 594-595 (1940):

Conscientious scruples have not, in the course of the long struggle for religious toleration, relieved the individual from obedience to a general law not aimed at the promotion or restriction of religious beliefs. The mere possession of religious convictions which contradict the relevant concerns of a political society does not relieve the citizen from the discharge of political responsibilities.

(Footnote omitted.) We first had occasion to assert that principle in Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. 145 (1879), where we rejected the claim that criminal laws against polygamy could not be constitutionally applied to those whose religion commanded the practice. “Laws,” we said,

are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious belief and opinions, they may with practices. . . . Can a man excuse his practices to the contrary because of his religious belief? To permit this would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself.

Id. at 166-167.

Subsequent decisions have consistently held that the right of free exercise does not relieve an individual of the obligation to comply with a

valid and neutral law of general applicability on the ground that the law proscribes (or prescribes) conduct that his religion prescribes (or proscribes).

United States v. Lee, 455 U.S. 252, 263, n. 3 (1982) (STEVENS, J., concurring in judgment); see Minersville School Dist. Bd. of Educ. v. Gobitis, supra, 310 U.S. at 595 (collecting cases).

Justice Scalia reminded his fellow justices of the Court’s 1982 decision in United States v. Lee, where Amish plaintiffs protested having to collect taxes for Social Security, since they didn’t believe in government support programs as a matter of conscience. In that case, Chief Justice Burger explained for a unanimous Court:

The obligation to pay the social security tax initially is not fundamentally different from the obligation to pay income taxes; the difference — in theory at least — is that the social security tax revenues are segregated for use only in furtherance of the statutory program. There is no principled way, however, for purposes of this case, to distinguish between general taxes and those imposed under the Social Security Act. If, for example, a religious adherent believes war is a sin, and if a certain percentage of the federal budget can be identified as devoted to war-related activities, such individuals would have a similarly valid claim to be exempt from paying that percentage of the income tax. The tax system could not function if denominations were allowed to challenge the tax system because tax payments were spent in a manner that violates their religious belief.

He adds:

Congress and the courts have been sensitive to the needs flowing from the Free Exercise Clause, but every person cannot be shielded from all the burdens incident to exercising every aspect of the right to practice religious beliefs. When followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes which are binding on others in that activity.

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 10:16 AM

tell that to the mormons that cannot have polygamy.

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 10:11 AM

That doesn’t answer my question.

darwin on March 1, 2012 at 10:17 AM

The Daisy Chain of what will go wrong is more immense than the initial effect.

jaydee_007 on March 1, 2012 at 10:12 AM

Welcome to the world of centralized planning and the Law of Unintended Consequences. Soup kitchens getting longer thanks to a contreception rule are just one example of how government “planning” cannot possibly account for the massive number of variables in our economy.

hawksruleva on March 1, 2012 at 10:18 AM

Umm, because the Catholic church provides health care, much of it free or at reduced cost, to thousands of Americans.

If McDonald’s ran dozens of hospitals, we’d care what they thought, too. But in addition to affecting the health care of a lot of people, it’s a religious liberty question. America was founded on the idea that government shouldn’t force people to choose between obeying the law and obeying God.

hawksruleva on March 1, 2012 at 9:39 AM

what if muslims have maddrassas in the US teaching their their childreen that our childreen are ok to be killed as infidels? is it their right by the 1st ammendment?

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 10:18 AM

Why should teh Vatican bend to the dictates of the state … especially when it’s protected by the 1st Amendment?

darwin on March 1, 2012 at 9:32 AM

tell that to the mormons that cannot have polygamy.

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 10:11 AM

Do not confuse a Doctrine with an Allowable Practice.

Being unable to practice Ploygamy does not alter your status regarding Salvation, commiting Murder (abortion) does.

jaydee_007 on March 1, 2012 at 10:19 AM

The church could sell those hospitals for $100 billion (HCA trades at 1.2 times revenue) they aren’t going to close the doors.

David in ATL on March 1, 2012 at 10:20 AM

If the Catholic church is “bluffing”, then that means they would consider complying with the mandate? I heard this morning there might be an opt-out option. I wouldn’t doubt that Obama would want to take over those Catholic hospitals, schools and close down the charities. It’s obvious the goal of Obamacare is complete government takeover of health, education and welfare. The Bishops better not blink.

lea on March 1, 2012 at 10:20 AM

We’ve survived over 200+ years without the Catholic church providing contracaption, my guess is we will survive another 200+ years without them providing it.

Tater Salad on March 1, 2012 at 10:21 AM

Righteous indignation much nathor? Check Obama’s mandate again moron—he’s the one who’s demanding the moral changes over 2000 years of Catholic doctrine—not the Vatican. I have my own opinion about contraception, but where does it say in the Constitution that it is the responsibility of the government to demand free, (at the taxpayer’s expense), contraception to the masses? What’s next nathor? Federal government intervention into everyone’s daily lives is running amok with this administration. If you want to understand who’s defining morality by executive fiat, look no further than this current President.

Rovin on March 1, 2012 at 9:44 AM

ok, sure, then the problem is too much goverment(libertarian position). and i agree. however, the church was not against obamacare, they were for it. they just wanted obamacare to be molded by their moral standards.
and by the way, guess who is against libertarians? santorum!

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 10:21 AM

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 10:16 AM

That quote is non-applicable. There is no precedent for the government forcing any organization, much less a religious organization to buy something from a private company that is against it’s views.

darwin on March 1, 2012 at 10:22 AM

My mother spent most of her final days in a Catholic nursing home where she got wonderful, compassionate care. When it was closed, she was in a secular nursing home for a few months before she died. I was getting close to moving her as I was not satisfied with it. Little did I know that it was a foretaste of what our future might hold.

Compared to their competition, Catholic hospitals take a leading role in providing less-profitable services to patients.

And to think that they do it without doing any (highly profitable) abortions! Personally, I’d rather go to a Catholic hospital for that reason alone.

And, no, I am not Roman Catholic.

IrishEyes on March 1, 2012 at 10:23 AM

Actually, this was the Boy King’s plan all along. If the Catholic hospitals threaten to close, the gov’t will nationalize them. This is all part of the implementation of obamacare.

Mean Granny on March 1, 2012 at 10:23 AM

what if muslims have maddrassas in the US teaching their their childreen that our childreen are ok to be killed as infidels? is it their right by the 1st ammendment?

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 10:18 AM

They already do. The Obama administration leaves them alone.

darwin on March 1, 2012 at 10:23 AM

A bunch of unmarried men should not be dictating to women what they can or cannot do.

The fact that they are unmarried means their opinion holds no weight when it comes to women issues…

liberal4life on March 1, 2012 at 10:24 AM

I just cannot see them closing the doors.

Crusader on March 1, 2012 at 10:14 AM

That is because to many (mostly on the left) Religion is nothing more than a Hobby, something to fill in a Sunday Morning.

Like the Congresswoman who sees No Conflict with the Mandate and Religious Freedom. That is because to her as long as you get to go to church on Sunday you have Religious Freedom.

Prohibiting you from actually practicing your religion Mondy through Saturday is not a violation of the First Amendment because the Establishment Clause prohibits Religion in the Public Square anyway.

I not only see them Closing the Doors, but they will most likely invoke the Fifth Amendment rights regarding Private Property being taken without Just Compensation to prevent the Government from Re-opening the Facilities withiout handing over a load of Cash that it doesn’t have.

jaydee_007 on March 1, 2012 at 10:26 AM

what if muslims have maddrassas in the US teaching their their childreen that our childreen are ok to be killed as infidels? is it their right by the 1st ammendment?

