"We cannot --we will not-- comply with this unjust law," wrote Bishop Olmsted and many other bishops the week after it was released.
This is not just a Catholic issue. Supporters of the First Amendment's right of Free Exercise of Religion will rally to their Catholic friends regardless of denomination or lack of belief.If there is any doubt in your mind where this is headed, read through my discussion with E.J. Dionne. E.J. is a thoughtful, serious liberal, a partisan Democrat of course, but a genuinely devout Catholic who is not only deeply troubled by the president's decision, but also vocal about it.
If you look at E.J.'s argument with me, you will also see that his halting defense of the president --a speech here, some subsidies he received decades ago-- simply cannot refute the charge of anti-Catholic animus as deduced from the effects of the policy.
If it looks like an anti-Catholic duck, walks like an anti-Catholic duck, and sounds like an anti-Catholic duck, then it is an anti-Catholic duck.
E.J. intuits this, but isn't yet to the position of resignation to the choice that faces him and every other Obama supporter who is either Catholic or a supporter of religious liberty.
Dionne bristled at the idea that this is a Bonhoeffer moment, but of course it is. The attack on the Catholic Church requires people of conscience to say no and to do so with passion and persistence.
My friend and Salem Radio Network colleague, Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr., the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has very carefully laid out the background and the consequences of the president's decision here.
"[T]he decision of the Obama Administration is clear," concludes Dr. Mohler. "The edict from President Obama to religious institutions is this — violate conscience and bend the knee to the government, or face the consequences."
Everyone has to choose: The president and the power of the state or the Roman Catholic Church and the right of all faiths to be free in the exercise of their beliefs.