Topic: Decline of the West
How to explain Barack Obama’s decision to pick a fight with the Catholic Church by trying to force it to fund health insurance plans covering contraception, sterilization and morning-after abortion drugs?
Perhaps the President and his people are trying rally the Democratic Party base ahead of this year’s election. It’s no secret that progressives have become somewhat disenchanted by Obama’s failure to check every box on their wish list. Here was an opportunity to curry favor with the base by attacking an organization for which progressives harbor a dislike bordering on hatred.
Then again, perhaps the President simply believes that he’s doing the right thing. Unlikely as this may seem in the eyes of Obama’s conservative detractors, it’s possible that he’s taking a stand on the principle that universal access to health care means universal participation with no exceptions, not even partial ones, on grounds of religious belief.
Actually it’s likely that both politics and principle influenced Obama’s decision. But I think that an additional, long-range, consideration led to this seeming quixotic decision. The Catholic Church is the single most powerful voice on the pro-life side of the abortion debate. What would it be worth to progressives if that voice could be silenced? And what better way to undermine the Church’s pro-life credentials than by forcing it to compromise with the government over contraception, sterilization and morning-after abortion drugs? “Practice what you preach” may be a cliché—but if you say one thing while doing the opposite, you have no credibility.
The American Catholic bishops surely understand that if they knuckle under to Obama’s health insurance mandate, the Church’s credibility as a pro-life organization will go up in smoke. No doubt Barack Obama and his cabal understand this as well. Those are the stakes.