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 10:18 AM

So you don’t see a difference between killing non-believers and running a hospital?

hawksruleva on March 1, 2012 at 10:26 AM

I don’t think they’re bluffing one little bit, but it’s a win-win for the kelptocrats. If they back down, the kleptocrats get control of the Catholic Church. If they don’t, then the crooks have an excuse to further expand communist medicine because the vacuum needs to be filled.

If you think for one moment that Obama and his marxist cronies care one whit for the people who will die as a consequence, you’re deluded.

mr.blacksheep on March 1, 2012 at 10:27 AM

[liberal4life on March 1, 2012 at 10:24 AM]

Typical stupidity of a liberal. Unmarried men are not dictating what women can or can’t do. They are dictating what they will and will not pay to provide for them. Women can always pay for it themselves.

Dusty on March 1, 2012 at 10:27 AM

A bunch of unmarried men should not be dictating to women what they can or cannot do.

The fact that they are unmarried means their opinion holds no weight when it comes to women issues…

liberal4life on March 1, 2012 at 10:24 AM

Typical Liberal Obfuscation!

Telling Someone “Do what you want, but I’m not going to Pay For It.”
IS NOT THE SAME THING AS
“You Can’t Do That.”

I.D. 10 T.

jaydee_007 on March 1, 2012 at 10:28 AM

A bunch of unmarried men should not be dictating to women what they can or cannot do.

The fact that they are unmarried means their opinion holds no weight when it comes to women issues…

liberal4life on March 1, 2012 at 10:24 AM

So a store owner can’t decide what he will sell? The church isn’t dictating what women can do. They’re dictating what their particular company provides.

Walmart doesn’t sell CDs with dirty lyrics. That’s not a conflict with the First Amendment, because you can go to Amazon and FYE to get your gangsta rap. By the same token, if you want something a Catholic Hospital doesn’t provide, GO TO ANOTHER HOSPITAL.

hawksruleva on March 1, 2012 at 10:29 AM

Obama just thinks the bishops are bluffing

And if he does, it’s just one more example of Barry being a complete and utter liberal idiot.

Barry’s problem is that he can’t wrap his head around the fact that some people actually live by their principles. For Barry and company, it’s all about convenience.

GarandFan on March 1, 2012 at 10:29 AM

That quote is non-applicable. There is no precedent for the government forcing any organization, much less a religious organization to buy something from a private company that is against it’s views.

darwin on March 1, 2012 at 10:22 AM

read again scalia:

Congress and the courts have been sensitive to the needs flowing from the Free Exercise Clause, but every person cannot be shielded from all the burdens incident to exercising every aspect of the right to practice religious beliefs. When followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes which are binding on others in that activity.

the church enters the business of education and healthcare by choice, so their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes which are binding on others in that activity

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 10:30 AM

Obama might have bitten off more than he can chew on this one. Just imagine if the Catholic CHurch closes it’s schools and the children all end up in Public School! The first graders come in knowing more than the 3rd graders and all hell breaks lose.

The irony is I doubt if Obama really cares. This will give him more control over health care and less people to fight his mandates. Of course all of that will be mute when he doesn’t get re-elected and Obamacare goes down the tubes.

bflat879 on March 1, 2012 at 10:31 AM

HopeHeFails on March 1, 2012 at 9:42 AM

Obama has also ignored multiple court orders and injunctions that tell him to cease and desist. Biggest one was Judge Roy Vinson’s ruling LAST JANUARY that practically voided Obamacare… that Obama simply gave the middle finger to.

Hell, he’ll probably attempt to continue occupying the White House on January 21 in spite of a win by either Rick, Newt or Mitt.

Myron Falwell on March 1, 2012 at 10:32 AM

Close the hospitals, sanctify the ground, then let’s see if Obama will play Henry VIII, part deux.

OldEnglish on March 1, 2012 at 9:42 AM

Toss in a wee bit of George III and you’ve got the pathological trifecta³.
I mean, Who are we serfs (lumpenproletariat) to question King Barack the Growth-Slayer?

“One death is a tragedy, one-million deaths is a statistic” – Josef Stalin

~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on March 1, 2012 at 10:33 AM

I would have thought they’d refuse to comply with the law and test it in court before they’d penalize innocent patients by shutting down preemptively.

Seth Halpern on March 1, 2012 at 10:34 AM

Sorry, still no sympathy from this former Catholic. For decades the clergy has given sermons and made public statements supporting government programs and the use of government police power to enforce socialist policies. Now, when the logical conclusion of such support occurs, they want to scream. Francis, you and the rest of the Catholic church deserve exactly what Obama is doing to you. To reform, the Pope and Cardinals need to publicly announce the evil of using state power to enforce social goals that may otherwise be admirable.

Over50 on March 1, 2012 at 10:12 AM

True, however, it’s not the Roman Catholic Church that will suffer. It is all the lesser fortunate people they help that will suffer.

Yeah, the RCC has some explaining to do, but shutting donw their charity organizations makes absolutely no sense.

Also, RCC isn’t the only large church organization that supports Hospitals, Schools, and public charities.

As goes the RCC, so goes the rest of the church organizations who chose not to abandon their principles in the face of government manipulation.

Lawrence on March 1, 2012 at 10:35 AM

So according to your backwards “logic”, you support liberals who refuse to pay their taxes? me thinks you are just arguing for the sake of arguing (I heard they call that “trolling”)

1215 on March 1, 2012 at 9:47 AM

Which is why you’re babbling about sharia law in a thread dealing with Catholic hospitals? Trolling?

Maybe it’s time SCoaMF dictates that mosques start having to follow all equal opportunity laws, with regards to sex? No more separate but equal. Somehow I think that the leftist garbage in this country only wish to pick a fight with the Catholic Church, not our barbarian friends from the 7th century.

MNHawk on March 1, 2012 at 10:37 AM

Obama just thinks the bishops are bluffing

And if he does, it’s just one more example of Barry being a complete and utter liberal idiot.

Barry’s problem is that he can’t wrap his head around the fact that some people actually live by their principles. For Barry and company, it’s all about convenience. Getting reelected.
GarandFan on March 1, 2012 at 10:29 AM

Read what troll4life wrote, lookee, lookee ,the government’s going to give me more free sh1t, and no men in robes is gonna stop the government LOL! Obama needs women to turn out to vote for him in November so he’s gonna give em some free stuff on behalf of the Catholic Church. (I have no Sympathy what so ever for the Catholic Church) Why do you think that 100 thousand democrats turned out for Santorum in Michigan? Imagine the landslide win for Obama if Santorum was his opponent just among women voters.

Obama is in campaign mode everything he does from now until November is filtered through whether something will get him votes or not in November.

Dr Evil on March 1, 2012 at 10:37 AM

what if muslims have maddrassas in the US teaching their their childreen that our childreen are ok to be killed as infidels? is it their right by the 1st ammendment?

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 10:18 AM

So you don’t see a difference between killing non-believers and running a hospital?

hawksruleva on March 1, 2012 at 10:26 AM

i see the difference. but you were claiming that the 1st ammendment would be enough to give the catholic church their exception from secular laws. if it is so, the hate teaching madrassas could also be legal by the 1st amendment no? or health care is protected by the first ammendment while education is not?
assuming you are against hate teaching madrassas, my question is where to draw the line and who draws the line of what religious practice to get exception from goverment regulation if any?

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 10:37 AM

read again scalia:

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 10:30 AM

And I’ll tell you again. There is no precedent. That’s why ObamaCare is going to the Supreme Court.

