Phil Lawler of CatholicCulture.org offers an in-depth analysis of President Obama's accommodation of the religious Left in the flap over his administration's coercion of religious institutions, most obviously Catholic ones.
Catholic Leftists like Sr. Carol Keehan, D.C., President of the Catholic Health Association--known as Obama's nun; the presumptive Bishop of the American Church recognized by secularists and self-hating Catholics--approve of the State intruding upon the Church's internal governance. They won't object about that until Catholic governance reflects their beliefs, at which time enough will be enough, the lamb will lay down with the lion, and Church-State relations will achieve heights of cooperative tranquility unknown to mankind since the Warsaw Pact.
Rather, the President's offense was that the State had been too overt, too clumsy, too flippant, too obviously tyrannical in pushing its beliefs on those who think differently about sexuality than the President and his fellow travelers. Surprisingly, the Catholic Left chaffed: a group he can ill afford to lose in his continuing quest to reshape America in his image and likeness.
In a perceptive analysis of the political debate, reporter Laurie Goodstein of the New York Times said that in its decision to amend the original HHS mandate, the Obama administration was “never really driven by a desire to mollify Roman Catholic bishops, who were strongly opposed to the plan.” She explained:
Rather, the fight was for Sister Carol Keehan--head of an influential Catholic hospital group, who had supported President Obama’s health care law--and Catholic allies of the White House seen as the religious left. Sister Keehan had told the White House that the new rule, part of the health care law, went too far.
Now that Sister Keehan has endorsed the Obama “compromise” (along with Father Larry Snyder of Catholic Charities USA), the Obama administration can claim that many Catholics, including some who had originally opposed the plan, now see the wisdom of his ways. President Obama does not intend to persuade the American bishops to support his proposal; he intends to siphon off support for the bishops among American Catholic voters, driving a political wedge further into the country’s Catholic community.
The Catholic Left will happily comply with President Obama's intentions; their intentions are one and the same. The Catholic Left shares more with his Statist beliefs than it does with the magisterium of the Church.
Can it be long before Frances Kissling shakes her pompoms at an ObamaScare rally?
Meanwhile, thoughtful citizens of good will concerned about the government's violation of consciences, and evisceration of constitutional protections, can ponder the following:
Perhaps fearful of being caught up in partisan politics, the bishops shrink from drawing the obvious conclusion from this revealing episode: that the Obama administration is contemptuous of religious freedom and determined to undermine the authority of the Catholic hierarchy.
President Obama, on the other hand, is not averse to a political battle with the bishops. And if he is willing to risk a direct confrontation with the bishops in this, an election year, one can only imagine how blithely he would ride roughshod over Catholic protests during a second presidential term, when he would not need to worry about re-election!Thankfully, citizens recognize that when the State presumes to define the religious identity and ministry of the Church, it's boot menaces many more throats than the one it steps on. It shouldn't be long before Elie Wiesel chimes in.