Religious Freedom and the Need to Wake Up

Lerner-IRS-Scandal

 “IRS officials have, of course, confessed that they inappropriately targeted conservative groups—especially those with ‘tea party’ or ‘patriot’ in their names—for extra scrutiny when they sought non-profit status. Allegations of abuse or harassment have since broadened to include groups conducting grassroots projects to ‘make America a better place to live,’ to promote classes about the U.S. Constitution or to raise support for Israel.

 “However, it now appears the IRS also challenged some individuals and religious groups that, while defending key elements of their faith traditions, have criticized projects dear to the current White House, such as health-care reform, abortion rights and same-sex marriage.”

 —Terry Mattingly, director, Washington Journalism Center; weekly column, May 22

Let’s begin this week with a simple statement of fact.  America’s Catholic bishops started pressing for adequate health-care coverage for all of our nation’s people decades before the current administration took office.  In the Christian tradition, basic medical care is a matter of social justice and human dignity.  Even now, even with the financial and structural flaws that critics believe undermine the 2010 Affordable Care Act, the bishops continue to share the goal of real health-care reform and affordable medical care for all Americans.

But health care has now morphed into a religious liberty issue provoked entirely—and needlessly—by the current White House.  Despite a few small concessions under pressure, the administration refuses to withdraw or reasonably modify a Health and Human Services (HHS) contraceptive mandate that violates the moral and religious convictions of many individuals, private employers and religiously affiliated and inspired organizations.

Coupled with the White House’s refusal to uphold the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, and its astonishing disregard for the unique nature of religious freedom displayed by its arguments in a 9-0 defeat in the 2012 Hosanna-Tabor Supreme Court decision, the HHS mandate can only be understood as a form of coercion.  Access to inexpensive contraception is a problem nowhere in the United States.  The mandate is thus an ideological statement; the imposition of a preferential option for infertility.  And if millions of Americans disagree with it on principle—too bad.

The fraud at the heart of our nation’s “reproductive rights” vocabulary runs very deep and very high.  In his April 26 remarks to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the president never once used the word “abortion,” despite the ongoing Kermit Gosnell trial in Philadelphia and despite Planned Parenthood’s massive role in the abortion industry.

Likewise, as Anthony Esolen recently noted so well, NARAL Pro-Choice America’s public statement on the conviction of abortionist Gosnell was a masterpiece of corrupt and misleading language.  Gosnell was found guilty of murdering three infants, but no such mention was made anywhere in the NARAL Pro-Choice America statement.

None of this is finally surprising. Christians concerned for the rights of unborn children, as well as for their mothers, have dealt with bias in the media and dishonesty from the nation’s abortion syndicate for 40 years.  But there’s a special lesson in our current situation.  Anyone who thinks that our country’s neuralgic sexuality issues can somehow be worked out respectfully in the public square in the years ahead, without a parallel and vigorous defense of religious freedom, had better think again.

As Mollie Hemingway, Stephen Krason and Wayne Laugesen have all pointed out, the current IRS scandal—involving IRS targeting of “conservative” organizations—also has a religious dimension.  Selective IRS pressure on religious individuals and organizations has drawn very little media attention.  Nor should we expect any, any time soon, for reasons Hemingway outlines for the Intercollegiate Review. But the latest IRS ugliness is a hint of the treatment disfavored religious groups may face in the future, if we sleep through the national discussion of religious liberty now.

The day when Americans could take the Founders’ understanding of religious freedom as a given is over.  We need to wake up.

This column by Archbishop Chaput was posted May 24, 2013 on Catholicphilly.com and is reprinted with permission.

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.

By

Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., is the archbishop of Philadelphia. Before his appointment to Philadelphia by Pope Benedict in 2011, he served as bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota and archbishop of Denver. He is the author of two books: Living the Catholic Faith: Rediscovering the Basics (2001) and Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life (2008).