You’ll have to wait for quotes that are applicable. In the meantime your aren’t.

darwin on March 1, 2012 at 10:38 AM

Obama might have bitten off more than he can chew on this one. Just imagine if the Catholic CHurch closes it’s schools and the children all end up in Public School! The first graders come in knowing more than the 3rd graders and all hell breaks lose.

The irony is I doubt if Obama really cares. This will give him more control over health care and less people to fight his mandates. Of course all of that will be mute when he doesn’t get re-elected and Obamacare goes down the tubes.

bflat879 on March 1, 2012 at 10:31 AM

When you are a hard-headed hard core Socialist, the ends justify the means.

Obama is gambling, big-time. Even if he fails ultimately, it will give the future Socialists that take his mantle a big precedent. Don’t think this will end, even if Obamacare were to be voided in the Supreme Court and the Dems lose miserably in subsequent elections.

In time, people like Obama will try to force it upon us again many years from now.

Myron Falwell on March 1, 2012 at 10:39 AM

In a world where “Church” and “State” are separate, which one has authority?

Lost in Jersey on March 1, 2012 at 10:41 AM

The best first example of big government encroaching on Christian charity that I recall was back in the late 80s when the Fort Worth health department got city council to ban churches from doing “feed the poor”. The main target was IIRC some Baptist Church that had a Sunday afternoon mission to pass out sandwiches and punch at the downtown water gardens.

The concern was that these unregulated kitchens might cause food poisioning, so they deemed it better that the poor/homeless not get any free food than risk a case of food poisioning. Nevermind that there was no such incident, it was the ever-loving concern that mattered.

The Star Telegram also provide the nugget that before these folks could eat, there was a short outreach sermon and a couple of hymns then prayer. Egads!!! People “HAVE” to endure hearing about God before they could eat. Nevermind that the Church also help rescue some folks by drug counseling and even helping some get off the street and finding a stable job. This must not be allowed to continue.

In my mind, that was a milestone on the slippery slope of government shoving aside private and/or non-profit charity, in a “conservative” bible-belt city, no less.

AH_C on March 1, 2012 at 10:41 AM

Let’s remember, Obama and all his friends would not be harmed one iota by having the Catholics pull out or the medical field. They will always have access to whatever they want or need. However, the population control tools and socialists would just love this.

NEVER try to use facts and objecting reasoning to argue with a lib. They are under the power of the deceiver and therefore truth has no home in their minds.

sdbatboy on March 1, 2012 at 10:42 AM

I hope our bishops don’t back down on this – perhaps this will be the issue that galvanizes support, wakes folks up, and helps to get things turned around.

A guy can dream, can’t he?

Aquarian on March 1, 2012 at 10:42 AM

In time, people like Obama will try to force it upon us again many years from now.

Myron Falwell on March 1, 2012 at 10:39 AM

To those of us who lived through the Carter Administration truer words were never spoken.

And if that cycle repeats, that next one will be Obama x3 just as Obama is Carter x3.

jaydee_007 on March 1, 2012 at 10:43 AM

In a world where “Church” and “State” are separate, which one has authority?

Lost in Jersey on March 1, 2012 at 10:41 AM

In communist world there is no separation of church and state as long as the state has all the power and authority.

darwin on March 1, 2012 at 10:43 AM

In a world where “Church” and “State” are separate, which one has authority?

Lost in Jersey on March 1, 2012 at 10:41 AM

Well, Socialists believe that the State has total authority over the Church.

Communist Chinese, anyone?

Myron Falwell on March 1, 2012 at 10:45 AM

Presidebt 0bama will make the entire country look like his beloved south side of Chicago. If you have ever been there you know that ain’t good.

jukin3 on March 1, 2012 at 10:45 AM

the church enters the business of education and healthcare by choice, so their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes which are binding on others in that activity

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 10:30 AM

Ummm, the Church invented the business of education and healthcare. It is the government that recently entered those two sectors and now wants to elbow them aside.

AH_C on March 1, 2012 at 10:46 AM

And I’ll tell you again. There is no precedent. That’s why ObamaCare is going to the Supreme Court.

You’ll have to wait for quotes that are applicable. In the meantime your aren’t.

darwin on March 1, 2012 at 10:38 AM

i think scalia was very clear. but hey, I agree, lets what for the scotus rulling.

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 10:46 AM

Why should teh Vatican bend to the dictates of the state … especially when it’s protected by the 1st Amendment?

darwin on March 1, 2012 at 9:32 AM

tell that to the mormons that cannot have polygamy.

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 10:11 AM

You could have had a point if you would quit using a religious group that isn’t asking for what you claim they are asking. I know, as I am one. I wish some of you would get a clue.
We bowed and caved in, for survival as you all would have sent armies to destroy what few of us there were if we continued with the practice. That is the brutal reality.
What the Catholics provide is without measure to our economy and culture, but make no mistake if they hold to their word they will do more than survive this blowout with a blowhard, they will thrive.

Noelie on March 1, 2012 at 10:48 AM

liberal4life on March 1, 2012 at 10:24 AM

Women are free to get employment from someone other than unmarried men. Nobody has a right to demand employment from the Catholic Church. Employment is a priviledge, a contract between employer and employee. Don’t fulfill your side, and see how long you remain employed.

mabryb1 on March 1, 2012 at 10:48 AM

The Democrat idea is to collapse everything into a single, unified, government-run system. In the long run the church-owned and operated enterprises would have to go or succumb to federal control anyway, so Obama doesn’t particularly whether they put themselves out of business, or he does, sooner or later.

But the church has other call-his-bluff options. Speciality-treatment centers particularly would be welcome additions to any nation’s economy. They’re building the hospitals now in Mexico, Costa Rica, and–soon perhaps?– the Cayman Islands! Free or low-cost travel and subsidized care vouchers issued with a parish imprimatur to those who can least afford it.

The government would have to outlaw travel. Maybe erect a wall…

de rigueur on March 1, 2012 at 10:50 AM

Ummm, the Church invented the business of education and healthcare. It is the government that recently entered those two sectors and now wants to elbow them aside.

AH_C on March 1, 2012 at 10:46 AM

the church DID NOT INVENT the business of healthcare and education. it has been around long before there was a pope in this planet. once upon a time the church DID HAVE THE MONOPOLY of healthcare and education, those times where called the dark ages.

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 10:51 AM

those times where called the dark ages.

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 10:51 AM

Do you have any idea why the so-called “Dark Age” began?

darwin on March 1, 2012 at 10:54 AM

That quote is non-applicable. There is no precedent for the government forcing any organization, much less a religious organization to buy something from a private company that is against it’s views.
darwin on March 1, 2012 at 10:22 AM
read again scalia:
Congress and the courts have been sensitive to the needs flowing from the Free Exercise Clause, but every person cannot be shielded from all the burdens incident to exercising every aspect of the right to practice religious beliefs. When followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes which are binding on others in that activity.
the church enters the business of education and healthcare by choice, so their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes which are binding on others in that activity
nathor on March 1, 2012 at 10:30 AM

Being involved in education and healthcare absolves you of your fundamental rights and means the federal government can force you to do whatever it wants?

