Obama Repeals First Amendment

No, I’m not exaggerating. The American experiment in religious liberty is officially over. The First Amendment provided institutional structures that allow different religions to peacefully coexist. All groups agree to not try to capture governmental structures for the benefit of their own particular denomination.

But the Obama administration has ended that truce.  The administration made a decision to require all employers to provide contraception, abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization.  The administration offers no religious exemption for people who have the audacity to believe that pregnancy is not an illness that needs to be always and everywhere prevented.

In effect, we have a new state religion, a new Established Church of the United States of America, with Barack Obama as its head. It is the religion of Secular Hedonism, the worldview that sex is a sterile recreational activity, with babies thrown in as an afterthought, an optional extra, for people with quirky life-style preferences.  The contraceptive mandate uses the full might of the US government to scrub the public square clean of any competing religious voices that dissent from the new orthodoxy.

But because this worldview is fundamentally irrational, it cannot stand on its own two feet. Some sexual activity does result in babies.  Not everyone wants their government acting as if the highest goal is that pleasure is to be sought.  Not everyone believes that the purpose of the government is to allow people to indulge themselves sexually, without a live baby ever resulting.

The Catholic Church for instance, famously opposes every precept of Secular Hedonism.  As a matter of fact, so did all of the Christian churches, right up until five minutes ago. The ancient Christian teaching is that marriage is the proper context for sexual activity and for child-bearing, for the good of children, women, and men alike, as well as society as a whole.

The government believes that this dissenting voice cannot be tolerated. It must be crushed. And, of course, from their point of view, they are perfectly correct. They have an established religion that says that every sexual act is intrinsically meaningless except for the meaning we might happen to assign it. They simply can’t allow someone to go around saying that each and every sexual act is sacred, and endowed by our Creator with inalienable significance.  From the point of view of Secular Hedonism, Catholicism must be crushed.

And of course, anyone else who dissents from the new orthodoxy must be crushed as well. That is why so many other faith traditions have joined in criticizing the Obama administration’s usurpation of power from civil society. The National Association of Evangelicals, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, Orthodox Christians and Orthodox Jews have all criticized the administration’s attack on religious liberty. These religious bodies know that their religious liberties are at stake as well.

The religious truce is officially over. The Established Church of Secular Hedonism has declared war on the rest of us, enlisting the might of the United States government on their side. We will respond using nothing but peaceful means.

We used to refrain from making religious arguments in the public square. We thought it was our duty. We thought it was good strategy.  The Ruth Institute has specialized in defending the ancient Christian teachings, using non-religious arguments.  This no longer makes sense. The arguments are still good arguments.  But there is no longer any reason to hold back from proclaiming our faith. Our position deserves respect, not simply because it is our “deeply held religious belief”.  Our position deserves respect because it is grounded in reason and evidence, and in a far deeper understanding of the human person, and the human good.  The ancient Christian teachings on marriage, family and human sexuality are superior to the teachings of the Established Church of Secular Hedonism.

If we don’t respond firmly, the Obama Administration will assume they can get away with ending religious liberty. This website, StopHHS.org will become a clearing house of info about the insurance mandate. Go sign their petition.


This article was originally published on MercatorNet.com under a Creative Commons Licence. If you enjoyed this article, visit MercatorNet.com for more.

Jennifer Roback Morse


Jennifer Roback Morse is the founder and president of The Ruth Institute, a non-profit organization focused on keeping the family together, protecting the rights of children and helping the millions of people who have been harmed by family breakdown. She is the author, most recently, of The Sexual Revolution and Its Victims (2015). The Ruth Institute free resource, "4 Questions to Ask Before Divorce" is available here.

  • hombre111

    Dunno.  This sounds like a lose/lose situation for everybody.  The bishops can’t even convince 61% of American Catholics that Obama’s compromise was a bad deal.   Most Catholics would agree on abortion, I think.  But birth control?  

  • Carl
  • Carl

    hombre111, that’s the Obama strategy!