  • Deacon Ed Peitler

    It’s refreshing and encouraging to have one bishop who speaks the truth boldly. Now we’d like to see columns on this matter from the rest of the episcopal team. We’re waiting….

  • AcceptingReality

    We are living under a soft tyranny. No doubt about it. Those of us with profound religious sensibilities are viewed by secularists as substandard in intellect and naively devoted to superstitions that have long since been rendered obsolete by science. They are mistaken about that but that’s what they think.

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  • Salutor

    So he seems to be saying that the bishops for decades have been pushing for national healthcare. I am glad that they admit that the present situation we are in originates from the US bishops. Do the bishops also promote forced redistribution of wealth? Perhaps this is why we are where we are also? People have a right to finances that afford them the means to sustain their life. Let the money everyone makes be controlled by the government? Whatever happened to the dignity of the human person with respect to work? Doesn’t work provide the greatest dignity of man in society and solve all the problems we have now? Why are they not pushing the government to the greatest extent possible, more than national health care and wealth redistribution, for increased jobs rather than spending without working? Do they think this is something out of their control? Do they think they are going to eradicate poverty though our Lord says “the poor will be with your always”? Who cannot see that present liberalism and increased government took as its model the bureaucratic nightmare and lead from the US bishops. Do not preach about the “Principle of Subsidiarity”. We are headed for Socialism. Socialism and atheism are closely united and now they are concerned about religious liberty?

    • publiusnj

      Ancient History. Never before in US History (at least since the 19th Century period of the Convent Riots, the Know Nothings and the Blaine Amendments) has the Church been threatened as it is today.

      • Dick Prudlo

        The threat is here and its the prelate’s whose cheer-leading of, not subsidiarity, but something else entirely that has the smell of the 60′s becoming the stench of the 21st Century

    • tedseeber

      Read Rerum Novarum, this time without the ideological filter. ALL of your answers are there.

    • smartypants

      If the bishops wanted to fulfill our call to take care of the poor and the sick, they could have organized a private, catholic driven network of charity hospitals and volunteer doctors. They chose to foist this off on the government and the US taxpayer and this is what results. Archbishop Chaput, with all due respect, Obama’s mandates weren’t ” unnecessary “, they were inevitable.

  • HappyAcres

    Sir, you state that you support state-mandated socialized medicine and then you bemoan the consequences. It’s hard to have sympathy. You do not seem to understand the nature of The State.

    • ColdStanding

      The proper address is “Your Excellency”, not “Sir”.

  • Obama_Dogeater

    How sad that the bishops and archbishops allowed themselves to be deceived by the biggest fraud in American history, Obama. Conservative Catholics like me were sounding the alarm about his empty promises in 2008. And still the bishops and archbishops are on the wrong side of other issues today, such as gun control, illegal immigration and wealth redistribution.

    • tedseeber

      I love how the Catholic Church is always on “the wrong side of history”, and yet in the long run, prevails.

      • Obama_Dogeater

        Prevails in the long run because of its parishioners, not clueless leaders.

        • tedseeber

          There have been many times in history when the parishioners were MORE clueless than the leaders (Arian heresy, for example).

          Americanism with its twin libertine attitudes supporting the mortal sins of lust and greed, is also a good example.

          • Obama_Dogeater

            And you blame all parishioners for that? That’s silly.

            • tedseeber

              Well, 98% of them, who decided to vote for the lesser evil in the last election.

              The only difference is who they thought the lesser evil was. Only 2% choose to ignore the major two parties and vote for a poltico who actually shared their values.

              The reason the Catholic Church prevails, is because She Teaches Truth- regardless of what the individual members say or do. And Truth Always Wins, in the long run.

              • Obama_Dogeater

                Agree 100 percent with your last graph!

              • Salutor

                The reason the Church prevails is not because of the bishops nor the laity nor any other human principle. It prevails because it is guided by the Holy Spirit. This is so obvious because we humans are so inept in running anything that will last for any length of time because of greed, power, or wealth. Had the Church been merely a human institution like all else, it would have fallen long, long time ago.

