The President's Anti-Catholic Duck

Hugh Hewitt

2/9/2012 12:01:00 AM - Hugh Hewitt
When President Obama signed off on the new HHS regulations that demand every Catholic institution in the country not officially designated a "church" either shut down or offer its employees subsidized sterilization, "morning after" pills and all other forms of contraception, neither the president nor his political team recognized the enormity of the mistake they were making.

In attacking the Roman Catholic Church in America on the question of abortion rights absolutism, the president and his team had thought they were dividing women from Republicans when in fact they were uniting Catholics of all political persuasions in a single front instantly organized against this colossal and unconstitutional overreach.

Here is the latest fact sheet on the president's regulations from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Here are transcripts of interviews I have conducted with Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum on the issue as well as my conversation with Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix, all of which illustrate the widespread opposition to the president's decision.

Here is the exchange I had with the New Yorker's Ryan Lizza, which demonstrates that the Manhattan-Beltway media elite didn't know what had happened.

And here is my q-and-a with the Washington Post's E.J. Dionne from Wednesday's radio show in which E.J. and I debate whether the president is actually anti-Catholic. (This transcript is co-located with that of the exchange with Senator Pat Toomey on the subject.)

Of course the president is anti-Catholic. How could you not be when you endorse and support a policy that, if not revoked, will close Notre Dame, B.C., Georgetown and every other Catholic college and university in the land, as well as every Catholic elementary and secondary school, every Catholic hospital and clinic, and every Catholic social service agency that refuses to renounce core Catholic teachings?

Not anti-Catholic? Either the Church repudiates itself and its core teaching or it shutters its thousands of branches and severs its arms and legs?

I provide these links as a primer for any person of goodwill left on the left. The policy will not stand. You may not "get it" yet but even a passing effort will acquaint you with the facts: If carried out these regulations will result in a crushing defeat of the president and every even modestly vulnerable Democrat in the Congress. Catholics will not allow this to happen.

"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.