... forming the backbone of any decent and compassionate Catholic healthcare plan.
Entrance question(s): So, what exactly was the motivation for the Obama administration to force Catholic employers to cover contraceptive and sterilization devices for their employees and thus force them to violate their religious principles? Don't they already have the radical secularist vote tied up?
And the GOP response:
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., introduced the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 2012 today, marking the GOP's first legislative response to the Obama administration's regulation requiring coverage of contraception and sterilization for all private employer health plans.
The bill is designed to repeal the narrow religious exemption included in the federal rule. Approved on Jan. 20, it has since been denounced by Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and more than 100 bishops throughout the nation.
In a statement released Jan. 31 marking his sponsorship of the legislation, the freshman senator described the contraception mandate issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as a violation of "the conscience rights and religious liberties of our people."
And why "...of 2012"? Because there is already a Religious Freedom Restoration Act on the books making this particular bit of regulatory thuggery that much more pernicious.
So, we can just rely on the courts to strike this down, right? Not so fast.
Thomas Farr, the director of the Religious Freedom Project at Georgetown's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, acknowledged that a number of legal scholars share Whelan's judgment that the contraception mandate is already in violation of the "existing Religious Freedom Restoration Act. If these views are correct, the Obama administration's assault on Catholicism and the religious consciences of millions of Americans will ultimately fail in the courts."
That said, Farr added, "The courts have been notoriously fickle on religious-liberty issues. While there have been some encouraging decisions recently, such as Hosanna Tabor, those decisions tend to support internal church autonomy, not matters of public policy."
"It is the fickleness of the courts, as well as the anti-Catholic hostility of the Obama administration, that makes Senator Rubio's Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 2012 so important. It deserves the support of Catholics and other religious groups who share their concerns," stated Farr.
Asked whether his bill signals that the HHS rule will become an issue for voters, Rubio told the Register, “I think it will emerge as an issue for those who believe in religious freedom.”
He linked the issue to the larger theme of government overreach that has surfaced in recent GOP debates.
“It tells us a lot about the administration’s overreach in all parts of our lives,” he said during a telephone interview, noting his concerns about the new health bill, among other issues.
Bingo. Rubio gets it. One can even be rabidly pro-choice to see how this ObamaCare provision is a clear overstep into one's practice of religion. Nice little litmus test we have here to see how pro-choice those pro-choicers out there really are. We are not, however, holding our breath.
For years, we've heard the liberal-Left lament the inevitable coming of the evangelical caliphate were conservatives from Ronald Reagan back in the day to Michelle Bachmann of more recent vintage allowed legislative powers to gut the first amendment. However, if you've been paying somewhat close attention to the developments of the past three or four decades and the radicalization of elements of the Democratic Party, you will not find it ironic in the slightest that this most pointed assault on the 1st amendment and religious freedom is coming from that very religious bogeyman-fearing liberal-Left set.
P.S. We will be proud to vote for Rubio in 2016 when we primary Mitten's ass.