Yes, there is a “Big Religious War” under way, but not the one that Dionne suggests, a manufactured “war” prosecuted by “right-wing” Catholics out of animosity toward the president. No, what’s under way is a real struggle over fundamental principles — namely the preservation of genuine religious freedom — with profound consequences for the country.

And it wasn’t started by the president’s political opponents. The aggressor here is the Obama administration. One year ago, it finalized regulations imposing the so-called HHS mandate — the requirement that forces employers to include free coverage of all forms of contraception, sterilization procedures, and abortion-inducing drugs in the health-insurance plans they organize for their workers. …

Scores of lawsuits have now been filed, and, as they have been winding their way through the legal system, it’s become clear that the bishops and their allies have very strong cases.

The administration knows this, which is why it has been suggesting for months that it was working on a genuine compromise that would make the court cases irrelevant.

With the issuance of last week’s faux accommodation, it’s clear that the lawsuits are as relevant as ever.