    Dick Morris on fox News:  “I think that the conservatives are missing the point about this.  Obama did not make a mistake in this mandate.  It’s a deliberately calculated move on his part.  The Democrats realized that abortion is no longer a winner for them.  So what they’re trying to do now is replace it with contraception.  You remember that ABC debate with that paid Democratic hit man? George Stephanopoulos went after Romney trying to pin him down on contraception and Romney kept saying, “George, nobody wants to make contra- –” “No, but do they have the theoretical power to do it?”  Remember, it was five minutes, people were laughing at him.  Now he comes out with this thing on contraception. They want to create the idea — and it’s no coincidence that he came out with it after Minnesota and Colorado which were Santorum’s victories — they want to create the impression that the Republicans will ban contraception.”

    And Google search “Paul Rahe American Catholicism’s Pact With
    the Devil”

    I think there’s a lot truth here that needs to be exposed. 

    • hombre111

      This is a really complicated queston.  I have been doing a lot of reading from both sides, trying to figure it out.  I reject the strategy bit because I am repulsed by conspiracy theory.  Most often, it is a matter of different values or different points of view, well meaning people on both sides. 

      Anyway, I have done a lot of reading and still haven’t sorted it out into something could put in a single sentence or even a paragraph. 

  • Carl

    I mirror this observation:

    Paul Rahe:
    “I was reared a Catholic, wandered out of the Church, and stumbled back in more than thirteen years ago. I have been a regular attendee at mass since that time. I travel a great deal and frequently find myself in a diocese not my own. In these years, I have heard sermons articulating the case against abortion thrice – once in Louisiana at a mass said by the retired Archbishop there; once at the cathedral in Tulsa, Oklahoma; and two weeks ago in our parish in Hillsdale, Michigan. The truth is that the priests in the United States are far more likely to push the “social justice” agenda of the Church from the pulpit than to instruct the faithful in the evils of abortion.And there is more. I have not once in those years heard the argument against contraception articulated from the pulpit, and I have not once heard the argument for chastity articulated. In the face of the sexual revolution, the bishops priests, and nuns of the American Church have by and large fallen silent. In effect, they have abandoned the moral teaching of the Roman Catholic Church in order to articulate a defense of the administrative entitlements state and its progressive expansion.”

    • Carolyn McKinney

      I am a convert myself, and have never heard a homily that articulates the Church’s position on contraception (although there have been several obvious occasions for just such a sermon). It is sad that this topic, which is at the center of the deconstruction of our culture and families, is rarely spoken about even in the Catholic churches.

      • hombre111

        As an old priest, I was always reluctant to discuss birth control because I am not married and do not and cannot understand the married perspective.  Oh, I know, the Pope could.   But he did not have to stand face to face with people and impose something on people whose real experiences he knew nothing about.  I used to invite competent lay people to do that.  Mostly, they didn’t. 

        I would refer you to an excellent site called Catholic Moral Theology by modern Catholic moral theologians who are mostly lay, often married, women, or both.  Now they can speak with some interesting authority there.   An especially interesting discussion in this current freedom of religion blowup between Obama and the bishops. 

        • Carolyn McKinney

          I understand how that would have been hard, although as a priest, you would not really be “imposing something on people” — they have to decide whether to follow the teaching of the Church or not. There is freedom in Christ, praise God! 

          But, in order for them to fully decide, they must be told the Truth in no uncertain terms (and often, in my opinion), and they must understand that rejecting the Church’s position on this essential issue of faith and morals is a grave sin — not only because it is morally wrong, but also because in rejecting this central tenant, they are rejecting the authority of the Church itself.

          • hombre111

            First of all, it is not a central tenant.  A central tenant would be something like belief in the Trinity.   A central tenant would be something like, abortion is wrong.   A few points.
            1)   Birth control is not a grave sin.  In the second part of the encyclical, Pope Paul advises Catholics who are practicing ABC to pray to understand what the Church is trying to say, and to keep going to confession and Communion.  He advises priests to give the same advice to couples.   The Pope could not have said this if birth control is a grave sin.  In the face of grave sin, a person has to stop before going to Communion. 
            2)   The teaching is founded on a rational argument, the argument from natural law.   In the past, the Church has made some really bad arguments from natural law, such as the reasonableness of some forms of slavery and the inferiority of women.  Even St. Thomas made that kind of argument.   But a reasoned argument depends on three things:  1)  Logic   
            2)  The facts   3)  Point of view.   If somebody comes along with better logic, the argument falls.  If new facts appear, the argument has to be reconsidered.   And someone might have a better point of view. 

