U.S. Catholic leaders are “fighting mad with the Obama administration,” says Michael Brendan Dougherty at Business Insider, and they’re taking the fight to the pews. Over the weekend, Catholic parishioners nationwide were read letters from their bishops decrying the feds’ recent decision to require religiously affiliated hospitals, colleges, and charities to offer insurance coverage for contraception, sterilization, and the “morning-after” pill — all of which the Catholic Church officially opposes.
Churches themselves were given a religious exemption from the new rule, which is part of Obama’s health care reform, but the bishops said forcing other Catholic institutions to comply violates “the fundamental right to religious liberty” guaranteed in the Constitution. American Catholics don’t agree with the church on birth control — 95 percent use contraceptives, and 89 percent say it’s their choice, not the church’s. Still, is the Obama administration abusing its power?
These rules are perfectly reasonable: Catholic schools and hospitals hire and serve people of many different faiths, says Kevin Drum at Mother Jones. And if these institutions “don’t want to follow reasonable, 21st century secular rules… they need to stop taking secular taxpayer money.” Pretend that instead of the Catholic Church and the pill, we were “talking about, say, an Islamic hospital insisting that its employees bind themselves to sharia law.” Obama critics would surely be “a wee bit more understanding” of his position. “If you take taxpayer money, you have to follow taxpayer rules”