In 2007, while still a member of the U.S. Senate, Barack Obama said, “I am absolutely convinced that culture wars are just so ‘90s. Their days are growing dark.”
Until recently, I’ve been inclined to agree with Mr. Obama. The culture wars are over. We lost.
We’re no longer fighting to uphold traditional social values. Now we’re fighting a battle over the very definition of what it means to be an American, and what America means to the world.
But it turns out the president himself has reignited the culture wars he so smugly declared were passe.
Like most leftists, Mr. Obama assumed his values and opinions had become the norm (think, “The science is settled” and other pronouncements of opinion as fact).
When, two weeks ago, he arrogantly announced the Health and Human Services directive requiring all employers (or their insurers) to provide free contraception, sterilization and abortifacient drugs as mandatory provisions of health care coverage, Mr. Obama must have quite naturally assumed his edict would go unchallenged.
Despite warnings from Catholics in his midst (even Vice President Joseph R. Biden), Mr. Obama was convinced he could impose his version of morality on the entire nation, irrespective of the religious objections of the Church.
The response from the faith community is rocking the administration back on its heels. Aside from the righteous indignation of the Catholic bishops, more than 2,500 evangelical and Protestant leaders are responding with vehement objections to this assault on religious freedom. This week, they signed a letter denouncing the president’s mandate not as a “Catholic issue” or a “contraception issue,” but as one of religious liberty.
Yet that’s not the fight that suits this president’s re-election bid. No one wants to be the “Anti-religious Liberty President,” after all. Better to rekindle the culture wars and cast himself as the guy who facilitates the sexual and reproductive “rights” of all Americans.
After all, we’re told more than 90 percent of all women use or have used contraception, including Catholic women. To heck with what the Catholic Church actually believes about this subject - there’s polling evidence that it’s popular.
Conveniently, the Obama White House only cites polling data when such data validates its arguments. For example, a plurality of Americans consistently has said in poll after poll that they don’t want Obamacare in the first place. “We don’t govern by polls,” the administration declares.
Except when it does. And never mind that pesky First Amendment.
Meanwhile, back in the Constitution, an experiment fails.