Saturday 28th November 2015

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

The Liberal Counteroffensive On The Obamacare Mandate

March 7, 2014 Frontpage No Comments


I don’t know why the supporters of Obamacare’s mandate requiring Catholic institutions to provide insurance coverage for contraception and abortifacients have not been forced in public to defend the stark inconsistency of their position. You would think the liberals who support Obamacare would be scrambling to explain their double standard. It is, after all, the American left that has been defined for nearly a half-century now by their stand for dissent and the rights of the individual.
They were the ones who told us that opponents of America’s military campaigns around the world should not be forced to serve in those wars; who told us that Jim Crow laws need not be obeyed by those who objected to them for moral reasons, and that censorship laws were a violation of the freedom of conscience of individuals whose moral codes clashed with those in authority.
High in the pantheon of the American left are Martin Luther King Jr., Dorothy Day, the LSD guru Timothy Leary, the leaders of the anti-Vietnam War movement, liberal theologians who defy the administration at Catholic colleges, and topless feminists on Main Street.
The right to dissent is inviolable, they told us, as American as apple pie. The freedom of conscience is non-negotiable; a healthy society protects dissent in its laws and public policies. Except for Catholic colleges and hospitals that do not want to comply with Obamacare. I have not heard a backer of Obamacare explain this inconsistency in a way that does not rise above the sound-bites about the need for institutions to “protect a woman’s reproductive rights.” It is as if there are no other rights to be considered in the equation.
But there are some signs that the left is feeling the pressure to make their defense in a more thorough and reflective manner. I offer as evidence a column entitled “What the Christian Right Gets Wrong About Sin” by Micah J. Murray on the web site Huffington Post on February 5. I submit that Murray’s argument will be popping up all over the place in this debate over the Obamacare mandate and Catholic institutions.
Murray does not buy the argument that Catholic institutions will have their freedom of religion violated if they are forced to “enable or aid another in doing what the Christian believes to be a sin,” regarding the Obamacare mandate. He thinks this concern of Catholic institutions is rooted in an understanding of sin “primarily concerned with sexual activity — homosexuality, premarital sex, pornography/indecency, and sexual health/contraception.”
It is an understanding, Murray continues, that overlooks behavior that “breaks the peace because it interferes with the way things are supposed to be” and which “disrupts love between neighbor and neighbor, between Creator and created.” He charges Christian institutions with overlooking the ways in which Christians may “enable” sins of that nature; that “if we understand that sin is so much more than sexual rules” we “can see how impossible it is to consistently avoid ‘enabling sin’” as vigilantly as Catholics concerned about Obamacare “do in this one area.” What does he mean by that?
In a nutshell, that Catholic institutions routinely and without protest “enable” what they think is sinful behavior of all sorts, as long as it is not of a sexual nature. He argues that Catholic institutions do not teach members of their congregations about the moral dangers of a car dealer selling a “shiny car to someone who will brag about it from an arrogant heart.” Or those who would “build a house for someone who will live in ‘excess comfort’ while ignoring the less fortunate in it its shadow. And what about the food industry?” Shouldn’t Christians who work in that industry feel troubled about how “we waste over 40 percent of our food supply every day while our neighbors go hungry? Is it ‘enabling the sin of excess’ to shop at grocers that will throw away good food to ensure that ours is perfectly fresh?”
There is more: What about “Christian hotel owners” who do not “refuse rooms to any couple that wasn’t married?” Aren’t they as complicit as a Catholic institution that provides insurance coverage for birth control? Similarly, shouldn’t Christian investors “refuse to do business with anyone whose desire for gain was motivated by greed?” Shouldn’t Christians “shun any politician or entertainer or athlete who lives a lifestyle of pride, arrogance, or excess?”
Murray contends our preoccupation with sexual matters leads us to brush aside what should be our equal concern with enabling those who commit the sins of “pride and arrogance, excess of food and comfort, and neglect of the poor.” His endgame, of course, is to apply pressure to Catholic institutions who do not mount the barricades over these sins; to persuade them to get over it and learn to live with giving insurance coverage to their employees with access to birth control in the same manner that they look the other way over the possibility that a financial adviser they deal with is likely to be greedy and materialistic.
No cigar. It’s sophistry. Come on: There is no reason for a car dealer to assume that one of his customers is motivated by an “arrogant heart” when he or she buys a new car. Or for a contractor to assume that the family buying a home from him is driven by a desire to life a life of “excess luxury,” with no regard for those less fortunate. Or for the hotel owner not to assume that the unmarried couple renting a room from him is living chaste lives. For all the contractor knows, the man or woman buying a mansion from him may be a leading philanthropist. Should a builder require a copy of his customer’s tax returns to see how much they donate to charity before building him a home? Likewise, our local grocer may be an active participant in programs that give the food he does not sell to local charities.
Let’s not beat this to death: There is no inherent evil involved in the examples Murray offers; no reason to believe that anyone in his scenarios is “enabling” immoral behavior. But the same cannot be said about enabling one’s employees to buy contraceptives or abortifacients. There is only one reason to buy those products: to engage in actions that Catholics, as well as many evangelical Protestants and orthodox Jews, are convinced is sinful.
(There is a story told in Unlimited Access, former FBI agent Gary Aldrich’s book about his years in the Clinton White House, describing how Clinton aides used condoms to decorate the White House Christmas tree. I don’t think we are at the point where someone would argue that Catholic employers should be expected to ponder the possibility that their employees who want subsidized contraceptives are planning something of that nature.)
It is difficult to come to any other conclusion than that Murray is deliberately seeking to muddy the waters in this debate over Obamacare. Why is he doing it? Is it a deliberately dishonest ploy? That’s a harsh charge. Perhaps it is simply a bout of partisan political enthusiasm muddling his thinking. But there has to be some reason to explain why he would throw up a smokescreen like this around the motives of those who see nothing wrong with forcing Catholics to violate their freedom of religion. The same can be said of anyone who echoes his case.