                • tedseeber

                  And the Holy Spirit is one third of the Truth Personified.

      • Alecto

        Nice sentiment, and very true. However it isn’t the Catholic Church’s survival I am concerned with, it’s the American republic. Our constitutional republic and the individual liberties God gave us (not the government) are being extinguished DAILY by this tyrant whom Chaput SUPPORTS! Honestly, these guys make me positively apoplectic! One of these days, Chaput, POW…to the moon!

        • tedseeber

          The American Republic has been done for since 1873, perhaps 1856. The liberties were gone when we began to replace local money with national money and the Supreme Court granted corporations superior rights to natural born human beings.

          The heights we once reached were gone with those decisions- everything since has just been putting on the brakes on a slippery slope, trying not to crash off the multiple cliffs we put in our own way.

          And to top it off, any good Catholic could have predicted the fall- after all, the Constitutional Republic was based on a *rejection* of God Given Individual Liberties (as expressed in the earlier Confederation and the Declaration of Independence). Freemasonic Deism is not a fit input for such a system.

          Our only hope left is to return to One Nation Under God. I saw Dolan as making a quixotic attempt at that by inviting Obama to dialogue. It failed, as have most attempts to redeem this nation, some quicker than others.

  • publiusnj

    Federal law (26 USC 7214) provides criminal and civil penalties for violations of civil rights (including religious rights) by IRS employees under color of the IRC law. That arguably has happened here.

  • NECatholic

    Archbishop Chaput – Two points: 1) Once the Church committed itself to socialized medicine – you’ve conceded control of what’s covered to the politicians, hence you have to pay up for abortion and contraceptive coverage; 2) Cardinal Dolan admits that the New York Diocese already pays for abortion and contraceptives and it has for years because of contracts with the SEIU union – as reported here – http://tinyurl.com/q9jtevw – by UPI – don’t you think these two facts plus the unwillingness to publicly censor pro-abortion ‘Catholics’ like Sen. Shaheen, Rep. Pelosi, all the Kennedy’s, Biden, etc. weaken your message significantly?

    • tedseeber

      1) abortion and contraception are not medicine, they’re quackery- the modern version of snake oil. 2) Absolutely right.

  • jaymis

    Let’s face it, we are in deep trouble and the US Bishops have led us right to the door of a socialist tyranny. Abshp Chaput has been one of the exceptions for years but he is outnumbered. The ongoing damage created by the Cardinal Dolan’s more than offset the Chaput’s in the Church. We reap what we sow is about to be confirmed again. God help us.

  • tedseeber

    With the stockpiling of 10 bullets per American by various federal agencies, I think this is just the tip of the iceberg.

  • Fides

    With all due respect Your Excellency, let’s start the week with an accurate rendition of the political facts within the management of the Catholic Church in the US.

    For example, the Bishops and Catholic intellectuals willingness to embrace the political agenda of Ceazar Chavez and his progeny’s efforts —- all of which clearly endorses the present administrations “health” and “political ” view points. When we speak out against the inconsistency of this attitude by Church leadership we are ostracized and yes we’ve been “turned in” by this very same leadership that is screaming foul now —your basic St. Joan of Arc dilemma—stand and fight, risk betrayal by your own church, watch as they hand out matches to the enemy—we, the faithful, are being wasted like cannon fodder.

    How many innocent priests have been wrongfully abandoned—after many of us have tried to help them and been penalized by the very same men who did not monitor the problem — for the greater good? Not the winning strategy of a “Good Shepherd”.

    You seek to inspire loyalty and fidelity among the faithful on this matter and yet the American Catholic Bishops have failed to show just leadership, compassionate strength, and faithful willingness to sacrifice — we the faithful need to lead you.

