Michael Gaynor
Obama's ill-timed attack on religious liberty was a huge blunder
By Michael Gaynor
February 15, 2012

A President who would run roughshod over America's fundamental freedoms is patently unfit and should be removed from office.

The Obama plan to promote secular extremism by demeaning people of faith was worse than a crime, it was a blunder and it backfired bigtime.


Steven Ertelt, "EWTN, Priests for Life File Suit Against Obama Mandate" (http://www.lifenews.com/2012/02/09/ewtn-priests-for-life-file-suit-against-obama-mandate/): "The largest Catholic pro-life group and Catholic television station have filed suit against the new Obama mandate that forces religious employers like them to pay for birth control and abortion-causing drugs in employee health insurance."

The EWTN Global Catholic Network filed a lawsuit today in U.S. District Court in Birmingham, Alabama against the Department of Health & Human Services, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and other government agencies seeking to stop the imposition of the anti-conscience mandate as well as asking the court for a declaratory judgment that the mandate is unconstitutional.

"We had no other option but to take this to the courts," says EWTN President and CEO Michael P. Warsaw. "Under the HHS mandate, EWTN is being forced by the government to make a choice: either we provide employees coverage for contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs and violate our conscience or offer our employees and their families no health insurance coverage at all. Neither of those choices is acceptable."

The EWTN lawsuit is especially significant because EWTN is operated by Catholics, not the Catholic Church, and it emphasizes that the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution protected individuals with religious beliefs, not only religious institutions.

Mark Rienzi, Kyle Duncan, and Erik Kniffin of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty are representing EWTN and Warsaw explained that the lawsuit was filed "to defend not only ourselves but also to protect other institutions — Catholic and non-Catholic, religious and secular — from having this mandate imposed upon them."

The Obama Administration's zealous promotion of the secular extremist agenda is patently unconstitutional.

Warsaw explained: "The government is forcing EWTN, first, to inform its employees about how to get contraception, sterilization and abortifacient drugs, a concept known as forced speech. To make the matter worse, the government then will force EWTN to use its donors' funds to pay for these same morally objectionable procedures or to pay for the huge fines it will levy against us if we fail to provide health care insurance. There is no question that this mandate violates our First Amendment rights. This is a moment when EWTN, as a Catholic organization, has to step up and say that enough is enough. Our hope is that our lawsuit does just that."

The so-called Obama compromise reflects political concern, not constitutional respect.

It too would compel forced speech in violation of the Free Exercise Clause as well as forcing association by people of faith with activity that is anathema to their following well-established religious belief.

The First Amendment's protection of freedom of association protects individuals against forced association, just as its protection of religious freedom protects the right of individuals to be religious, or agnostic, or atheistic.

A President who tries to run roughshod over America's fundamental freedom is patently unfit and should be removed from office.

Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life (which also will be suing): "It's unthinkable that President Obama would force Americans of any faith to violate their consciences. Yet here he is, arrogantly imposing these regulations that clearly discriminate against Catholics and all Christians, as well as people of any faith who believe in the sanctity of innocent human life. This has clearly become a human rights case — and is no longer just a partisan political football."

With all due respect to Father Pavone, it's evil and unconscionable, but NOT unthinkable. It was foreseeable before Obama was elected in 2008.

It is a huge political blunder, to be sure, but it is what the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and America's Catholic voters needed to open their eyes and see past Obama lies.

Catholic bishops in more than 160 dioceses across the United States have issued public statements against the Obama contraception/sterilization/abortion insurance mandate and many Catholics who had supported Obama realize that they had been duped.

"We cannot — we will not comply with this unjust law," asserted Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix. "People of faith cannot be made second-class citizens."


Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, stated: "To force Americans to choose between violating their consciences and forgoing their healthcare is literally unconscionable. . . It is as much an attack on access to health care as on religious freedom."

It's horrific, but many needed such a brutal wake-up call to rouse them to the reality of Obama.

Thank God that call came BEFORE Election Day 2012!

© Michael Gaynor


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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Michael Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member... (more)


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