American Catholics are mobilizing for the biggest campaign of mass civil disobedience since the end of segregation. U.S. Catholic bishops are calling on Catholics to defy the Obama administration's contraceptive mandate. This comes in addition to numerous lawsuits launched by 46 plaintiffs from dioceses, universities and hospitals against the administration's order that compels religious organizations to subsidize birth control, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs. The mandate is an unprecedented assault upon the Catholic Church's conscience rights and religious freedom, blatantly usurping the First Amendment.
The state is forcing churches, as well as synagogues and mosques, to consent to President Obama's radical secular agenda. Otherwise, their institutions - hospitals, schools, universities and charities - will face stiff penalties and eventually close down. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is launching a campaign called the Fortnight for Freedom, from June 21 until July 4. Its goal: alert Catholics - and all freedom-loving Americans - to the impending threat posed by Mr. Obama's power grab. The contraceptive mandate is scheduled to take effect on Aug 1.
Mr. Obama is waging an ideological war against the Catholic Church. His mandate is essentially telling the church that it can no longer follow its central teachings on abortion, contraception and sterilization - or else it risks massive fines. Mr. Obama seeks to make himself, not Pope Benedict XVI, the head of the Roman Catholic Church. He is behaving like an ancient Roman emperor. He is claiming the state can impose its pagan morality upon the church's institutions. We are sliding back to third-century Rome.
Mr. Obama embodies the secular fanaticism at the heart of modern liberalism - and by extension, its animating dark impulse: anti-Christian bigotry. For decades, liberals have sought to purge religion from the public square. The Ten Commandments have been taken down from courthouses. Prayer in public schools is banned. Darwinian evolution - one of the greatest intellectual hoaxes of all time - is regularly taught to students. Christians are routinely vilified and mocked in popular culture. Mr. Obama represents the culmination of leftist Christophobia.
Under Obamacare, Americans will be forced to subsidize abortions. Hence, devout Christians, along with other religious believers, will have to finance a procedure that is not only morally abominable but theologically prohibited. Abortion is murder. In America, more than 50 million unborn babies have been exterminated - a holocaust. Obamacare would make Christians complicit in state-sanctioned infanticide.
Now Mr. Obama's contraceptive mandate is targeting Catholics for their views on birth control. Since America's inception, religious groups have had their liberties preserved; only they - not the state or an established church - could determine their fundamental beliefs. Mr. Obama is not only trampling on basic freedoms, he is classifying Catholics as second-class citizens, who should be stripped of their conscience rights and religious liberties. He is erecting a socialist secular superstate in which the Catholic Church is to be suppressed. It is a form of Jim Crow - discrimination against an entire category of people encoded in law - masquerading as "women's health care."
This is why the USCCB is calling for massive, peaceful, civil disobedience. Devout Catholics will not sacrifice their freedoms - or their faith - on the altar of radical liberalism. They should defy and ignore the contraceptive mandate. If the administration insists on imposing fines, don't pay them. The same applies for Obamacare's taxpayer funding of abortion. Catholics must take a stand. If Mr. Obama and his liberal thugs want to throw defiant Christians in jail, then let them go ahead. The church is replete with martyrs. Widespread disobedience will trigger the downfall of the state church of liberalism, exposing its anti-Christian, authoritarian nature.
Unless Christians defend their faith, they will become a persecuted minority. If you think I'm exaggerating, just look north of the border. In the June 11 issue of National Review, Michael Coren, a Canadian TV personality and columnist, documents in chilling detail how Canada's same-sex marriage law is being used to criminalize the Catholic Church.
In 2005, Canada legalized homosexual marriage. According to Mr. Coren, there have been more than 200 cases - through the courts, "human rights" commissions and employment panels - against opponents of same-sex marriage. Critics have been fired or sued. For example, Bishop Fred Henry was charged with human rights violations for sending a letter to churches in Calgary that simply restated the Catholic Church's position on traditional marriage. Mr. Coren says that two Canadian provinces are contemplating bills that would make it illegal for teachers in private, religious schools to criticize homosexual marriage. The article states that a senior government official in Ontario - the country's most powerful province - vowed that if the Catholic Church did not embrace same-sex marriage and homosexuality, then it "would have to change its teaching." In other words, liberals are laying the groundwork to ban opposition to homosexual marriage and their larger agenda by claiming it is a "hate crime." This is creeping, soft totalitarianism; the drive to censor, ostracize and eventually eradicate traditional Christianity.
The secular left understands that there is one last institutional bulwark standing in its way: the Roman Catholic Church. Mr. Obama's support for same-sex marriage, homosexuals in the military, abortion on demand, free birth control and embryonic stem-cell research are all part of an attempt to forge a moral revolution - to create what he calls a "post-Christian nation." In order to succeed, he must break the Church's will and coerce its institutions to serve his radical aims.
Contrary to myth, liberals are intolerant. They have now awakened the ire of the Catholic Church. We will show them they have gone too far.
Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at The Washington Times and president of the Edmund Burke Institute.
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