Editor's Note: This column was coauthored by Bob Morrison.
A liberal reporter speaking at a conference in Georgetown recently dismissed conservative alarms about the Obama administration's mandate that forces religious institutions--like Catholic Hospitals and Evangelical colleges--to provide coverage for drugs and procedures that can abortions and that effect sterilizations. "What about the anti-Catholic Bible riots in Philadelphia in the 1840s," she asked. Those led to scores of people actually being killed. Those Bible riots were deplorable, a blot on American history. But they were not the acts of the federal government. They were lawless violence, not a deliberate policy of oppression.
James Madison famously said the people are right to take alarm at the "first advance on their liberties." The Obama Mandate will force us to violate our consciences. President Obama famously said he doesn't know when human life begins, but he's willing to force us to collaborate in the destruction of innocent human lives. We do know when human life begins. So does science. So, increasingly, do millions of young Americans who see their first photo--an ultra-sound picture taken of them in their mothers' wombs. This is why, even liberal columnist Joe Klein writes, "ultrasound has made it impossible to deny that that thing in the womb is a human being." He conceded this in TIME magazine, no less. But President Obama and his administration deny this eternal truth every day. And he wants to force you to deny it, too.
Madison happily reported to Thomas Jefferson in France in 1786 that the Virginia legislature had finally passed their great Statute for Religious Freedom. Madison exulted that this historic law would "establish" not a single church or denomination, but religious freedom itself--for the first time in human history. This measure would become the foundation for civil liberty, he thought. And it would add immeasurably to the "lustre of our country."