The President’s healthcare mandate, conveyed through the offices of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius, that we all have to accept funding of abortion, sterilization, birth control and attendant services, has the Catholic hierarchy in a maelstrom. We are now receiving pleas via email and other conduits for help in supporting this or that Congressman or Senator’s efforts to secure some kind of dispensation for those who wish to opt out of the law on the basis of an “act of conscience”.
At the risk of disappointing or perhaps shocking my Catholic and other pro-life friends, I beg to differ with this approach. We have seen this kind of thing before throughout history. “Divide and conquer.” The principle here is that we have a government being run by a man who does not believe in the conscience of the people or in the Constitution which protects it. We have a man in the Oval Office who seeks to accommodate special interests, whether they be public employee unions, crony capitalist chums or naggy Catholic bishops - with the goal in sight of diluting opposition to an unpopular program. And we have suckers who fall for this not once, but again and again, like Archbishop Dolan for example, suckers who are perfectly okay with selling out a principle so long as they believe their particular flock is protected from that to which the rest of America must submit.
I do not support these morally defective means of governing. One or two segments of our population sold out the rest of us in support of an unconstitutional healthcare program, just so long as their more precious consciences were safe. What kind of conscience is that anyway, that is pliable enough to countenance wrong to a neighbor as long as “number one” is out of harm’s way?
During the initial wrangling over Obamacare, you will recall, it was not a “slam-dunk” by any means. We had a president shamelessly bargaining and cutting deals with first one accomplice and then another. We had the so-called “Louisiana Purchase”, the “Cornhusker Kickback” and all the rest of the special deals made. When it looked like game over, and not enough support because of a strong pro-life faction, Congressman Bart Stupak (D-MI) rescued the bill with an amendment which would have let some of the conscience-ridden pro-lifers (meaning those Congressmen whose constituents weren’t having it) to vote FOR the healthcare bill. Even the less astute pro-life Republicans fell for this ruse (sorry, Michele) and took the bait. Most of them had their eye on their “vote scoring” by pro-life groups, rather than on principle and good sense.
Meanwhile the Senate had its own Kennedy-style version which did not have the fig leaf. Enter the unexpected victory of Scott Brown and all was changed, changed utterly. Now they could not re-cast the Senate bill because Brown got himself elected on the issue of DEFEATING Obamacare. So there was to be no special anti-abortion language there. It looked like there might be a defeat if it were re-opened. To save the healthcare fiasco, Stupak went in a lather to see Obama to plead for a letter “guaranteeing” that abortion would not be paid for through this program. That letter was issued forthwith as an Executive Order. Before the door hit Stupak’s behind, we can speculate the President was rolling on the floor laughing. The vote held on the basis of this “promise”. So here we are today. This is “government by special dispensation”.
Had those who rightly opposed Obamacare in the first place stood firm AGAINST the Stupak ploy (as did Congressman John Shadegg R- AZ), leaving the healthcare bill stark naked as it was, facilitating abortion, the bill MIGHT HAVE BEEN DEFEATED. Instead, the dupes (sorry, Michele) gave them cover and the bill passed, with this last-minute emergency Democrat-sponsored, face-saving amendment. The majority, then, was sold out by a “special” group “elevated” by their more rarified “conscience”. We have seen this kind of thing abrogated before. And, predictably, here it is abrogated once again. Executive orders, special Band-Aid amendments, separate “deals” of various kinds are no way to run a government.
The beauty of our form of government, our Constitution, our law, is that we are “a nation of laws, not of men”, meaning that we are not a personality cult, but a rational people governed by ONE LAW for ALL. The best guarantee of good law is that it is applied evenly across the boards. Bad law, on the other hand, gets to survive if the powerful are exempted from it and it applies only to the weak. If we are to have laws that are acceptable to the “important” or the “strong”, they must apply equally. There is great danger in these special exemptions.
We’ve already seen this for economic excuses – major businesses being allowed to avoid Obamacare simply because they are big and important. Here’s a partial list of exemptions and waivers: McDonald’s, United Federation of Teachers, AARP, Jack in the Box, Teamsters locals nationwide, Pavers and Road Builders District Council, Indiana Area UFCW Union Locals and Retail Food Employers, Waffle House, Nevada, New Hampshire, Maine, Aetna, Cigna, Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, Universal Orlando , Aspen Skiing Co., Ashley Furniture/Homestore, PepsiCo, Downstream Casino Resort, Firekeepers Casino, Bill Miller Bar-B-Q Enterprises, Panera, AMF Bowling, Ruby Tuesday, Foot Locker . . . this isn’t even “representative”. The list goes on and on and on. There are at least 1,200 companies that have been exempted. We may never know the total number. AND EACH OF THEM IS A CORRUPTED FOOTSOLDIER IN THE OBABAMARE ARMY OF CONQUEST.
