Six months ago, Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston made a very simple and straightforward request to House Speaker John Boehner and other members of the House of Representatives.
"I urge you to support H.R. 940 and to help incorporate its policy into upcoming 'must-pass' legislation," O'Malley said in a March 8 letter to all House members.
H.R. 940 advances a proposition you might expect any decent person to embrace -- and it does so by making a small amendment to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.
The key language in that amendment says nothing in the Obamacare law "shall require an individual to purchase individual health insurance coverage that includes coverage of an abortion or other item or service to which such individual has a moral or religious objection, or prevent an issuer from offering or issuing, to such individual, individual health insurance coverage that excludes such item or service."
Similar language in H.R. 940 also protects employers and health-insurance issuers from being forced to buy or provide coverage for items or services to which they have a "moral or religious objection."
H.R. 940 mirrors the first words in the Bill of Rights, which say: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
To object to H.R. 940, a person must argue that the federal government has the moral and constitutional authority to force Americans to act against the teachings of their religion and the dictates of their conscience.
To defend H.R. 940, a person need only argue it is wrong for the government to force Americans to act against their religion or the conscience.
Yet, President Barack Obama and his bureaucratic subordinates are effectively doing just that by pushing forward with a regulation that will require all health care plans (except those bought directly by actual churches and their immediate auxiliaries) to cover sterilizations, contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs.
The Catholic Church teaches that all three of these things are intrinsically immoral -- and that abortion is the deliberate taking of an innocent human life, a form of murder.
If Obama succeeds in enforcing a regulation that forces Catholics to buy coverage for sterilization, contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs, he will have succeeded in outlawing the practice of Catholicism in the United States.
Let me repeat that: Obama will have outlawed the practice of Catholicism in the United States.