            I have spent a long lifetime reading and praying about Humanae Vitae, because I live where people are living in the middle of their joys and sorrows.  I am not sitting in some tower in Rome.  I get to sit in on the  joys, the struggles, and the anguish. 

            I think I have thought a lot harder about this and prayed a lot harder than the Pope ever did.  Sorry if that sounds arrogant, but I am talking about all the years since Humanae Vitae.   And I think the choice to take the most conservative, most extreme position on this question, as the Pope did, is simply wrong and continues to do great harm.  It destroyed the authority of the Pope, because routinely, the vast majority of Catholics simply reject the teaching.   It insults the good Catholics I know who live holy, generous, prayerful lives by trying to link them to the culture of death. 

            • Carolyn McKinney

              The Church has been unbroken in its opposition to abortion, contraception, infanticide, and cohabitation for 2,000 years (that specifically Christian morality is what has historically set Christians apart from pagans). The Church has taught and still teaches that contraception, like abortion, is “intrinsically evil.” I would call that a central tenant and willfully disregarding that teaching a grave sin.
              “[E]very action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible is intrinsically evil” (CCC 2370). “Legitimate intentions on the part of the spouses do not justify recourse to morally unacceptable means . . . for example, direct sterilization or contraception” (CCC 2399). “The Church has always taught the intrinsic evil of contraception, that is, of every marital act intentionally rendered unfruitful. This teaching is to be held as definitive and irreformable. Contraception is gravely opposed to marital chastity, it is contrary to the good of the transmission of life (the procreative.aspect of matrimony), and to the reciprocal self-giving of the spouses (the unitive.aspect of matrimony); it harms true love and denies the sovereign role of God in the transmission of human life” (Vademecum for Confessors 2:4, Feb. 12, 1997). Also, on your point that the Pope’s position “destroyed the authority of the Pope.” I’m sorry, but the Pope taking a position that is in line with 2,000 years of unbroken teaching does not destroy his authority. His authority CANNOT be destroyed by man because it was established by Christ himself. If people truly are Catholic, they understand, respect, and obey the infallible teachings of the Church, led by the Pope, the Vicar of Christ. People can be the most holy, generous, and prayerful individuals on the planet, but if they willfully disobey the Church on this issue, they are subverting the authority rightfully bestowed by Christ, which is tantamount  to disobeying Christ himself.For anyone interested, here is a great article from Fr. John Hardon on this topic: http://www.ewtn.com/library/christ/confatal.txt

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    “We used to refrain from making religious arguments in the public square.” – That was always a profound error, resting on what Laberthonnière called “a false theological notion of some state of pure nature and therefore imagined the state could be self-sufficient in the sense that it could be properly independent of any specifically Christian sense of justice.” 

    As Blondel pointed out, “one cannot think or act anywhere as if we do not all have a supernatural destiny.  Because, since it concerns the human being such as he is, in concreto, in his living
    and total reality, not in a simple state of hypothetical nature, nothing is truly complete (boucle), even in the sheerly natural order.”

    If we do not insist that religion is comprehensively, inclusively pertinent to the human condition, we shall, inevitably, acquiesce in the Liberal’s privatisation of religion.

  • Suresh

    When Obama made an “accommodation” to the policy, this is what CNN said in their breaking news —

    CNN Breaking News — 

    “President Obama today announced a compromise in the dispute over whether to require full contraception insurance coverage for female employees at religiously affiliated institutions.

    Under the new plan, religiously affiliated universities and hospitals will not be forced to offer contraception coverage to their employees. Insurers will be required, however, to offer complete coverage free of charge to any women who work at such institutions.Female employees at churches themselves will have no guarantee of any contraception coverage — a continuation of current law.”

