Barack Obama is once again waking up to the fact that arrogance, ignorance and spinelessness make for a self-destructive combination. Arrogant, in thinking that he can violate with impunity the First Amendment protections of religion enshrined in the Constitution, ignorant in his complete religious illiteracy, and spineless in his retreat once his imperious salvo was greeted with a sharp jab to the proboscis, Dear Leader looked ridiculous in his announcement Friday that he was adjusting his position on his contraceptive mandate. One must wonder how the genius Constitutional scholar did not anticipate the backlash and why no one around him was able to speak up and say, “Uh, there might be a problem.”
Obama threatens Catholic Church and others with crushing fines
Barack Obama, in his never ending quest to expand the federal government and empower it to micromanage the lives of all Americans, issued a dictate under the dictatorial penumbra of Obamacare to force religious institutions to provide contraceptives, including abortifacients, in health insurance packages. Failure to comply would invoke crippling fines; e.g. for Catholic Charities, an estimated $140,000,000. Yet, to comply would violate deeply held religious convictions.
Obama, a man with few deeply held convictions, may have calculated that the crushing fines would cause the Catholic Church to buckle. As the most spineless of bipedal beings, how could he have anticipated a display of backbone? But that’s what he got. Not just from the Catholics, but from various religious denominations familiar with the poetics of Martin Niemöller who knew that Obama would soon come for them.
So Obama, looking peeved, as if once again he had to descend Olympus to deal with petty mortal squabbles, issued his adjustment. Religious institutions would not have to pay for their employees to have contraception included in health insurance. Instead, insurance companies covering employees of religious institutions would have to cover contraception for free. That’s it. Zeus has spoken.
And that would be it. Except…Zeus is an idiot. Or he’s been sipping too hard at the cup of Dionysus. Again, one wonders, does Obama know anything about anything? Does he ever talk to anyone who knows anything about anything? I’m not a genius Harvard lawyer, Constitutional law professor, but even I see numerous points of contention that will not go away, no matter how much Zeus stomps his imperious foot.
Obama contraceptive mandate fix fixes nothing
Point one: Why is contraception included in insurance coverage anyway? The first thing they teach you in insurance license school is that a party cannot insure himself against deliberate acts. Generally speaking, sexual intercourse is not accidental. If adults deliberately participate in sexual relations, they cannot insure themselves against the consequences. But that of course is a legal argument, which Harvard lawyer Barack Obama cannot be expected to comprehend. He is more interested in fairness, right? And women’s health. Clearly, Pres. Obama views pregnancy as a disease to be prevented. He has stated his preference that his grandchild be aborted rather than his daughter being “punished with a child.”
Point two: By law, insurance companies are prohibited from offering “free insurance.” I’m not exactly sure what the public policy issue is, but when I was selling insurance, I was strictly instructed that all insurance must be paid for. And insurance could only be purchased by someone who has an insurable interest in the person covered. Yet, Obama is forcing insurance companies to offer free insurance. The companies have no interest in the women they’d be insuring, but suddenly that’s not necessary either. What’s necessary is that Obama be let off the hook, not be further embarrassed, and certainly not be bothered again by petty moral squabbles.
Point three: Obama is trading one Constitutional violation for another. Yes, Obama’s mandate was a patent violation of the First Amendment, interfering with the free exercise of religion and establishing a government-branded form, which only the likes of, say, Jeremiah Wright, would recognize as religion. But Obama’s solution is to violate the Fifth Amendment rights of insurance companies, forcing them to surrender an insurance product without being paid fair market value. This is eminent domain without compensation. It’s out and out seizure. Obama might have thought he could get away with violating the Constitutional rights of an unpopular institution like the Catholic Church. Now having failed, he has to go after the even-less-popular insurance industry. Next stop, dog catchers and cable guys.
Point four: Even if the insurance companies swallow their Fifth Amendment objection and dole out “free insurance,” they will simply pass the cost onto other insureds. In other words, the premiums on policies held by the religious institutions will rise to pay for the contraceptive coverage even if contraception is not a line item on their policy. Churches will in fact be paying for contraception.
Point five: This whole kerfuffle is over a modestly-priced, widely-available product that anyone can purchase at the corner drugstore. It hardly seems worth the trouble, except that Obama is obsessed with using the federal government to redistribute wealth. What is a right under the Obama administration? It’s anything a client of the state might want, which the state can force someone else to pay for. The more clients the state keeps happy, the more dependency that state breeds, and the more powerful the state grows. Thus, the state can stamp out any pesky civic institutions which might offer a contrasting viewpoint, giving the state the monopoly over thought which it so richly covets.
Obama justifies contraceptive mandate with faulty “Christian” argument
Let’s be clear. This whole blow-up has nothing to do with expanding health coverage. It is all about expanding the reach of the federal government. Barack Obama has asserted in recent days that his Christian faith motivates his actions, but his citation of scripture indicates a level of Biblical illiteracy rivaled only by his feeble grasp of jurisprudence. Obama said at the annual Prayer Breakfast that he wants to raise taxes on the wealthy because, “for me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’ teaching that, ‘for unto whom much is given, much shall be required.” Of course, Jesus was talking about servants and masters. His analogy was to God, the Master, and us, His servants. Obama secularizes the parable, placing government in the place of God, the Master, making us slaves to the state. This is, of course, the Marxist utopia, where “the State is my shepherd, I shall not want…anything other than what it doles out to me.” Obama longs for a transformed America where all citizens are servants to the state. It is not a Christian, nor is it an American, vision.
In defending his contraceptive mandate, Obama asserted that he was doing it because his Christian faith compels him to be his “brother’s keeper and [his] sister’s keeper.” This is not a Christian impulse; it is a twisted totalitarian’s perversion of scripture. The verse refers to Cain who, having killed his brother Abel, responds to God’s inquiry as to Abel’s whereabouts with the snide and sarcastic reposte, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Any well-educated Christian knows that Cain is being a little snot, that he’s goading the Lord, Who has given man dominion over the animals, but not over other humans. Cain, an envious farmer, is snarking at his brother the shepherd, a keeper of animals. God’s response to Cain does nothing to reinforce the notion that we should be our brothers’ keepers. Far from it. The irony is that Cain has, in fact, has acted like his brother’s keeper. The keeper of animals has the power of life and death over them, and can slaughter them as he sees fit. That is precisely what Cain has done. And this is what Barack Obama feels his Christian faith calls him to do: to be his brother’s keeper, to keep his brother in an enclosure, to pasture him occasionally, and slaughter his brother when it suits him. This justifies Barack Obama’s wholesale support of the abortion industry, which teaches women that they are their children’s keepers, entitled to slaughter them with impunity.
Barack Obama can misquote and misapply scripture all he wants. His feeble lip-service to Christianity merely exposes his totalitarian impulses. Fortunately for us, he’s a spineless and weak-willed totalitarian, quick to retreat in the face of a fight. And he’ll be getting that fight.
Catholics may disagree with the Church on its contraceptive teaching, especially American Catholics who tend to be anti-authoritarian and have many arguments about how the hierarchy of the Church manages its ministries. But Catholic arguments are in-house, family arguments. They don’t take kindly to outsiders interposing themselves in those arguments. They certainly don’t want another authoritarian structure imposing itself upon them. That not only offends their Catholicity, it offends them as Americans. Americans, Mr. President, do not want to be kept. Not by you, not by anyone. So, while you’re introducing yourself to our Constitutional Amendments, don’t stop at number one. Work your way up to number Thirteen. The one that eliminated slavery; the one that says you can’t be your brother’s keeper.