The government doesn’t gave the authority to order any institution or individual in this manner.

gwelf on March 1, 2012 at 10:54 AM

liberal4life on March 1, 2012 at 10:24 AM

Women are free to get employment from someone other than unmarried men. Nobody has a right to demand employment from the Catholic Church. Employment is a priviledge, a contract between employer and employee. Don’t fulfill your side, and see how long you remain employed.

mabryb1 on March 1, 2012 at 10:48 AM

Good luck with that, you are trying to educate an entitlement baby, they are entitled – it’s their right. Someone proclaimed that contraception was a right so now they want their “Rights” fulfilled. They want their free stuff. And nobody is going to stop the government from taking it from us, and giving it to them certainly no religious institution is going to stand in the way of the ALL powerful STATE. They don’t care what it’s called (socialism) they just want their “Stuff” cause see they are poor, and sh1t, and in the word’s of our President it’s only fair. LOL!

Dr Evil on March 1, 2012 at 10:55 AM

Sorry, still no sympathy from this former Catholic. For decades the clergy has given sermons and made public statements supporting government programs and the use of government police power to enforce socialist policies.

(snip)

Over50 on March 1, 2012 at 10:12 AM

You must be referring to the post Vatican II “New Order” Church.
As personified by Pope JPII, the Nuevo Ordo church has been more focused upon “liberation theology” as exemplified by The Newman Center who harbors illegal aliens.
Sorry, not all of we Roman Catholics ever bought into the “New Order”. It took years, but hundreds of Traditional Roman Catholic Church (Tridentine Mass and all) have sprung up.
(just for some anecdotal evidence, visit one near you soon)

Lingua Latinae Mortua non est
~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on March 1, 2012 at 10:55 AM

The Catholic Church has seen the outcome of not standing up to authoritarian regimes in two world wars and what that meant in their results.

This time they do not want to be complicit in atrocities.

This is one institution that just may have learned a lesson from the 20th century.

ajacksonian on March 1, 2012 at 10:55 AM

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 10:16 AM

You really should learn to Shepardize caselaw. Smith is not on point nor is it good law. The issue in Smith was whether a state could deny unemployment benefits to someone, who used peyote as part of his religious beliefs. There is no constitutional right to unemployment benefits. More importantly, the case prompted the passage of Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, which passed the House UNANIMOUSLY, the Senate 97-3 and was signed into law by Bill Clinton. It specifically banned what Oregon attempted to do. Now, the Supreme Court ultimately held that the RFRA was unconstitutional….but ONLY AS TO THE STATES. It is still good law on the Federal level. So, it, not Smith, is where you should begin.

Moreover, you should read Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah, 508 U.S. 520 (1993), where the Court ruled that the government cannot ban animal sacrifice or punish religious organisations that sacrifice animals even if such behaviour would be criminal outside of the place of worship. Oh, and read Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC.

In fact, I can give you caselaw going back to Vidal v. Girard’s Executors, 43 U.S. 2 How. 127 (1844), that will help you understand where your analysis goes astray.

Resist We Much on March 1, 2012 at 10:55 AM

Thanks Mr. President for the laser beam focus on all the right things to get this Country back on track.
Remember in November: If you voted in the last election to prove you were not a RACIST, Vote this time to prove your not an IDIOT.
Lets send this homeboy back to Chicago or wherever he is from!

2eagles on March 1, 2012 at 10:56 AM

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 10:51 AM

And what caused the Dark Ages? The collapse and failure of both the Roman and Byzantine Empires. Both of which became overly bureaucratic and socialist, as a matter of fact.

Myron Falwell on March 1, 2012 at 10:58 AM

the church DID NOT INVENT the business of healthcare and education. it has been around long before there was a pope in this planet. once upon a time the church DID HAVE THE MONOPOLY of healthcare and education, those times where called the dark ages.

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 10:51 AM

Are you special?

Jung stressed the importance of individual rights in a person’s relation to the state and society. He saw that the state was treated as “a quasi-animate personality from whom everything is expected” but that this personality was “only camouflage for those individuals who know how to manipulate it”, and referred to the state as a form of slavery.He also thought that the state “swallowed up [people's] religious forces”, and therefore that the state had “taken the place of God”—making it comparable to a religion in which “state slavery is a form of worship”. Jung observed that “stage acts of [the] state” are comparable to religious displays: “Brass bands, flags, banners, parades and monster demonstrations are no different in principle from ecclesiastical processions, cannonades and fire to scare off demons”.From Jung’s perspective, this replacement of God with the state in a mass society led to the dislocation of the religious drive and resulted in the same fanaticism of the church-states of the Dark Ages—wherein the more the state is ‘worshipped’, the more freedom and morality are suppressed;[this ultimately leaves the individual psychically undeveloped with extreme feelings of marginalization.

Dr Evil on March 1, 2012 at 10:59 AM

Ummm, the Church invented the business of education and healthcare. It is the government that recently entered those two sectors and now wants to elbow them aside.
AH_C on March 1, 2012 at 10:46 AM
the church DID NOT INVENT the business of healthcare and education. it has been around long before there was a pope in this planet. once upon a time the church DID HAVE THE MONOPOLY of healthcare and education, those times where called the dark ages.
nathor on March 1, 2012 at 10:51 AM

What gives the federal government the authority to control education and healthcare?
Why can’t the HSS secretary demand you buy me a Glock to lower health care costs associated with crime?

gwelf on March 1, 2012 at 11:00 AM

Here is a link to an article from Catholic.org regarding this issue dated 2/27/12. It’s very interesting, and does not give any hint of them bluffing.

http://www.catholic.org/national/national_story.php?id=44903

Excerpt:
“Also, we must remember that the Right to Life and the Right to Religious Freedom are not only “religious” positions. They are rooted in our conviction of the existence of a Natural Law which must inform truly just positive laws. That Natural Law can be known by all men and women through the exercise of reason.It is increasingly apparent that President Obama and his administration do not respect fundamental human rights, including the Right to life and the Right to Religious Freedom.”

lea on March 1, 2012 at 11:00 AM

Myron Falwell on March 1, 2012 at 10:58 AM

Don’t forget the collapsing birth rate of Romans, aided by the prevalence of abortion (See Juvenal for that one).

mabryb1 on March 1, 2012 at 11:01 AM

A bunch of unmarried men should not be dictating to women what they can or cannot do.

The fact that they are unmarried means their opinion holds no weight when it comes to women issues…

liberal4life on March 1, 2012 at 10:24 AM

What are you… 13 years old?

Church membership is voluntary. Government dictates are not.

Wendya on March 1, 2012 at 11:02 AM

You could have had a point if you would quit using a religious group that isn’t asking for what you claim they are asking. I know, as I am one. I wish some of you would get a clue.

some splinter Mormon sects still ask for it.

We bowed and caved in, for survival as you all would have sent armies to destroy what few of us there were if we continued with the practice. That is the brutal reality.

armies were indeed sent to stop slavery . while polygamy was nothing close to slavery, it also has some nefarious effects, thus its prohibition. however, I believe it was mostly forbidden at the time because it offended the protestant morals of the majority.

What the Catholics provide is without measure to our economy and culture, but make no mistake if they hold to their word they will do more than survive this blowout with a blowhard, they will thrive.

Noelie on March 1, 2012 at 10:48 AM

you are seeing Obama against the catholic church. I see the the american state against the vatican. I am a nationalist, I choose the american state.

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 11:03 AM

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 11:03 AM

Translation: I am a statist; I worship the secular government as God.

mabryb1 on March 1, 2012 at 11:05 AM

I see the the american state against the vatican. I am a nationalist, I choose the american state.

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 11:03 AM

So … you’ve labeled yourself now as an athesist, a libertarian, and now a nationalist?