  • Alecto

    It is very difficult to resist the urge, the overwhelming urge to beat up on people who possess the collective economic knowledge and understanding of banana slugs, yet somehow feel compelled to dictate to 300+ million Americans what kind of healthcare they ought to have. I cannot and will not support American Catholic bishops in anything they do, mostly because they are ideologically-driven dupes for a radical progressive political agenda.

    For people who claim to be so “concerned” about “rights”, where were the bishops when Obama, Eric Holder, Nanny Pelosi, Harry Reid and the Democrat congressional contingency were beating up on those of us in the TEA party for simply exercising OUR rights to political speech, Archbishop? When dozens of senators were writing letters advocating penalties, and demanding unwarranted scrutiny for political speech consisting of advocacy for sound budgets and limited government? When they were lying about us and calling us racists? You were right there with them, so please crawl back in your hole and don’t even try to cry “victim” now! Most of you voted for what you’re getting. Now that you’ve got it, you act surprised? Your selective approach towards “rights” begs the question whether you understand the difference between fundamental rights and entitlements.

    Nationalized healthcare isn’t only unconstitutional, it contradicts the principle of subsidiarity. See, some of us do have half a brain. We’ve been awake for quite some time. We KNEW what Obama was long before he won the election and we have understood the progressive agenda for decades. Had you done your homework, you would have, too. Instead you and the rest of the bishops pushed the same old tired socialist drivel and now you’ve got to pay for your stupidity and greed.

    • patricia m.

      Excellent! As I said in another comment, they sold their souls to the devil and now they are surprised the devil is charging his price. What a bunch of hypocrites.

  • Carol Leeda Crawford

    Thank you God for a faithful Shepherd! – a St. Athanasius of our time.

  • HigherCalling

    The American bishops would be fully on-board with Obamacare (fully Constitutional) if not for that pesky HHS Mandate and some tax-payer blood money that funds abortion. Otherwise, a-okay from the leaders of American Catholicism, who still think that socializing health care has “needlessly” morphed into a religious liberty issue. Of course socializing health care is a religious issue. Socializing anything affects the soul of the culture and the souls of individuals, fundamentally. Because Obamacare fundamentally alters the relationship between the citizen and the State, fully inverting the proper relationship, a person’s religion automatically enters the equation. Perhaps that’s why the Church has explicitly condemned the falsehood of socialism for nearly two centuries, offering instead a hierarchy of Catholic principles based in ultimate truth. In a pluralistic, melting-pot society, that has never been favorable to Catholic teaching, little things like the HHS Mandate and some funding for abortion (fully Constitutional) are not “needless,” they are unavoidable. The teachings of some “medieval” and largely unpopular Church will never stop the relentless advance of the secular State, especially when that Church, through her leadership, has all-too happily wedded herself to the State for decades.

    It comes down to the bishops’ misunderstanding of the Founders’ notion of religious liberty. They’re working with an understanding of an America that never was. The State, by design, is purely secular. The Constitution, by design, is purely Godless. Never will the teachings of one religion have real influence over the secular, Godless, almighty State — by design. The evolution of secularism and its strengthening strangle-hold on religion began when America was conceived. Any actual influence religion might have had in the public square was neutralized when the Founders granted so-called “religious liberty” while deliberately rejecting the one thing where all liberty is found — in the Truth of Christ that makes us free.

    • Alecto

      The Founder’s notion of government was not what you promote in your post at all. They created a federal republic, not a national government, in which states reserved the bulk of power, not the central authority you articulate. We have strayed so far from the notion of “Federalism” that most Americans believe Washington DC is some supreme authority over the States. It simply isn’t so. Why do you believe the Founders included the 9th and 10th Amendments? For show? A government of limited and enumerated powers means the federal government doesn’t get to decide what powers it has! Dred Scott was considered “constitutional” as well. Didn’t mean it was. The SCOTUS gets 9 of every 10 cases wrong. The list of SCOTUS abominations goes on and on and on, and NFIB v. Sebelius is the latest.

