Last week the Pro-Life Action League highlighted a recent letter sent by Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), to his brother bishops.
Therein, Cardinal Dolan repeatedly underscored the fact that the HHS Mandate is first and foremost an assault on religious freedom, and that is how we need to frame this issue.
One of the the most striking passages in the letter reads as follows:
At a recent meeting between staff of the bishops’ conference and the White House staff, our staff members asked directly whether the broader concerns of religious freedom—that is, revisiting the straight-jacketing mandates, or broadening the maligned exemption—are all off the table. They were informed that they are. So much for “working out the wrinkles.” Instead, they advised the bishops’ conference that we should listen to the “enlightened” voices of accommodation, such as the recent, hardly surprising yet terribly unfortunate editorial in America. The White House seems to think we bishops simply do not know or understand Catholic teaching and so, taking a cue from its own definition of religious freedom, now has nominated its own handpicked official Catholic teachers.
The very first freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment is that of freedom of religion — which is most emphatically not limited merely to freedom of worship — and explicitly states that “prohibiting the free exercise thereof” is a no-no.
And yet White House staffers actually have the audacity to tell our country’s Catholic Bishops how the Church should formulate policy.
This astonishing display of hubris is very revealing, and clearly illustrates why the HHS Mandate can rightly be called a “cram-down.”
So much for the separation of church and state!