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For a short time, the attacks on both the Church and Republicans seemed like a worthwhile gambit. Yet as time went on, the “war” began to lose steam. No doubt that loss was abetted by non-contraceptive issues, such as Hilary Rosen’s thoughtless attack on Ann Romney for “never working a day in her life,” or the fact that the feminist-promoting president pays female White House employees 18% less than their male counterparts.
Nevertheless, the erosion has become considerable. New polls reveal that Mr. Obama has lost support among both women and Catholics. In March, the president ostensibly had a commanding 2-to-1 lead over Mitt Romney among women. According to a CBS poll conducted May 11-13, Mitt Romney now holds a 46-43 percent edge over Mr. Obama. A Pew Survey shows that the 53-44 percent advantage Mr. Obama enjoyed over Mr. Romney in March had turned into a 50-45 percent edge for Mr. Romney in April.
Thus it would seem that the administration, despite all of its self-assured smugness, is on the losing side of a war they themselves initiated. Moreover, they have made no movement away from the mandate that was finalized on February 12. It is scheduled to go into effect on August 1st, with a “safe harbor” provision for some organizations until August 1, 2013. In a bit of comic relief, Cardinal Dolan referred to this provision as “a year in which we’re supposed to figure out how we can violate our consciences.”
In the meantime, a number of developments will take place, including a Supreme Court decision on ObamaCare next month; the introduction by Marco Rubio (R-FL) of a new Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 2012 designed to counter the ObamaCare mandate; the Catholic lawsuits; and last but not least, the general election in November.
Progressives and their media enablers have endeavored mightily to make this dispute about women’s rights. That is, quite simply, a lie. There is no more a “right” to contraception, which is cheap and widely available, than there is to cigarettes and beer, which are equally so. It is yet another effort by this administration to expand the reach of government, this time into the religious arena, and forcibly conscript people of faith to do the state’s bidding. If it succeeds, such people will have one of two choices. They can abandon their ability to administer services in education, health care, charities, and social services to government bureaucracies — or they can abandon their religion. Cardinal Dolan explained the implications. “Never before have we faced this kind of challenge to our ability to engage in the public square as people of faith.”
Not in America. But the history of other nations is replete with horror tales of socialists, Marxists and other assorted totalitarians who have sought to drive religion from the public square, or eliminate it completely. Why? Ironically, such efforts have invariably been associated with creating Socialist Utopias or a workers paradises. Just as ironically, no group of Americans has labored harder for “separation of church and state” than progressives — until it interferes with their sense of entitlement.
The archdiocese of Washington, D.C. illuminates the reason for the litigation. “This lawsuit is about an unprecedented attack by the federal government on one of America’s most cherished freedoms: the freedom to practice one’s religion without government interference,” it says on a special website created for the occasion. “It is not about whether people have access to certain services; it is about whether the government may force religious institutions and individuals to facilitate and fund services which violate their religious beliefs.”
Amen to that.
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