      • HigherCalling

        I think we’ve had this discussion before. Other than our notions of the Founding/Framers, we are in agreement on most things. Do read the book I mentioned a while back. It’s quite long, but it explains things far better than I can.

        Until abortion is repealed, it is Constitutional. Until the Affordable (ahem) Care Act is repealed, it is Constitutional. They are the laws of the land with the full backing of the US Constitution and the policing power of the coercive State. Those laws (and dozens of others), I think, would be utterly impossible if America were not conceived as a purely secular State, whose laws were intentionally severed from the mere mention of God, let alone a specific religion like Christianity, whose Founder, if I’m not mistaken, claimed that real freedom (which the Framers deeply desired) is only found in the Truth, and that Truth is Him. The accelerating secularization of society, the ongoing loss of unalienable liberties, and the expansion of laws disconnected from Truth, just might be linked to that intentional rejection of Christ at the get-go.

  • Steve Mains

    Respectfully, let me say that Your Excellency’s theology is right, but your methods are wrong. We should be providing health care for those who cannot provide for themselves, but going to the government to provide it is the wrong answer — and the reason we are now under attack. Catholics should be providing health care as we always have; through charitable contributions, building and running hospitals and clinics, and providing the person to person contact that heals the soul as well as the body. We should not be asking the government to compel taxpayers to provide it. To do so cedes control of the type and quality of care, strips the essential goodness from it and decreases the quality of care for everyone.

    The government does not hold nor respect our Catholic beliefs, as has been shown in the current HHS mandate. If we demand the government do what we should be doing ourselves, we accept their beliefs, not hold fast to our own. The spiritual aspect, that we believe is so vital to care, will be lost. Anyone who cannot see that ignores reality.

    Jesus called us to be charitable to our fellow man. Mandatory taxes extracted by force cannot, by definition, be charity. We lose the very essence of charity when we support the government increasing our taxes to pay for what we should be providing through our voluntary efforts. The tax code is convoluted by efforts by every special interest to shift taxes to others, which is the opposite approach we are supposed to take on charitable contributions. To support higher taxes to cover charitable works steals the charity from the works.

    Lastly, we will ensure that the quality of care will decrease simply due to the inherent bureaucracy and pay-for-service attitude. Government bureaucracies are by definition inefficient, decreasing the resources ultimately available to provide care. And no government agency asks for volunteers to provide care to the most desperate of cases free of charge, but we do that every day in our Church. We live on the work of volunteers freely giving their lives to help our fellow man for the Glory of God. No government can do that.

    I thank Bishop Chaput for his thoughtful and honest input to the debate. I am sorry that he sees the government as the distributor of charity, rather than his own Church. We should tell the government to get out of the way and let us do it ourselves. In this year of evangelization, how better to show our faith and gain converts than to heal the sick, comfort the dying and raise the poor from poverty. If we push our responsibilities off on the government, we will do none of these things and fail our mission to preach the Gospel through our works as well.

    • patricia m.

      Excellently put, thanks for that. I never supported the government meddling into our lives and I could never ever understand why the Catholic Church would support it. It’s pretty much like selling your soul to the devil, and now, oh oh, look what happens! The devil is charging his price, well done.

    • NoreenD

      Excellent synopsis of the situation we are in now. The bishops should have spoken up long ago. It’s a little late in the day now. The day of the Catholic’s identification with the Democratic Party is over. The powers that be have no interest in the Catholic Church or it’s charitable objectives.

    • HigherCalling

      You are making the case for Subsidiarity, which I also did with Archbishop Chaput personally three years ago. We had a discussion that reflected the USCCB’s deep devotion to nationalizing health care in the name of social justice and the common good. I will summarize his reply here. You will see that not much has changed from then to now:

      * In a country as advanced as the US, health care reform really isn’t possible without the involvement of the government.

      * Since smaller bodies and local governments cannot handle the reform, subsidiarity is trumped, and the responsibility belongs to the federal government.

