Judie Brown
Righteousness in government--impossible?
By Judie Brown
December 3, 2011

With the looming possibility that the Obama administration may remove conscience protections in healthcare from Catholic institutions, many are rightfully concerned about the implications. What will this mean for hospitals or other agencies that wish to follow Church teachings? Read today's commentary for Judie Brown's insights.

Righteous: acting in accord with divine or moral law: free from guilt or sin

— according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, it is the exemplification of a justice.

The fundamental principle of justice — in law, in governing, in treating all peoples with equity — is the cornerstone of a humane society. It is important to understand this fundamental truth in order to properly examine the innate absence of righteousness (justice) in comments and recommendations that are emanating from the Obama administration. Administration officials are currently addressing conscience rights, abortion profiteers, and other arenas that focus on the health and welfare of the American people.

An example is the recent comments of White House press secretary Jay Carney, who was asked why the president has not yet taken a final position on a proposed regulation that would literally force Catholics to either act against their faith in matters of birth control and abortion or depart from any healthcare entity controlled by or under Obamacare. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops strongly opposes this new regulation, known as the Preventive Services Mandate. In a recent letter, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, former chairman of the USCCB's Committee on Pro-Life Activities, stated,
    The HHS rule includes an exemption for "religious employers" so narrowly crafted that many religious organizations cannot fulfill any of its four requirements, let alone all four. Catholic health care providers, educational institutions and social services agencies would have to be listed in the tax code as a church or similar narrowly defined entity, make the inculcation of religious doctrine their organizational purpose, and largely refuse to hire or serve non-Catholics to be fully eligible. It has been said that Jesus and the apostles would not be "religious enough" under such a test, as they served and healed people of different religions. Moreover, even Catholic institutions that somehow manage to meet these tests would not be allowed to offer a Catholic health plan to non-employees — for example, to students at a Catholic college, or to members of the public (even if they are fellow Catholics).
The bishops have rallied others from the Catholic and wider healthcare communities to oppose the proposed regulation. In a recent news conference, White House press secretary Jay Carney was asked about how Obama would actually implement the regulation. Carney stated, "You can be sure that we want to strike the right balance between expanding coverage of preventive services and respecting religious beliefs. And that's the balance that will be sought as this decision is made."

To the president's pro-abortion base of support, this may sound like a cave-in to pressure from Catholic bishops, but one must read between the lines rather than become overly optimistic that Obama plans "hope and change" for this regulation.

Lest we forget, the pro-abortion Catholic leadership that surrounds Obama is doing everything within its power to undermine conscience rights at every turn. According to a writer from the Family Research Council, former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi "doesn't understand why the U.S. Catholic bishops are against requiring insurance companies to cover contraceptives, including known abortifacients. She belittles Catholics who object, conscientiously, to paying for or performing services that their church teaches are wrong."

Pelosi is joined by fellow pro-abortion Catholic Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, who never met a just cause she could support. Sebelius is the woman in charge of the implementation of these draconian regulations. But her actions regarding former Kansas attorney general Phill Kline's investigation of Planned Parenthood's scams are now public information and don't bode well for conscience protection. After all, any woman who would preside over the shredding of evidence that would have nailed Planned Parenthood to the wall is not a woman who should be telling healthcare agencies how to apply medical ethics.

The bottom line appears to be bad news for properly formed consciences where government regulation is concerned. Why? Because righteousness equates with justice and justice equates with respect for the dignity of the human being. And, sadly, these are not qualities embodied in America's healthcare policy these days.

© Judie Brown


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Judie Brown

Judie Brown is president and co-founder of American Life League, the nation's largest grassroots pro-life educational organization... (more)


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