Methinks juggling all your identities while attempting to cover your extreme hatred of the Catholic church has you tripping all over yourself.

darwin on March 1, 2012 at 11:09 AM

My concern is that this will create a schism within the Catholic church. Imagine a group of liberal bishops splitting off and going with Obama. And all the liberal laity might follow them. The Catholic Health Association, Notre Dame University and other such insitutions might easily say “OK we will secularize.” But that may be good. The winnowing shall begin. Separate the wheat from the chafe, the sheep from the goats. For Catholics this is about the next world, not this one.

xrayiiis on March 1, 2012 at 11:10 AM

the church DID NOT INVENT the business of healthcare and education. it has been around long before there was a pope in this planet. once upon a time the church DID HAVE THE MONOPOLY of healthcare and education, those times where called the dark ages.

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 10:51 AM

In spite of your wishful thinking, you’re going to have to do better than that. In American history, it was most definitely the Church. In ancient history, it was still the various religious instituions and influence that operated both. Govt only became involved as a way of influencing the public one way or another.

Give a cite of secular govt giving public education or public health care. Hint, Wikipedia will not be your friend in this debate
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hospital
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_education

And hurrah for the Dark Ages, for it helped advance Western civilization. The Church has always been the force for good in the long run, in spite of missteps, mistakes and misrule.

AH_C on March 1, 2012 at 11:11 AM

you are seeing Obama against the catholic church. I see the the american state against the vatican. I am a nationalist, I choose the american state.

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 11:03 AM

I choose neither. I choose the First Amendment.

By the way, this isn’t only about the Catholic Church. Colorado Christian (NOT CATHOLIC) University sued Kathleen Sebelius and HHS on 21 December 2011 over the mandate and it is a Protestant university with no doctrinal dispute over contraception.

I am an atheist and an attorney. I don’t have a dog in the religious fight, but I have a big one in the legal and freedom arena. If you want to debate, put on some big boy pants and bring you best ammo…IOW, polly-wanna-crackering talking points about caselaw that has been superseded is not going to cut it.

Resist We Much on March 1, 2012 at 11:12 AM

The Catholic Church has seen the outcome of not standing up to authoritarian regimes in two world wars and what that meant in their results.

This time they do not want to be complicit in atrocities.

This is one institution that just may have learned a lesson from the 20th century.

ajacksonian on March 1, 2012 at 10:55 AM

The Catholic Church in the past has moved at a snails pace. Pope Benedict XVI, actually made a “State” visit to England and warned the population not to fall into the trap of Hitler’s brand of atheism. I remember because it caught that little girl Dawkin’s hair on fire LOL.

They are paying attention in Rome. Cardinal Dalton made the opening salvo on this issue.

It’s dumb to pick a fight with the Catholic Church. It was dumb to use Wall Street as a prop for his class warfare themed reelection campaign. Attack the same people you expect to donate to your campaign? That’s self defeating to say the least.

Dr Evil on March 1, 2012 at 11:13 AM

re: Over50 on March 1, 2012 at 10:12 AM…

My family and I have worked for a Catholic institution for well over 150 years total. Our various discussions on the inconsistencies of the Church on various issues, (none of us are Catholic, I am not religious), notwithstanding, still doesn’t excuse the blatant disregard of the First Amendment by Obama’s Sebelius. I would go to the mat to defend against this outrage. Who the hell do they think they are, dictating the terms of a religious faith?!

I think the Catholics should shutter their hospitals if this is allowed to stand, even though I would be unemployed.

trl on March 1, 2012 at 11:14 AM

Its no bluff. They’ll do it. An organization doesn’t last 2000 years without having adamantium principles. They know how to resist totalitarian and oppressive governments. They survived the Romans, the Muslims, the French revolutionaries, the nazis, the commies, they’ll beat Barry too.

Iblis on March 1, 2012 at 11:15 AM

And what caused the Dark Ages? The collapse and failure of both the Roman and Byzantine Empires. Both of which became overly bureaucratic and socialist, as a matter of fact.

Myron Falwell on March 1, 2012 at 10:58 AM

noo, the roman empire fallen because its was taken over by a totalitarian church, which persecuted all secular and religious power that opposed its will.

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 11:15 AM

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 10:16 AM

Nice try, dumba$$ but the quote didn’t address this topic. Scalia was addressing Obamacare specifically, not about mandates for the Church.

However, feel free to continue to make a fool of yourself. You’re doing a great job!

you are seeing Obama against the catholic church. I see the the american state against the vatican. I am a nationalist, I choose the american state.

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 11:03 AM

Interesting how you ‘conveniently’ ignore the clause of the First Amendment that clearly states, “nor restrict the free practice thereof [religion].” The Constitution is the foundation of the American state and your intentional ignorance of the Constitution proves that you’re a liar.

Kingfisher on March 1, 2012 at 11:15 AM

I choose neither. I choose the First Amendment.

By the way, this isn’t only about the Catholic Church. Colorado Christian (NOT CATHOLIC) University sued Kathleen Sebelius and HHS on 21 December 2011 over the mandate and it is a Protestant university with no doctrinal dispute over contraception.

I am an atheist and an attorney. I don’t have a dog in the religious fight, but I have a big one in the legal and freedom arena. If you want to debate, put on some big boy pants and bring you best ammo…IOW, polly-wanna-crackering talking points about caselaw that has been superseded is not going to cut it.

Resist We Much on March 1, 2012 at 11:12 AM

I wrote before, i am not sure if obamacare is unconstitutional. but if it is, I doubt it will be because of the first amendment.
I am no attorney, I let Scalia debate for me:

We have never held that an individual’s religious beliefs excuse him from compliance with an otherwise valid law prohibiting conduct that the State is free to regulate. On the contrary, the record of more than a century of our free exercise jurisprudence contradicts that proposition. As described succinctly by Justice Frankfurter in Minersville School Dist. Bd. of Educ. v. Gobitis, 310 U.S. 586, 594-595 (1940):

Conscientious scruples have not, in the course of the long struggle for religious toleration, relieved the individual from obedience to a general law not aimed at the promotion or restriction of religious beliefs. The mere possession of religious convictions which contradict the relevant concerns of a political society does not relieve the citizen from the discharge of political responsibilities.

(Footnote omitted.) We first had occasion to assert that principle in Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. 145 (1879), where we rejected the claim that criminal laws against polygamy could not be constitutionally applied to those whose religion commanded the practice. “Laws,” we said,

are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious belief and opinions, they may with practices. . . . Can a man excuse his practices to the contrary because of his religious belief? To permit this would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself.

Id. at 166-167.

Subsequent decisions have consistently held that the right of free exercise does not relieve an individual of the obligation to comply with a

valid and neutral law of general applicability on the ground that the law proscribes (or prescribes) conduct that his religion prescribes (or proscribes).

United States v. Lee, 455 U.S. 252, 263, n. 3 (1982) (STEVENS, J., concurring in judgment); see Minersville School Dist. Bd. of Educ. v. Gobitis, supra, 310 U.S. at 595 (collecting cases).

Justice Scalia reminded his fellow justices of the Court’s 1982 decision in United States v. Lee, where Amish plaintiffs protested having to collect taxes for Social Security, since they didn’t believe in government support programs as a matter of conscience. In that case, Chief Justice Burger explained for a unanimous Court:

The obligation to pay the social security tax initially is not fundamentally different from the obligation to pay income taxes; the difference — in theory at least — is that the social security tax revenues are segregated for use only in furtherance of the statutory program. There is no principled way, however, for purposes of this case, to distinguish between general taxes and those imposed under the Social Security Act. If, for example, a religious adherent believes war is a sin, and if a certain percentage of the federal budget can be identified as devoted to war-related activities, such individuals would have a similarly valid claim to be exempt from paying that percentage of the income tax. The tax system could not function if denominations were allowed to challenge the tax system because tax payments were spent in a manner that violates their religious belief.

