Barack Obama and his administration are out of control on many levels, but the attack on traditional religion is one of the worst.
It came to a head when the administration ordered that military chaplains not celebrate Mass or perform any of their usual religious duties during the government shutdown – or face arrest!
Can you imagine, arresting a priest for performing a baptism or officiating at a wedding or celebrating Sunday Mass?
Yes, imagine it. That was the order, and it was enforced with the support of the man who is president.
The concept is beyond belief in this country, but there it was. It caused great anger and anguish among Catholics in the military and in civilian life but then the outrage filtered back to the Oval Office.
Whoops! That engendered a blatant attempt at damage control last week by the Obama administration, which began laying it on with a trowel.
All of a sudden, Americans were fed the line, courtesy Associated Press “news stories” that Barack Obama is filled with Christian spirituality, prays often, takes counsel from religious figures and, all in all, is just a caring man. We saw pictures of him praying.
Oh, that’s so sweet. He is just a good man who guides his life as a Christian. Even though, we’re told, he doesn’t make a public display of it.
I don’t believe a word of it because actions speak louder than words.
Obama’s actions are those of a man enjoying rubbing the noses of Catholics in their religion. He forces them to make choices that violate their personal and religious consciences and, ultimately, as we have just seen, threatening clergy with arrest if they perform the most basic of Catholic rituals, celebrating Mass.
According to the edict, when the government “shut down,” it meant that all non-military Catholic clergy on military bases were forbidden to practice any part of their religion.
According to CNS news, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel consulted with Attorney General Eric Holder and decided that civilian Catholic priests, working under contract as chaplains, did not “contribute to the morale” and the “well-being” of service personnel.
They were told they couldn’t even volunteer their services to the faithful.
The interesting part of the order was that it did not apply to Protestant services or any other religion, just Catholicism.
Constitutional violation, anyone?
That’s what infuriated Father Ray Leonard at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Georgia. And he decided to sue.
The case was filed in U.S. district Court in Washington by the Thomas More Law Center on behalf of Father Leonard and Fred Naylor, one of his parishioners and a retired 22-year veteran.
Not surprisingly, everything hit the fan when the suit was filed and the feds dropped the restrictions on the priest, but the lawsuit stands.
Richard Thompson, president of the law center, told WND that the federal action was a “blatant attack on religious liberty” and that lifting the restrictions doesn’t erase the constitutional violations.
He noted that only Catholic services were affected, which included masses, blessings, marriage preparation classes, counseling, confessions, baptisms and confirmations.
The defendants in the suit are the Department of Defense, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, the Navy Department and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus.
It should prove to be an interesting trial and certainly one with broad constitutional ramifications.
The attitude of the Obama administration about traditional religion, and Catholicism in particular, became clear when some of the details of Obamacare became known. Every entity that provides medical insurance for employees must include coverage for everything from birth control to abortion.
That means that all Catholic institutions – businesses, schools and universities, hospitals and charitable operations – must toe the line and include coverage for those “services” and products even though they violate Catholic religious beliefs and consciences.
If Catholics agree to follow orders, they’re committing a sin according to their beliefs; if they refuse, they face financial and other state-imposed penalties.
It doesn’t take much to interpret that as an infringement of the religious rights of Catholics, to say nothing of other religions which might find the same orders from “Obama’s headquarters” onerous at the least, and unconstitutional at most.
So far, the administration isn’t budging and it’s caused havoc for many institutions. Right now, there is turmoil on the campuses of Santa Clara University and Loyola Marymount University, both Jesuit institutions in California.
Both schools announced a decision not to include elective abortions in their health coverage and it caused an uproar on campus on the part of some faculty members. The same controversies exist on other Catholic campuses and the reaction of the feds concerning providing “reproductive services” in health plans remains to be seen.
At this point, it appears that Obamacare is struggling hard enough dealing with the computer glitches just getting people signed up, but it’s almost a certainty that when (if) that gets settled, they’ll crack down on Catholics for continuing to believe that birth control and abortion are more than just “medical” issues.
They believe there is morality involved – but morality is something that totally escapes the Obama administration.
They don’t want to be confused with facts and the constitutional protection of choice – the right to say “no.”