      * State-run health care should be opposed on Catholic principle, but only if there are workable ways of handling it apart from the State (there aren’t, according to the USCCB).

      * The question of health care is a prudential judgement, not a doctrinal one — so we are free to disagree with the bishops as long as we don’t undermine the principles of human dignity and the common good.

      Many of my conservative, non-Catholic friends are convinced that the Church is merely a front for Socialism. Many of my liberal Catholic friends agree. I’ve spent years trying to convince them otherwise (citing numerous Church condemnations of socialism, explaining the wonderful order and balance offered in Catholic Social Teaching, etc), to no avail. Given the bishops’ backing of Obamacare (apart from a few annoying glitches), my friends’ case is getting harder to refute.

      • Deacon Ed Peitler

        And when Obamacare and socialized, government-operated healthcare totally destroys the system which will inevitably happen, what will our dear bishops propose then to help those who have been hurt the most by this catastrophe – the poor, weak and marginalized? They will have to fend for themselves because the Church will not have the resources any longer to take care of them and the government will be in hock up to their necks.
        No, the socialized medicine will make the cleavage between the have’s and the have not’s worse than ever. For example, I have the financial wherewithal such that if I need to, I can travel outside the US and avail myself of the best healthcare that money can provide. And I will not be alone in this regard. Does anyone think that healthcare providers will not be exiting the USA to set up shop on Caribbean Islands to avoid the heavy hand of government-run healthcare? And those of us with the means will follow them there. What will remain in the USA are providers who are marginally qualified and minimally invested in the welfare of their fellow man.

      • Steve Mains

        Like you, I am always surprised that the Catholic Church opposes Socialism but its leaders race to embrace it at every turn.

        I’m sure you made the case that smaller bodies (by which I mean charitable organizations like the Church) are the only ones that can handle an issue as thorny as health care. Governments cannot and big governments especially cannot. What does the government do more efficiently or effectively than the private sector; especially a distant government like the federal government which is largely unresponsive to the desires of the people? If the Bishops need proof of the unresponsiveness, looks at Socialized medicine which would not have passed as most people opposed it and the HHS mandate. I’d ask the Bishops respectfully to name something the government does well so we could use that as a model for socialized medicine.

        Look at the difference between care for the rich and poor in the socialist paradises like Cuba or the old Soviet Union. It is far greater than the difference in our country. Look at the wait times for procedures in England and Canada compared to the US.

        Our dear family friend in Sweden who was denied sight-saving surgery by her government because she was “too old for it to be cost-effective” was confined to almost 20 years of blindness as her frailty increased. I didn’t see her government stepping in to minster to her needs, to comfort her in her distress — it was her family and her Church who cared for her. And if the family hadn’t been paying confiscatory taxes to pay for health care which was not delivered they might have had the where with all to pay for the surgery themselves.

        No, Your Excellency, you and many other Bishops have chosen a side. The apple looks sweet and juicy but the reality of the fruit you have chosen is dark and sinister. The evidence of history is all around you if you choose to open your eyes.

      • Alecto

        Surely he understands he and his brethren are guilty of the deadly sin of pride by supplanting their will for the will of 310 million Americans? How dare he think he knows better than we do what kind of healthcare we need or can afford.

      • Thomas R

        The choice for subsidiarity in the area of the provision of healthcare of the needy, over socialism and the immediate intrusion of secularism, does offer some beautiful possibilities – for faithful witness to Christ and His Gospel, for maturation of the members of the Church through the call (and the option) to sacrificial giving, for reason and compassion instead of rigid (mindless and heartless) bureaucracy and so on.

        It seems like a no-brainer. It seems that to see this choice as “a prudential judgement, not a doctrinal one” proves the USCCB to be lacking in prudence and unaware of the doctrinal matters at risk. Godless socialism is dangerously close to a preferential option for the poor, when material and temporal concerns on behalf of the poor dominate the conversation. Has the Church in America become so lacking in spiritual depth, so presumptuous in the matter of spiritual health and indeed of supernatural life itself, that material and temporal concerns are all we can see? Are we presuming that we, the Church, are certainly OK with all we owe God, so it is fine to render unto Caesar whatever he asks, and surrender all he demands? Have we even begun to render unto God what is His due?