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

Pope at UN in Africa: We Have a Choice: Either Improve or Destroy the Environment

Says It Will Be ‘Catastrophic’ If Individual Interests Prevail Over the Common Good in Paris Meeting, and Information Is Manipulated to Protect ‘Plans and Projects’ Kenya, November 26, 2015 ( Staff Reporter Here is a Vatican translation of the address…Continue Reading

Cardinal Pell bets against the odds: insists Pope Francis will strongly reaffirm Catholic tradition

ROME, November 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — Contradicting the statements of some of the pope’s closest advisors, the Vatican’s financial chief Cardinal George Pell has declared that Pope Francis will re-assert and “clarify” longstanding Church teaching and discipline that prohibits Communion…Continue Reading

‘Bleeding host’ under investigation by SL Catholic diocese

(KUTV) The Salt Lake Catholic Diocese has started an investigation into what is being described as a ‘bleeding host’ at a local parish, St. Francis Xavier in Kearns. Images of the host, given to 2News, showed circles of deep red,…Continue Reading

How did heterodox prelates try to change doctrine at synod?

In this address delivered at the Catholic Voice conference Faith of Our Fathers, Matthew McCusker of Voice of the Family discusses three key elements of the “progressive” strategy deployed at the Ordinary Synod: arguing for changes in the Church’s language,…Continue Reading

Bishop Defends Against ‘Vicious’ Bill Donohue Attack

by Church Militant • • November 24, 2015 65 Comments Bishop Rene Henry Gracida is criticizing the Catholic League The bishop emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas is defending against what he calls the “vicious attack” by Catholic League’s…Continue Reading

Pope Francis to German Bishops: Your Church is a mess! Fix it and … GO TO CONFESSION!