So, here is a question – not rhetorical, but serious – for my friends in the Catholic Church: Would you not be better off today if these entities had not been let off the hook? If they, too, were in the trenches with you, might you not be the stronger for it? Do you, therefore support or oppose their exemption? If this is a law, it MUST be applied WITHOUT EXEMPTION. Otherwise it is not law, just a tool of intimidation and manipulation. You deserve no sympathy now, because you had no problem selling the rest of us out. Through years of support of Democrat politicians who have advocated socialized medicine, you, as an institution, behaved immorally. The majority of Catholics with some notable exceptions like Bill Buckley and Pat Buchanan, have supported people like Senator Ted Kennedy and Barack Obama himself. You have no moral authority in this now.
So when I get a plea from some interest group like you, asking me to call my senators and congressmen and get them on your side I say emphatically “NO”. I will not be a party to special laws for special people or special groups. If a law is bad, it’s bad. If it’s bad for you, then it’s bad for the rest of us. Instead of worrying about how to protect your own special consciences, your conscience should be telling you to stand with other patriotic Americans who care about the Constitution that protects us all. You call upon the First Amendment for yourselves. What about the rest of that document? What about the freedom it is supposed to guarantee us ALL?
You see, I oppose quite a lot of what goes on in America under the umbrella of “mental health care”. I don’t agree with doping up school children on drugs to “treat” “Attention Deficit Disorder” , nor do I wish to fund Prozac or Zoloft prescriptions for “depressed” housewives. I personally believe these drugs are far more dangerous than the “illnesses” which they purport to treat. There is even a good deal of evidence suggesting that people have been diagnosed as “mentally ill” in direct relation to how much insurance coverage they have. I don’t want one dime from me to support the administration of Lipitor for “cholesterol”. A close relative has just required a liver transplant for having taken than drug and for no other reason. So why is it okay for ME to have to pay for these and it’s NOT okay for someone who has an attack of conscience over abortion? And if you want to go back to religious grounds, nealy everything covered by Obamacare would be against THEIR beliefs.
Don’t get me wrong. I, too, oppose abortion and sterilization. But this is the point. Each of us has a RIGHT not to pay with our own money for what we do not believe in. This is known as “property rights” and as far back as John Adams, these rights were proclaimed as “basic”. We can’t start making some people’s rights more valuable than other people’s. That is the road to chaos and revolution.
If the Catholic Church is ever to regain her moral authority in this nation, she must first of all accept that this is intended to be a nation of laws – laws applied evenly and fairly. Better that the Catholic pro-life community be faced with this now. Like Chamberlain, they have gone hat in hand to make a deal. It worked as well for them as it did for Chamberlain. His dispassionate concession of the Sudetenland and its people gave him “peace in our time”. That time was very short, however. The pro-life forces have “been to Munich” – the emissary was Stupak. The peace they bought was also short-lived and meaningless. Does anyone think the next “concession” or “accord” will end better?
The reason for the abrogation of the special dispensation granted to Catholics is a simple one: the Obama government, as all socialists everywhere, needs to get competition out of the marketplace. They WANT Catholic hospitals and nursing homes out of the healthcare mix. They WANT parochial schools closed and out of competition with state-run schools. They WANT complete, unconditional control over these services. And the Catholic community simply “obeying conscience” and closing the doors of these facilities is EXACTLY what Obama is angling for. The only course open is for the Catholic Church to FIGHT. It’s been a while since they’ve put on a good fight, but now’s the time. Time will tell whether they really mean it.
If you are called upon to support any amendment or “deal” that falls short of repeal and/or absolute defunding of Obamacare, just say NO. This is no time for us to sell each other out and seek our own “special” accommodation. It is, rather, the time for us to stand on principle, for one and all, and defend our Republic and our Constitution.
Sally Morris is a member of Americans for Constitutional Government, the Executive Committee of the Valley Tea Party Conservative Coalition, for whose website (vtpcc.com) she regularly blogs.