NRL News

Why Does Freedom of Conscience Make No Difference? Because Obama Says So

by | Feb 10, 2012

By Dave Andrusko

Pro-abortion President Barack Obama

Many of our NRL News Today readers likely remember the important remarks pro-life champion Chris Smith delivered at the March for Life. We reprinted them here.

Cong. Smith summarized the Obama Administration’s assaults both on pro-lifers in particular and conscience rights in general, including most recently the HHS regulations that coerce Catholic universities, hospitals, and charities into paying for health insurance that covers sterilization and contraception. Smith also warned, “The past three years of abortion extremism by President Obama is a mere foretaste—a mere foreshadowing—of what will be if he is reelected.”

I thought of that the last few days every time I read assurances that the Obama Administration was reconsidering the January 20 HHS regulations. Like you, I never thought Obama would step back from the precipice. He neither respects religious liberties nor does he believe this brutal assault will hurt his chances of re-election (more about the latter below).

Sure enough there are stories galore today that (as ABC News put it) “President President Obama ‘reinforced’ his stance on the controversial contraception mandate while speaking at the Democrats’ annual retreat at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. today, Senate Democrats said.”

As I wrote recently, some believed (naively, in my opinion) that because opinion makers from all perspective decried the mandate—including “progressive” Catholics—Obama would quietly retreat. This, by the way, even as PPFA and its allies were absolutely brutalizing Komen for the Cure for reconfiguring its breast health granting strategy for 2012 and beyond. If there ever was even a thought of retracting its steps—and there weren’t—the Obama Administration would have stayed the course, having seen how viciously the pro-abortion lobby works.

But it helps to have cover. Thus the last couple of days we’ve read about polls which supposedly show it IS good politics for Obama to shred the conscience rights not only of Catholics but of all people of faith. A couple of observations.

First, the data no doubt were shared with Democrats, especially those in competitive races. Yet each day those same Democrats are (at least rhetorically) putting more and more distance between themselves and the mandate. Notice that they are quite capable of making a distinction supporters of the mandate aren’t: whatever your views on “family planning”—and they are all supporters—that doesn’t mean it is acceptable to cram this mandate down the throats of religious institutions.

Second, as we know from 39 years of polling on abortion, wording and context are crucial. We reported yesterday on the results of a survey of 1,000 likely voters by Rasmussen Reports.

“Half of voters do not agree with the Obama administration’s action forcing Catholic institutions to pay for birth control measures that they morally oppose,” Rasmussen said. “The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 39% of Likely U.S. Voters believe the government should require a church or religious organization to provide contraceptives for women even if it violates their deeply held beliefs. Fifty percent (50%) disagree and oppose such a requirement that runs contrary to strong beliefs, while 10% more are undecided.”

Equally important is the response of Catholics, since a primary argument of those erecting a defense of the mandate is that even a majority of Catholics find no fault with it.

“Sixty-five percent (65%) of Catholic voters oppose this requirement, as do 62% of Evangelical Christians, and 50% of other Protestants. Most non-Christians (56%) support the Obama Administration ruling,” according to Rasmussen.

In ‘On Obama’s Coercion,” we reprint portions of Congressman Smith statement issued today. For our purposes here, it is crucial to understand that this Obama mandate is not something out of the ordinary: it is part of a pattern that demands (as Smith explains) “Everyone must comply regardless of moral convictions or religious tenets simply because Obama says so.”

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Categories: ObamaCare