The German bishops are making their ad limina visit. Every few years diocesan bishops have to go to Rome to meet with offices of the Roman Curia and, usually, the Pope. Pope Francis gave an address to the German bishops…Continue Reading

Germany’s bishops discuss decentralizing the Church in meeting with Pope Francis

ROME, November 23, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — The German bishops, sixty-seven of them, recently visited Rome together for their obligatory Ad Limina visit with the pope from November 16-20. This Ad Limina visit, which is obligatory for all bishops of the…Continue Reading

In Australia, Catholic Bishops Face Court Action, Huge Fines Over Traditional Views on Marriage

Australians have always viewed America’s litigious culture with suspicion. Our “no worries mate” approach to life means we tend not to rush off to court at the drop of a hat. So last week when a state government commissioner ruled…Continue Reading

Cardinal Wuerl’s Embassy Row Penthouse

Walking through the posh neighborhood of Embassy Row in October, I stumbled across a scoop: that Washington, D.C.’s Cardinal Donald Wuerl lives in a penthouse atop a mansion priced north of $40 million. That Embassy Row mansion is the Our…Continue Reading

Australia investigating archbishop for distributing pamphlet defending true marriage

TASMANIA, Australia, November 13, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — An Australian Catholic archbishop is facing legal action after recently distributing a pamphlet to local Catholic school children that supported Catholic teaching on marriage being between a man and woman. “Dear Friends, I…Continue Reading

A ‘most powerful woman’ – National Geographic’s major hat tip to the Virgin Mary

Washington D.C., Nov 10, 2015 / 03:45 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Our Lady. Blessed Mother. Virgin Mary. Queen of Peace. Theotokos. Handmaid of the Lord. Mother Mary. These are just some of the titles used to describe the young woman to…Continue Reading

At Al Smith Dinner, Former Mayor Bloomberg Honors Vets

Speaking at the Al Smith Dinner on the eve of Veterans Day, former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg took time from his humorous political remarks to remind guests “there are a lot of places around the world where…Continue Reading


Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.

  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Pope to young: Jesus can transform walls into a path


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday encouraged young people in Uganda to turn negative experiences into positive ones with the help of Jesus and his grace. In an address where the Pope ditched his prepared remarks and spoke off-the-cuff in Spanish, he urged the young people to open the door of their hearts to Jesus. More than 150,000 cheering and dancing young people had gathered at an airstrip near Kampala to hear the Pope and…Continue Reading

Pope Gives Youth Choice: Do You Want to Overcome Challenges or Be Overcome by Them?

Throwing Aside Script, Pope Francis Asks Kenya’s Young People If They’ll Allow Difficulties Destroy or Use Them As Opportunities Nairobi, November 27, 2015 ( Deborah Castellano Lubov Pope Francis has asked Kenya’s young people how they will respond to the challenges they face, including those of bad tribalism, corruption, and desperation, and challenged them to get out of vicious cycles. Speaking to tens of thousands gathered in Nairobi’s Kasarani Stadium, this morning, the Pope listened…Continue Reading

The Catholic Origins of Thanksgiving

Did you know that Thanksgiving is a Catholic holiday? True, it’s not on the Church calendar. And it is celebrated only in America, whereas Church holidays are universal. Our national holiday is certainly an event that has taken on a life of its own, with an established tradition involving turkey and mashed potatoes, football, shopping, and a four-day weekend—which is fascinating since none of those things have anything to do with the original event that…Continue Reading

Pope Mass in Kenya: Stand firm in faith

(Vatican Radio) On the first full day of his visit to Kenya, Pope Francis celebrated Mass at Nairobi University. During his homily, which he gave on a specially constructed alter on the campus grounds, the Pope stressed the importance of the family noting that, “Kenyan society has long been blessed with strong family life, a deep respect for the wisdom of the elderly and love for children. The health of any society depends on the…Continue Reading

Pope Francis en route to Kenya


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has departed from Rome’s Fiumicino Airport amid tight security and is scheduled to arrive in Kenya on Wednesday afternoon at the beginning of his six-day Apostolic Visit to three African Nations. Linda Bordoni is in Nairobi awaiting the Pope and sent us this report: Day one of Pope Francis’ apostolic visit to Kenya begins at five pm Nairobi time on Wednesday when he touches down at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport…Continue Reading

