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It was entirely foreseeable that yielding control over a massive portion of the economy to the state would result in the state greedily seizing more than was initially given. But many Catholic clergy enthusiastically endorsed the initial legislation. It would be great if non-Catholics rose to defend the rights of conscience that ObamaCare clearly infringes upon. It would have been even better had Catholic Charities USA not endorsed ObamaCare and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops not repeatedly called universal health care a right. When one endorses an attack on Constitutional rights in the name of non-existent “rights” one shouldn’t be surprised to find one’s own real rights soon under attack. If the bishops weren’t so politically naive prior to the passage of ObamaCare, they would not have had to be so politically courageous in the wake of its passage.
The upshot of the Obama administration’s anti-Catholic edict may ultimately bring harm to non-Catholics as well. Catholic hospitals, youth centers, schools, and homeless shelters serve without regard to religious affiliation. By granting exemptions to religious institutions that serve their flocks alone, such as churches, the bureaucratic fiat may in some cases result in the exclusion of non-Catholics from services they have traditionally enjoyed. Another possibility is six-figure fines for Catholic institutions whose employees refuse to sin at the behest of the state, diverting funds away from the poor and needy toward the government greedy. Such hypothetical situations have precedent. In Massachusetts and Illinois, for instance, the Catholic Church closed down adoption services after the state mandated that it place children with homosexual couples.
What the Bishops said on a Sunday in January will affect how Catholics vote on a Tuesday in November. It may also preface widespread civil disobedience. The bishops’ letter is rather unambiguous on this point: “We cannot—we will not—comply with this unjust law.”
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