He adds:

Congress and the courts have been sensitive to the needs flowing from the Free Exercise Clause, but every person cannot be shielded from all the burdens incident to exercising every aspect of the right to practice religious beliefs. When followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes which are binding on others in that activity.

If you want, i can argue that unfettered religious practice might not be feasible in our country unless we were extremely libertarian.

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 11:19 AM

well as a Catholic and an American, all I can say is GOOD! I do hope that the Catholic church does shut down its medical side. I am tired of always seeing them attacked because of this or that. So fine let them tell the libs ” I give you unto God”. see how well they will do.

ColdWarrior57 on March 1, 2012 at 11:21 AM

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 11:03 AM

Wow, Jr. High history lessons. No talk of the economic collapse of the 3rd century, no free-fall of Rome’s population in the 4th. I guess there weren’t any, say, Barbarians lurking about, were there? I’m sure Juvenal, Tacitus, and Suetonius were blowing hot air about the moral collapse of Roman society? A prevalence, say, of licentiousness, corruption, and abortion? Public education at work, folks.

mabryb1 on March 1, 2012 at 11:21 AM

If you want, i can argue that unfettered religious practice might not be feasible in our country unless we were extremely libertarian.

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 11:19 AM

Interesting how liberals always refer to anything as unfettered, except Obama’s government.

And before you retort that Obama was elected by the American people, let me remind you that he was elected to support the Constitution which includes the First Amendment. Please show me how your opinion trumps the First Amendment.

Kingfisher on March 1, 2012 at 11:23 AM

In spite of your wishful thinking, you’re going to have to do better than that. In American history, it was most definitely the Church. In ancient history, it was still the various religious instituions and influence that operated both. Govt only became involved as a way of influencing the public one way or another.

Give a cite of secular govt giving public education or public health care. Hint, Wikipedia will not be your friend in this debate
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hospital

hospitals? before hospitals there was no health care? why do then doctors make the Hippocratic Oath? he was greek pagan that lived around 400 BC you know?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_education

??
are you claiming that the romans and greeks had no education institutions? even your wikipedia article explains that well.

And hurrah for the Dark Ages, for it helped advance Western civilization. The Church has always been the force for good in the long run, in spite of missteps, mistakes and misrule.

AH_C on March 1, 2012 at 11:11 AM

enjoy your dark ages:

Original Source: Vlasis Rassias, Demolish Them!
Published in Greek, Athens 1994

314 Immediately after its full legalization, the Christian Church attacks
non-Christians. The Council of Ancyra denounces the worship of Goddess
Artemis.

324 The emperor Constantine declares Christianity as the only official
religion of the Roman Empire. In Dydima, Minor Asia, he sacks the Oracle of
the god Apollo and tortures the pagan priests to death. He also evicts all
non-Christian peoples from Mount Athos and destroys all the local Hellenic
temples.

325 Nicene Council. The god-man gets a promotion: ‘Christ is Divine’

326 Constantine, following the instructions of his mother Helen, destroys
the temple of the god Asclepius in Aigeai Cilicia and many temples of the
goddess Aphrodite in Jerusalem, Aphaca, Mambre, Phoenicia, Baalbek, etc.

330 Constantine steals the treasures and statues of the pagan temples of
Greece to decorate Constantinople, the new capital of his Empire.

335 Constantine sacks many pagan temples in Asia Minor and Palestine and
orders the execution by crucifixion of “all magicians and soothsayers.”
Martyrdom of the neoplatonist philosopher Sopatrus.

341 Constantius II (Flavius Julius Constantius) persecutes “all the
soothsayers and the Hellenists.” Many gentile Hellenes are either imprisoned
or executed.

346 New large scale persecutions against non-Christian peoples in
Constantinople. Banishment of the famous orator Libanius accused as a
“magician”.

353 An edict of Constantius orders the death penalty for all kind of worship
through sacrifice and “idols”.

354 A new edict orders the closing of all the pagan temples. Some of them
are profaned and turned into brothels or gambling rooms.

Execution of pagan priests begins.

A new edict of Constantius orders the destruction of the pagan temples and
the execution of all “idolaters”.

First burning of libraries in various cities of the empire.

The first lime factories are organized next to the closed pagan temples. A
major part of the holy architecture of the pagans is turned into lime.

357 Constantius outlaws all methods of divination (astrology not excluded).

359 In Skythopolis, Syria, the Christians organize the first death camps for
the torture and executions of the arrested non-Christians from all around
the empire.

361 to 363 Religious tolerance and restoration of the pagan cults is
declared in Constantinople (11th December 361) by the pagan emperor Julian
(Flavius Claudius Julianus).

363 Assassination of Julian (26th June).

364 Emperor Jovian orders the burning of the Library of Antioch.

An Imperial edict (11th September) orders the death penalty for all those
that worship their ancestral gods or practice divination (“sileat omnibus
perpetuo divinandi curiositas”).

Three different edicts (4th February, 9th September, 23rd December) order
the confiscation of all properties of the pagan temples and the death
penalty for participation in pagan rituals, even private ones.

The Church Council of Laodicea (Phrygia – western Asia Minor) orders that
religious observances are to be conducted on Sunday and not on Saturday.
Sunday becomes the new Sabbath. The practice of staying at home and resting
on Saturday declared sinful and anathema to Christ.

365 An imperial edict from Emperor Valens, a zealous Arian Christian (17th
November), forbids pagan officers of the army to command Christian soldiers.

370 Valens orders a tremendous persecution of non-Christian peoples in all
the Eastern Empire. In Antioch, among many other non-Christians, the
ex-governor Fidustius and the priests Hilarius and Patricius are executed.
The philosopher Simonides is burned alive and the philosopher Maximus is
decapitated. All the friends of Julian are persecuted (Orebasius,
Sallustius, Pegasius etc.).

Tons of books are burnt in the squares of the cities of the Eastern Empire.

372 Valens orders the governor of Minor Asia to exterminate all the Hellenes
and all documents of their wisdom.

373 New prohibition of all divination methods is issued. The term “pagan”
(pagani, villagers, equivalent to the modern insult, “peasants”) is
introduced by the Christians to demean non-believers.

375 The temple of Asclepius in Epidaurus, Greece, is closed down by the
Christians.

380 On 27th February Christianity becomes the exclusive religion of the
Roman Empire by an edict of the Emperor Flavius Theodosius, requiring that:

“All the various nations which are subject to our clemency and moderation
should continue in the profession of that religion which was delivered to
the Romans by the divine Apostle Peter.”

The non-Christians are called “loathsome, heretics, stupid and blind”.

In another edict, Theodosius calls “insane” those that do not believe to the
Christian God and outlaws all disagreement with the Church dogmas.

Ambrosius, bishop of Milan, begins the destruction of pagan temples of his
area. The Christian priests lead the hungry mob against the temple of
goddess Demeter in Eleusis and try to lynch the hierophants Nestorius and
Priskus. The 95 year old hierophant Nestorius ends the Eleusinian Mysteries
and announces “the predominance of mental darkness over the human race.”

381 At the Council of Constantinople the ‘Holy Spirit’ is declared ‘Divine’
(thus sanctioning a triune god). On 2nd May, Theodosius deprives of all
their rights any Christians who return to the pagan religion. Throughout the
Eastern Empire the pagan temples and libraries are looted or burned down. On
21st December, Theodosius outlaws visits to Hellenic temples.