        “The Church exists to evangelize.” (EN 14) “… all pastoral initiatives must be set in relation to holiness…” (Novo Millennio Ineunte 30)

    • cthemfly25

      Steve and Higher Calling—you both make excellent points. I wrote an article in 2009 addressing the USCCB’s preference for statist solutions in health care (one of many legislative “solutions” advocated across a broad spectrum of social issues including “climate change” and higher taxes for the “rich”). At the height of the debate many Catholics were sent “action alerts” from Catholic Charities demanding “action now” on the bill. As I recall that same battle cry was found on the USCCB website. The almost exclusive issue focused response to the bill from the USCCB was concerning abortion and conscience protection. Having studied much of the bill at the time, I found it maddening that few bishops had even read it or attempted to study its consequences and I concluded that the USCCB wanted to see passage of the bill.

      Health care as a form of authentic charity was the Church’s gift to may generations, and still is. As with all authentic charity, it is a gift for the giver and the recipient. Why this heritage was almost totally abandoned to the state without a recognition of the issues beyond abortion is beyond comprehension—because the irony of the complete abandonment of principles of subsidiarity has and will continue to feed the abortion beast. The Orwellian Affordable Care Act was never about (as many will recall) “accessibility, portability and affordability”. Rather it was about state control over the individual. That drama will continue to unfold and most unfortunately as there were many other market and regulatory proposals which truly would have addressed accessibility to health care.

  • FrankW

    I sincerely wish that the Catholic Bishops in the United States would wake up to another piece of reality: If this HHS mandate stands as is, it will force Catholic health institutes to do one of two things; either cut ties with the Catholic Church, or shut down.

    The end result of this is the complete removal of the Catholic Church from the delivery of any kind of health services in the United States. I believe this has been the administration’s goal from the beginning. When you remove religious institutions from the delivery of health services, it is much easier to pass laws which religious institutes find objectionable, as these religious institutes will no longer have a role in the healthcare industry.

    As Steve Mains mentions below, it has been extremely disheartening to see so many bishops seem to fall in line with the government takeover of health services. Experience
    should have taught all of us that allowing the federal government to usurp what once had been the duty of religious institutes could only lead to less effective care, more bureaucracy, and more unmet needs in the poor communities of our nation.

    The government is not, never has been, nor will ever be a sufficient replacement for the role of the Church. It is past time that our clergy learned that lesson, and stopped supporting government legislation that leads to this.

  • Thomas Q

    Your Excellency,

    Feeding the Leviathan (the State) is the last thing we need to do. If we want medicine free to the people we should work at a more local level and utilize subsidiary organizations to meet peoples needs and in such a way we can begin to halt the acquisition of power by Leviathan. A healthy society will have a balance of power between various bodies, with a special power being recognized as belonging to the Church. This power is often recognized in the Church when left to people within communities. However, Leviathan lusts for this power and does whatever it can to strangle out power from every subsidiary organization until it becomes the sole arbiter of all things, instead of God acting through His Church, the State, and individuals and the various societies they form. Leviathan can best leverage the people to do its will by creating a diverse society that will require Leviathan to step in and keep the peace. This is why Leviathan is naturally very tolerant, except of those organizations which seek to unite men, like the Church, since when men unite Leviathan grows weak.

    Yours Truly,
    Thomas

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  • Carl

    Indivisible, ISBN 1455503142

    Religion and Economics

    Social and economic issues are indivisible

    Freedom is indivisible from Religion and Economics

    Sin is the main reason we need government and also the main reason to limit government!

    It makes no sense to turn over our private health concerns to a bureaucracy and then complain on how they administer it—or act surprised when they dictate what we can’t and can do!

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