  • Deacon Ed Peitler

    Let us not fall for the trap yet once again.  This fight is NOT ABOUT CONTRACEPTION.  It is about a dictatorial marxist atheistic regime that seeks to remove religion from the public domain and seeks to infringe on our 1st Amendment constitutional rights. 

    If we refuse to take the bait and not respond with “arguments about contraception” we will win this battle because 1st amendment rights affect ALL Americans – not just Catholics.  This is NOT a Catholic issue. To interpret it as such is to fall prey to the dictator’s attempt to drive a wedge between Catholics and all others.

    Repeat after me: “This is about 1st amendment constitutional guarantees.”

    • hombre111

      “Dictatorial marxist atheist regime?”   Good Deacon, where did you get your education?   I have studied philosophy and logic, under an intellectual discipline that would not permit me to make such wild remarks.   Taught me about intellectual integrity. 

      • Andy, Bad Person

         So I see your studies in philosophy and logic taught you nothing about engaging the argument since all you’ve done is make ad hominem attacks. You remember ad hominem from logic class, right?

        • hombre111

          You should have read my comment below.  The problem is, the Deacon’s argument is so irrational, it is hard to get a point of common discussion.   My logic prof used to just look us in the eye once in a while and say, that’s stupid!

      • Deacon Ed Peitler

        You are obviously superior in intellectual caliber to me.  God is to be praised for giving you such a keen mind.

        • hombre111

          I have no claim to a keener mind.  I do claim a less hysterical use of hyperbole.

          • Deacon Ed Peitler

            the hyperbole, my dear sir, is in your ego

            • hombre111

              “Dictatorial marxist atheist regime?”  Sounds like hyperbole to me. 

              • Deacon Ed Peitler

                #1 dictatorial – when you flout the constitution and  have placed yourself above the law, you are acting  dictatorially. From dicere – whatever he says, goes. Reference the “czars”
                #2 Marxist – redistribution of wealth is a cardinal principle. Reference also General Motors aka Government Motors.
                #3 Atheist – when you yourself are the messiah, the need for God is rendered superfluous.
                #4 regime  – another way of saying that the thugs have taken over the neighborhood.

                • hombre111

                  Thanks for explaining your thinking, good deacon.  But it is still rife with hyperbole so excessive I doubt if we can have a serious conversation.  

                  I cannot imagine some of the more thoughtful people who write for Crisis being so reckless with language.  CNS, sure, where they throw wild charges around, treating them like proven fact. 

                  But by signing yourself Deacon Ed Peitler, you are saying:  The reader can expect some sober thinking and a little gravitas.   


                  • Deacon Ed Peitler

                    I agree that conversation between us is impossible

    • pamelanak

       I whole heartedly concur. This is about a blatant grab for POWER using  the red herring of contraception, as the majority of Americans either use it or see nothing wrong with it.  If this is not fought tooth and nail, the next  “compromise” will be : “The government will not require RCs to marry homosexuals personally but wedding cermonies and facilities must be provided to those who chose to avail themselves of  the services. Only a matter of time.

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  • An excellent — long, but deeply learned and wide-ranging — companion piece to this essay would be one written by Bruce Frohnen today at http://www.imaginativeconservative.com.  Professor Frohnen shows that it is precisely the aim of the “progressive” to eliminate the authority of all the local associations that really make for a free society: and chief among those associations are the churches.  To this end they’ve propagated the absurd falsehood that the America of the Founders was secular.  The Church of Secular Hedonism not only fails to produce virtuous citizens (and, as all the theologians, all the pagan philosophers, and Jesus Himself would tell us, sin and freedom are incompatible), it fails to produce citizens at all; its result is the dehumanized, disintegrated, disconnected person of our time.

  • Father, they do not in fact speak with authority.  They speak from a necessarily compromised experience, nor do they take into account the whole issue; they see the matter only as it touches them personally, and at that only in a limited way.  One of these days I see I’ll have to help priests recover their spines, by giving you a cold hard look at one man’s experience of the world that the Pill has produced — or destroyed.

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