In Constantinople, the Temple of Aphrodite is turned into a brothel and the
temples of the Sun and Artemis to stables.

382 “Hellelujah” (“Glory to Yahweh”) is imposed in the Christian mass.

384 Theodosius orders the Praetorian Prefect Maternus Cynegius, a dedicated
Christian, to cooperate with local bishops and destroy the temples of the
pagans in Northern Greece and Minor Asia.

385 to 388 Prefect Maternus Cynegius, encouraged by his fanatic wife, and
bishop ‘Saint’ Marcellus with his gangs, scour the countryside and sack and
destroy hundreds of Hellenic temples, shrines and altars. Among others they
destroy the temple of Edessa, the Cabeireion of Imbros, the temple of Zeus
in Apamea, the temple of Apollo in Dydima and all the temples of Palmyra.

Thousands of innocent pagans from all sides of the empire suffer martyrdom
in the notorious death camps of Skythopolis.

386 Theodosius outlaws the care of the sacked pagan temples.

388 Public talks on religious subjects are outlawed by Theodosius. The old
orator Libanius sends his famous epistle “Pro Templis” to Theodosius with
the hope that the few remaining Hellenic temples will be respected and
spared.

389 to 390 All non-Christian calendars and dating-methods are outlawed.
Hordes of fanatic hermits from the desert flood the cities of the Middle
East and Egypt and destroy statues, altars, libraries and pagan temples, and
lynch the pagans. Theophilus, Patriarch of Alexandria, starts heavy
persecutions against non-Christian peoples, turning the temple of Dionysius
into a Christian church, burning down the Mithraeum of the city, destroying
the temple of Zeus and burlesques the pagan priests before they are killed
by stoning. The Christian mob profanes the cult images.

391 On 24th February, a new edict of Theodosius prohibits not only visits to
pagan temples but also looking at the vandalized statues. New heavy
persecutions occur all around the empire. In Alexandria, Egypt, pagans, led
by the philosopher Olympius, revolt and after some street fights they lock
themselves inside the fortified temple of the god Serapis (the Serapeion).
After a violent siege, the Christians take over the building, demolish it,
burn its famous library and profane the cult images.

392 On 8th November, Theodosius outlaws all the non-Christian rituals and
names them “superstitions of the gentiles” (gentilicia superstitio). New
full scale persecutions are ordered against pagans. The Mysteries of
Samothrace are ended and the priests slaughtered. In Cyprus the local bishop
“Saint” Epiphanius and “Saint” Tychon destroy almost all the temples of the
island and exterminate thousands of non-Christians. The local Mysteries of
goddess Aphrodite are ended. Theodosius’s edict declares:

“The ones that won’t obey pater Epiphanius have no right to keep living in
that island.”

The pagans revolt against the Emperor and the Church in Petra, Aeropolis,
Rafia, Gaza, Baalbek and other cities of the Middle East.

393 The Pythian Games, the Aktia Games and the Olympic Games are outlawed as
part of the Hellenic “idolatry”. The Christians sack the temples of Olympia.

395 Two new edicts (22nd July and 7th August) cause new persecutions against
pagans. Rufinus, the eunuch Prime Minister of Emperor Flavius Arcadius
directs the hordes of baptized Goths (led by Alaric) to the country of the
Hellenes. Encouraged by Christian monks the barbarians sack and burn many
cities (Dion, Delphi, Megara, Corinth, Pheneos, Argos, Nemea, Lycosoura,
Sparta, Messene, Phigaleia, Olympia, etc.), slaughter or enslave innumerable
gentile Hellenes and burn down all the temples. Among others, they burn down
the Eleusinian Sanctuary and burn alive all its priests (including the
hierophant of Mithras Hilarius).

396 On 7th December, a new edict by Arcadius orders that paganism be treated
as high treason. Imprisonment of the few remaining pagan priests and
hierophants.

397 “Demolish them!” Flavius Arcadius orders that all the still standing
pagan temples be demolished.

398 The 4th Church Council of Carthage prohibits everybody, including
Christian bishops, from studying pagan books. Porphyrius, bishop of Gaza,
demolishes almost all the pagan temples of his city (except nine of them
that remain active).

399 With a new edict (13th July) Flavius Arcadius orders all remaining pagan
temples, mainly in the countryside, be immediately demolished.

400 Bishop Nicetas destroys the Oracle of Dionysus in Vesai and baptizes all
the non-Christians of this area.

401 The Christian mob of Carthage lynches non-Christians and destroys
temples and “idols”. In Gaza too, the local bishop “Saint” Porphyrius sends
his followers to lynch pagans and to demolish the remaining nine still
active temples of the city.

The 15th Council of Chalcedon orders all the Christians that still keep good
relations with their non-Christian relatives to be excommunicated (even
after their death).

405 John Chrysostom sends hordes of grey-dressed monks armed with clubs and
iron bars to destroy the “idols” in all the cities of Palestine.

406 John Chrysostom collects funds from rich Christian women to financially
support the demolition of the Hellenic temples. In Ephesus he orders the
destruction of the famous temple of Artemis. In Salamis, Cyprus, “Saints”
Epiphanius and Eutychius continue the persecutions of the pagans and the
total destruction of their temples and sanctuaries.

407 A new edict outlaws once more all the non-Christian acts of worship.

408 The emperor of the Western Empire, Honorius, and the emperor of the
Eastern Empire, Arcadius, order all the sculptures of the pagan temples to
be either destroyed or to be taken away. Private ownership of pagan
sculpture is also outlawed. The local bishops lead new heavy persecutions
against the pagans and new book burning. The judges that have pity for the
pagans are also persecuted. “Saint” Augustine massacres hundreds of
protesting pagans in Calama, Algeria.

409 Another edict orders all methods of divination including astrology to be
punished by death.

415 In Alexandria, the Christian mob, urged by the bishop Cyril, attacks a
few days before the Judeo-Christian Pascha (Easter) and cuts to pieces the
famous and beautiful philosopher Hypatia. The pieces of her body, carried
around by the Christian mob through the streets of Alexandria, are finally
burned together with her books in a place called Cynaron.

On 30th August, new persecutions start against all the pagan priests of
North Africa who end their lives either crucified or burned alive. Emperor
Theodosius II expels the Jews from Alexandria.

416 The inquisitor Hypatius, alias “The Sword of God”, exterminates the last
pagans of Bithynia. In Constantinople (7th December) all non-Christian army
officers, public employees and judges are dismissed.

423 Emperor Theodosius II declares (8th June) that the religion of the
pagans is nothing more than “demon worship” and orders all those who persist
in practicing it to be punished by imprisonment and torture.

429 The temple of goddess Athena (Parthenon) on the Acropolis of Athens is
sacked. The Athenian pagans are persecuted.

431 Council of Ephesus (“Robber Synod”). Promotion for the god-man – “Christ
is complete God and complete man.”

435 On 14th November, a new edict by Theodosius II orders the death penalty
for all “heretics” and pagans of the empire. Only Judaism is considered a
legal non-Christian religion.

438 Theodosius II issues an new edict (31st January) against the pagans,
incriminating their “idolatry” as the reason of a recent plague!

440 to 450 The Christians demolish all the monuments, altars and temples of
Athens, Olympia, and other Greek cities.
book burning
448 Theodosius II orders all non-Christian books to be burned.

450 All the temples of Aphrodisias (the City of the Goddess Aphrodite) are
demolished and all its libraries burned down. The city is renamed
Stavroupolis (City of the Cross).

