Yes, the Catholic Bishops realize that individuals make up organizations and if organization have rights, then so too should the individuals. Just like if the individual has the right, then so too should the organization that the individual belongs to.
The Obama administration was not against an exemption per se, it just wanted a narrow one that only covered church employees serving members of their own faith with jobs pertaining to the inculcation of religious belief. The Catholic bishops, it seemed, wanted a more robust exemption that covered institutions of faith, including hospitals, universities, and other social service providers.
Now the bishops have made clear that the contraception mandate must be rescinded, because, in their view, even a more expansive exemption cannot sufficiently protect religious freedom.
The bishops did not have to take this route, but all those who cherish religious liberty should be glad they did. If the bishops settled for a more expansive accommodation, they might have been able to get an exemption for their hospitals and universities (including my own, Notre Dame). That would have been the easy way to “preserve” religious liberty while also retaining the mandate.
But what, then, would the bishops have said to business owners who likely would not have been covered by a more expansive exemption? How could church leaders say that it’s wrong for church institutions to pay for contraception and abortifacients, but that Catholic business owners must cover these costs?
The exemption approach might have allowed the bishops to secure religious liberty for their institutions, but not for all their followers. That would have been a failure of moral authority and political strength to protect the common good.
So while EJ Dionne is looking for taxpayers to foot the bills of causes made by people who don’t care enough about an issue/election to actually create an official organization that can raise funds from smaller sources in order to combat “Citizens United”, the Catholic Bishops actually work for the right of the little people who don’t have the official organization to stand up to the government.
ps – as long as we’re on the Catholic Bishops and the HHS directive on contraceptive, let’s throw in this outrage of the day where Obama essentially uses taxpayer money to help his election. Obamacare will usher in problems with the very popular (and might I add under budget) Medicare Advantage plans starting in October of this year when seniors have to pick their plans for 2013. (bold is mine)
But the administration’s devised a way to postpone the pain one more year, getting Obama past his last election; it plans to spend $8 billion to temporarily restore Medicare Advantage funds so that seniors in key markets don’t lose their trusted insurance program in the middle of Obama’s re-election bid.
The money is to come from funds that Health and Human Services is allowed to use for “demonstration projects.” But to make it legal, HHS has to pretend that it’s doing an “experiment” to study the effect of this money on the insurance market.
That is, to “study” what happens when the government doesn’t change anything but merely continues a program that’s been going on for years.
Obama can temporarily prop up Medicare Advantage long enough to get re-elected by exploiting an obscure bit of federal law. Under a 1967 statute, the HHS secretary can spend money without specific approval by Congress on “experiments” directly aimed at “increasing the efficiency and economy of health services.”
Thank you Benjamin E. Sasse and Charles Hurt for showing us yet another bit of deception. And Thank you Matt Drudge for making it a red headline!