Given Obama’s broadside attack on issues of primary concern to Christians -- whether it be life, marriage, conscience protections, or the status of several dozen hospitals with a Christian charter who refuse to administer abortifacients and contraceptives -- it is somewhat odd to reflect that just a few years ago what tipped the scales on Obamacare was the tacit support of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the hyperactive $1 million lobbying effort of the Catholic Healthcare Association (CHA).
Just a few days ago, the USCCB aired concerns about conscience protections and religious liberties as the federal government began to impose regulatory norms in preparation for Obamacare’s enforcement in 2013.
Today’s news? The Obama administration announced that it was dropping the USCCB as the provider of assistance to blocking human trafficking efforts worldwide, instead offering these responsibilities to three different non-profits who will help provide the victims of human trafficking access to food, clothing -- and of course medical care.
Medical care? Like, the sort that offers… abortions? The USCCB has its concerns:
“We hope our religious beliefs didn’t come into play,” said Sister Mary Ann Walsh, a spokeswoman for the Catholic Bishops in an interview. “Abortion politics will not find homes for minors being sold into sex slavery.”
…and whether these concerns are legitimate or not given the Obama administration’s recent attacks on religious liberties, you can be sure that Obama is none too pleased at the impertinence of the Catholic bishops to dare raise their voice in defense of the voiceless.
What is more ironic about this? Obama’s early political career was given a kick start with the assistance of the scandal-ridden Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) back in the 1980s. Add to this the massive lobbying effort by the CHA to support the key initiatives of an Obama administration now bent on emasculating the efforts of the Catholic bishops to protect human dignity, and the relationship becomes even more entangled.
Of course, the issues within the USCCB and among American Catholics -- and the conflict between obedience and fidelity to the Christian faith -- will continue to play out over time.
The nature of the certain groups and organizations purporting to represent faithful Catholic Christians while clearly undermining the Catholic bishops remains a problem, not only for Catholics, but for anyone who believes and understands that the Obama administration is making no pretense as to its respect for religious liberty -- namely, that it doesn’t exist.
Hopefully, Christians of all denominations will take a lesson from the experience of the Catholic bishops. Trust this president at your own peril…