Kathryn Lopez

Sean Hannity calls President Barack Obama "The Chosen One." And as a matter of policy, it turns out to be the perfect characterization.

Obama unites people; he is a healer. I would even go so far to suggest that he might be a miracle worker.

George Weigel, the conservative biographer of Pope John Paul II, and E.J. Dionne, a progressive columnist -- Catholics on opposing sides of the political aisle -- recently sat side by side on MSNBC's "Daily Rundown." They both protested the Obama administration's mandate that Catholic-run organizations offer and purchase health insurance plans for their employees that pay for contraceptives and abortions, in violation of Church law. ABC correspondent Jake Tapper reports that even within the administration, some Catholics are arguing against the mandate, not only for political but for policy reasons.

The administration's overreach has backfired politically. And it has been tremendously instructive.

The radicalism of some in the administration has been exposed, and at the top are the president and the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius. They, along with Planned Parenthood and other abortion advocates, consider birth control a basic health need and pregnancy a disease that needs to be managed, suppressed and sometimes ended. But this fight is not and has not been entirely or primarily about contraception. It's about religious liberty. It's about the federal government taking it upon itself to determine who is and who isn't religious, what is and what isn't an acceptable belief.

As Carl Anderson put it in his 2010 book "Beyond a House Divided": "On basic moral questions ... most Americans stand shoulder to shoulder. They agree that morality has a place not only in our families and personal relationships but also in corporate offices and boardrooms on Wall Street, in the country's newsrooms and in the halls of political power in Washington."

As he told me at the time, the polling showed "alignment on issue after issue between the Catholic Church's position and the values of the American people." He listed the importance of a fair immigration solution, the ultimate harm that abortion can have on women in the long run, and the need for ethical behavior in both the private and public sectors and many others as issues on which society and the Church see eye to eye.

A candidate of any faith who understands this can craft a winning message this fall: a forward-looking vision that preserves the ideals that have served us well and have made us a beacon to dissidents throughout the world.

Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.