How An Americanist/Modernist Continued To Undermine Catholic Teaching

By JAMES LIKOUDIS The author of Pilgrim Church: A Popular History of Catholic Christianity (Revised & Expanded; Twenty-Third Publications, 1989) that continues to circulate in Catholic parishes is Fr. William J. Bausch, who may be remembered by veterans of the sex education battles of the 1970s for his book A Boy’s Sex Life when he…Continue Reading

The End Of Obamaworld

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN In denouncing Republicans as “scared of widows and orphans,” and castigating those who prefer Christian refugees to Muslims coming to America, Barack Obama has come off as petulant and unpresidential. Clearly, he is upset. And with good reason. He grossly, transparently underestimated the ability of ISIS, the “JV” team, to strike…Continue Reading

The Fictional Islamic State

By JUDE DOUGHERTY There is reason to believe that the so-called “Islamic State” is a fictional being rather than a reality. A state has borders, a central government, and a bureaucratic structure. None of this has been claimed for ISIS, although some have spoken of ISIS as a proto-state. What we have in fact is…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “How To Organize A Pro-Family Group”

By BRIAN CLOWES Part 1 (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For the complete guide to organizing an effective pro-family group, e-mail him at + + + Our problem: Many people are concerned about the homosexual special rights agenda, and are amazed at…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke . . . Marriage Catechesis Should Be Priority For Catholic Schools

By ADAM CASSANDRA (Editor’s Note: This article is reprinted from the November 16 Catholic Education Daily, an online publication of The Cardinal Newman Society. All rights reserved.) + + + Sound catechesis on marriage is “a great, great responsibility” for Catholic schools and colleges, Raymond Cardinal Burke told a representative of The Cardinal Newman Society…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Communion Of Saints

By DON FIER For the past six weeks, we have examined and elaborated upon the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) on a state of life embraced by many loyal followers of Christ who have freely responded to a special call to follow with radical fidelity the way of life that the Lord Himself led. These generous…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. I know the word “friend” appears many times in the Bible, but sometimes it is capitalized. For example, at daily Mass today there was a reading from 1st Maccabees which said that King Antiochus, who was about to die, “called in all his Friends” to tell them of his tribulations, and he chose Philip, “one of his Friends,” to…Continue Reading

The New Jerusalem

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Second Sunday Of Advent (YR C) Readings: Baruch 5:1-9 Phil. 1:4-6, 8-11; Luke 3:1-6 In the Gospel reading today we hear about the preaching of St. John the Baptist. However, unlike what we read in the other Gospels, St. Luke does not record the Baptist as saying that he is the voice in the desert calling…Continue Reading

Irish Priest In Kenya . . . Describes What The Pope Will Find

By KATHLEEN NAAB (Editor’s Note: Fr. Conor Donnelly is a priest of the Prelature of Opus Dei, a medical graduate from University College Dublin, and has a doctorate in theology from the University of Navarre. He has lived for 10 years in Manila, 12 in Singapore, and has been in Nairobi for ten years. (In the November 17 interview below…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Defenseless Europe A Lesson For Defending Faith

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK While recently on retreat in New York, you might say I celebrated the Church’s year of consecrated life as I prayed daily Mass for the sisters who kindly hosted me. I invited them to kneel at the Communion rail to receive our Lord as I do at every Mass at my home parish. They all…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Maria Virgo

By CAROLE BRESLIN When I visited my aunt in St. Louis, Mo., we would visit the basilicas, the museums, and other places of interest. She had many sites near her that were particularly special to her, such as her parish, The Little Flower, in Richmond Heights. In addition, she described a place where she frequently went for eucharistic adoration at…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Raphael Kalinowski

By CAROLE BRESLIN There are many terms we use in our language which are clichés. We hear people say that somebody “kicked the bucket,” meaning that he has died, or “I’ll send you to outer Mongolia,” meaning that they will ship you so far away no one will find you. Fr. Kalinowski not only went to a place just north…Continue Reading