Following Wednesday's 7-2 Supreme Court decision upholding the Trump administration's move to exempt religious organizations and conscientious objectors from the Obama administration's birth control mandate regulation, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden expressed disappointment in the ruling and vowed to re-impose the coercive measure on groups like the litigants in the case, a group of Catholic nuns who minister to the poor. John McCormack reports:
Joe Biden issued a statement Wednesday evening in which he said he is “disappointed in today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision” in the case Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania. “I will restore the Obama-Biden policy that existed before the [2014 Supreme Court] Hobby Lobby ruling,” Biden said. The Supreme Court’s Little Sisters decision upheld the Trump administration’s rule exempting conscientious objectors from Obamacare’s birth-control and abortifacient mandate, but the decision did not address whether the mandate is itself a violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act [RFRA].
Justices Alito and Gorsuch issued a concurring opinion in the case that would have handed the nuns a more permanent victory, but the underlying issue of exemptions to the Obama-era mandate under RFRA was not resolved by the Court's decision. The Biden campaign's statement adds that his policy would include "providing an exemption for houses of worship and an accommodation for nonprofit organizations with religious missions." But it's that very so-called "accommodation" that the Little Sisters of the Poor and other religious groups have objected to -- and for good reason. McCormack quotes a 2012 column in which the late Charles Krauthammer exposed the fig leaf as a meaningless fraud:
It was nothing but an accounting trick that still forces Catholic (and other religious) institutions to provide medical insurance that guarantees free birth control, tubal ligation and morning-after abortifacients — all of which violate church doctrine on the sanctity of life. The trick is that these birth control/abortion services will supposedly be provided independently and free of charge by the religious institution’s insurance company. But this changes none of the moral calculus. Holy Cross Hospital, for example, is still required by law to engage an insurance company that is required by law to provide these doctrinally proscribed services to all Holy Cross employees.
"Indeed, more than 500 scholars and religious leaders signed an open letter that argued the 'so-called accommodation changes nothing of moral substance and fails to remove the assault on religious liberty and the rights of conscience which gave rise to the controversy. It is certainly no compromise,'" McCormack writes. Interestingly, Joe Biden reportedly opposed Obamacare's birth control mandate before the Obama administration imposed it by fiat (Congress did not include it as a provision in the controversial legislation itself), and was later condemned by Catholic bishops for endorsing the empty "compromise." But Biden has been yanked leftward on these issues, abandoning his lifelong "principled" opposition to taxpayer-funded abortion out of political necessity.
The Democratic base will accept nothing less than full-throated abortion advocacy and related stances, which is how Biden, a Catholic, has ended up opposing nuns on a very basic conscience issue. And while we're on the subject, read this piece firing back at leftists who are turning the constitution on its head, pretending that religious Americans exercising their fundamental First Amendment right to free exercise are somehow being gifted "special privileges," at the expense of the more important "rights" set out in an executive unilateral regulatory action:
It is difficult to imagine how one could believe that the Little Sisters of the Poor have enjoyed spending a decade in court fighting for their right to practice their faith in the public square. My response to a @washingtonpost column: https://t.co/MXrqcbZzYX— Alexandra DeSanctis (@xan_desanctis) July 9, 2020
Finally, because elements of the hard Left aren't satisfied to exert aggressive hostility to the religious liberties-related piece of the First Amendment, we must also combat their illiberalism on free speech, as well. Imagine viewing anti-cancel culture liberals as the "thin skinned" combatants in this dispute. Read the Wall Street Journal editorial board's take on this ongoing struggle session, then watch this rather good -- and depressingly necessary -- video from a black lefty writer in the UK who evidently felt compelled to teach or re-explain to her ideological comrades why the free exchange of ideas and tolerance are actually good things:
People really, really need to internalize this message.