On Jan. 20, Sebelius announced that the final regulation would take effect for individuals and business owners this Aug. 1, and for Catholic hospitals, universities and charities next Aug. 1. Thus, the government was giving Catholic individuals and business owners seven months, and Catholic institutions 19, to submit to a federal edict that they act against their faith.
The bishops responded by asking their priests to read letters from the pulpit at Sunday masses. Most of these letters boldly stated: "We cannot -- we will not -- comply with this unjust law."
On Friday, Obama announced what he called a "solution:" The federal government will still order all health insurance plans to cover sterilizations, contraceptives and abortifacients without any fees or co-pay. But insurance plans covering workers at religious institutions that object to these services will be required to provide sterilizations, contraceptives and abortifacients to those workers "free of charge."
Thus, Obama is still ordering Catholic institutions to provide insurance plans that cover sterilizations, contraceptives and abortifacients. And he is still ordering Catholic employees, private business owners, and private insurers to buy and/or provide these things, even if means they must act against their faith.
Obama's "solution" escalates his attack on freedom: He is now ordering private companies (in this case insurers) to provide a product for free -- even if they find it morally objectionable.
If Obama had the constitutional authority to tell insurance companies they must provide contraceptives and abortifacients for free, he could also tell grocers they must provide meat and bread for free.
He could tell doctors they must provide abortions for free and drug companies they must manufacture and distribute contraceptives for free.
Of course, Obama won't order these last two things because he wants to retain a national supply of doctors who will do abortions and drug companies that will manufacture contraceptives. His acts of tyranny are strategically targeted.
In a powerful column published last month, Roman Catholic Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles pointed out that the Catholic Church is unique among American religious groups in its teaching against artificial contraception.
"So it is hard to escape the conclusion that the government is singling out the church with this new mandate," he wrote.
"But the issues here go far beyond contraception and far beyond the liberties of the Catholic Church," the archbishop concluded. "They go to the heart of our national identity and our historic understanding of our democratic form of government."
Today, Obama is especially attacking the liberty of Catholics. But, in doing so, he has attacked liberty itself.