451 Council of Chalcedon. New edict by Theodosius II (4th November)
emphasizes that “idolatry” is punished by death. Assertion of orthodox
doctrine over the ‘Monophysites’ – ‘JC has single, divine nature.’

457 to 491 Sporadic persecutions against the pagans of the Eastern Empire.
Among others, the physician Jacobus and the philosopher Gessius are
executed. Severianus, Herestios, Zosimus, Isidorus and others are tortured
and imprisoned. The proselytizer Conon and his followers exterminate the
last non-Christians of Imbros Island, Northeast Aegean Sea. The last
worshippers of Lavranius Zeus are exterminated in Cyprus.

482 to 488 The majority of the pagans of Minor Asia are exterminated after a
desperate revolt against the emperor and the Church.

486 More “underground” pagan priests are discovered, arrested, burlesqued,
tortured and executed in Alexandria, Egypt.
full body baptism 515 Baptism becomes obligatory even for those that
already say they are Christians.

The emperor of Constantinople, Anastasius, orders the massacre of the pagans
in the Arabian city Zoara and the demolition of the temple of local god
Theandrites.

523 Emperor Justin I outlaws the Arian heresy and campaigns to suppress
Arianism everywhere.

528 Emperor Justinian outlaws the “alternative” Olympian Games of Antioch.
He also orders the execution-by fire, crucifixion, tearing to pieces by wild
beasts or cutting to pieces by iron nails-of all who practice “sorcery,
divination, magic or idolatry” and prohibits all teachings by the pagans
(“the ones suffering from the blasphemous insanity of the Hellenes”).

529 Justinian outlaws the Athenian Philosophical Academy and has its
property confiscated.

532 The inquisitor Ioannis Asiacus, a fanatical monk, leads a crusade
against the pagans of Minor Asia.

542 Justinian allows the inquisitor Ioannis Asiacus to forcibly convert the
pagans of Phrygia, Caria and Lydia in Asia Minor. Within 35 years of this
crusade, 99 churches and 12 monasteries are built on the sites of demolished
pagan temples.

546 Hundreds of pagans are put to death in Constantinople by the inquisitor
Ioannis Asiacus.

556 Justinian orders the notorious inquisitor Amantius to go to Antioch, to
find, arrest, torture and exterminate the last non-Christians of the city
and burn all the private libraries down.

562 Mass arrests, burlesquing, tortures, imprisonments and executions of
gentile Hellenes in Athens, Antioch, Palmyra and Constantinople.

578 to 582 The Christians torture and crucify Hellenes all around the
Eastern Empire, and exterminate the last non-Christians of Heliopolis
(Baalbek).

580 The Christian inquisitors attack a secret temple of Zeus in Antioch. The
priest commits suicide, but the rest of the pagans are arrested. All the
prisoners, the Vice Governor Anatolius included, are tortured and sent to
Constantinople to face trial. Sentenced to death they are thrown to the
lions. The wild animals being unwilling to tear them to pieces, they end up
crucified. Their dead bodies are dragged in the streets by the Christian mob
and afterwards thrown unburied in the dump.

583 New persecutions against the gentile Hellenes by Emperor Maurice.

590 In all the Eastern Empire the Christian accusers “discover” pagan
conspiracies. New storm of torture and executions.

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 11:30 AM

Wow, Jr. High history lessons. No talk of the economic collapse of the 3rd century, no free-fall of Rome’s population in the 4th. I guess there weren’t any, say, Barbarians lurking about, were there? I’m sure Juvenal, Tacitus, and Suetonius were blowing hot air about the moral collapse of Roman society? A prevalence, say, of licentiousness, corruption, and abortion? Public education at work, folks.

mabryb1 on March 1, 2012 at 11:21 AM

read the real collapse on my previous post.

http://hotair.com/archives/2012/03/01/what-if-catholic-bishops-arent-bluffing/comment-page-2/#comment-5550643

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 11:32 AM

Interesting how liberals always refer to anything as unfettered, except Obama’s government.

I am not liberal.

And before you retort that Obama was elected by the American people, let me remind you that he was elected to support the Constitution which includes the First Amendment. Please show me how your opinion trumps the First Amendment.

Kingfisher on March 1, 2012 at 11:23 AM

I wont copy past again scalia remarks on that. check my previous post and debate scalia, not me.

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 11:34 AM

blackmail or extortion won’t work for the Catholic church. . .besides, they will continue to support Democrats (no matter what). Why don’t they use their energy to help repeal Obamacare in total? That will call their bluff . . . .this is also a loser for Republicans . . . anti-women’s health and all of that. . . if Romney would come out strong for the full repeal of Obamacare, we might be able to get somewhere. Otherwise, the Repbulicans will continue to flounder and the country is in a lose-lose battle (assuming Romney is the nominee that will face Obama in November).

Pragmatic on March 1, 2012 at 11:35 AM

I think removing Catholic influence is more important to the left than any of the multitude of services they provide to the people the left supposedly cares about.

darwin on March 1, 2012 at 8:47 AM

This. I think they’d like it even better if the Church simply failed to comply. This administration would love to jail all senior Catholic clergy & lay administrators. They hate the Church. They hate faithful Catholics.

theCork on March 1, 2012 at 11:35 AM

Did you mean a pair of Jack O’Malleys?

djaymick on March 1, 2012 at 11:36 AM

This would not be good for the Catholic church, especially as contemporary society views things. They remove 12% of all hospitals and care facilities simply because they don’t want condoms available? So when the press starts with the sob stories that people can’t get a hospital bed because the Catholics folded up a hospital, people are going to put that on Obama?

Heck, we’ve got people on Hot Air that aren’t immune to story manipulation by the press and bad appearances. The American people don’t think in terms of rights anymore–they just don’t, they think in terms of hardships and solutions, because that’s been a successful seller from the Pandercrats and the propagandist media.

I can’t think of a more delightful prospect to a guy who wants to collapse the system and demagog blame, with a complicit media behind him.

In a few years, no one will understand the RCC’s problem with this.

Axeman on March 1, 2012 at 11:38 AM

Obama may be pushing all in with only a pair of jacks deuces.

See ya in the “Losers Lounge” come election day!!

Tim_CA on March 1, 2012 at 11:40 AM

I am no attorney, I let Scalia debate for me:

Once again, dunce, the passage that you are citing of Scalia’s is from Smith v Oregon. It was superseded by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, which passed the House UNANIMOUSLY, the Senate 97-3, and was signed into law by Bill Clinton. While the RFRA was held unconstitutional at the STATE level in City of Boerne v. Flores, 521 U.S. 507 (1997) on Fourteenth Amendment grounds, not First Amendment grounds, it is still valid and binding law at the Federal level. Furthermore, Smith was superseded by Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah, 508 U.S. 520 (1993).

Smith involved the state denying unemployment benefits to a peyote user. It had nothing to do with the government forcing a religious institution to do something that violates a fundamental tenet of its faith. The Supreme Court has held for nearly two centuries that the government may not involve itself in doctrinal matters of any church.

Your continued copying and pasting of Scalia’s writing in Smith is just making you look foolish. It is as if you are citing Plessy v. Ferguson.

Resist We Much on March 1, 2012 at 11:41 AM

Pretty sure they mean what they say. Would not put money on Obama.

jeanie on March 1, 2012 at 11:41 AM

Axeman on March 1, 2012 at 11:38 AM

If this was about condoms the women in question could get them free from Planned Parenthood.

The contraceptive mandate is more than just providing condoms.

Dr Evil on March 1, 2012 at 11:41 AM

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