Ken Connor

"Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard." Acts 4:18-20 (NIV)

Conservatives who've warned for years of President Obama's ideological extremism are often dismissed as melodramatic conspiracy theorists. Obama apologists argue that the President is not an ideologue, but an intellectual whose grasp of America's true needs is so nuanced and sophisticated that the average Joe in flyover country is simply incapable of understanding it. The Administration's new birth control mandate, for example, is necessary in order to ensure that the Sandra Flukes of America are free to enjoy a consequence-free sex life while simultaneously realizing their dreams of a government-subsidized college and career. Opponents of this policy are either misogynistic relics of a bygone era or misinformed simpletons who fail to appreciate the needs of the modern American woman.

As a recent article by the Ethics and Public Policy Center illustrates however, the President's birth control mandate represents an assault upon one of America's most fundamental constitutional principles.

In short, what's at stake is nothing less than religious liberty guaranteed by the First Amendment. Whether one agrees with the Catholic position on birth control and abortion or not, the Church's opposition to both is rooted in religious principle, and its right to conduct its programs in accordance with this principle is protected by the First Amendment. The Church's resistance to the mandate, therefore, is to be applauded. In an artful display of political manipulation, the Administration characterizes its position as coming to the defense of women who are the victims of a "war" being waged by Republicans and old white men on the Religious Right. This war on women however, is but a rhetorical fiction, a straw man intended to distract from a war on religion in which government seeks to dethrone God and install itself in His place.

As the folks at EPPC point out, "the administration is arguably violating the intent of the 'no establishment' provision of the First Amendment, which (among other things) means that the federal government is incompetent in theological matters. Yet that is precisely the turf onto which the Administration is intruding with its attempts to define religious institutions, ministries, and employers so narrowly that Jesus and the Twelve would almost certainly not qualify . . ."


Ken Connor

Ken Connor is Chairman of the Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC.