- The Washington Times - Monday, November 5, 2012

This year’s election has been predominately focused on the economy. That makes sense given the Obama administration’s responsibility for growing federal deficits, suffocating debt, almost nonexistent economic growth, a downgraded credit rating, a depressed business climate, worsening unemployment and a debased currency. Under the Democrats’ mismanagement, the United States is staring down a fiscal catastrophe. That’s not the only crisis the nation faces, however. Freedom of religion is under threat as the Obama administration tries to force faith underground.

Citizens voting on Tuesday need to keep in mind that the window of opportunity for repealing Obamacare is closing rapidly. As federal and state bureaucracies create structures for implementation, it will become harder to put the genie back in the bottle. While the gradual government takeover of health care and one-fifth of the economy is bad enough, the consequences are much more dire for Washington’s effort to strip away our freedom of conscience. Numerous mandates in the Obamacare law violate the tenets of America’s major religions. For example, mandates forcing abortion, sterilization and birth-control coverage are in direct contradiction of the strict moral teaching of the Catholic Church, which is the largest religion in the United States with nearly a quarter of the population in its ranks.

Catholic bishops have taken an unusually strong stance this election year. Across the Potomac in the Arlington Diocese on Sunday, Bishop Paul S. Loverde ordered that a letter be read from the pulpit in all of his parishes reminding Catholics of the moral imperative to vote against abortion and in defense of religious liberty. “The party platforms and political advertisements we see and hear each day confirm that the lives of the unborn, the weakest and most innocent amongst us, are still squarely in the public debate, and our votes do have consequences with respect to this ‘unspeakable crime,’ both here at home and in nations abroad,” His Excellency instructed his flock. “If we do not defend life at its beginning at conception, then there is no life for us to develop and protect thereafter. It is the first right.”

This stern warning is directly related to the violations of conscience intrinsic to Obamacare. “The ability of the Church to live fully its mission as Christ’s Church is directly infringed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ mandate requiring Church institutions to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives, sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs. To date, there has been no change, solution or accommodation to the policy announced in January, thereby forcing Church institutions, and indeed all Catholic business owners, to provide reproductive services that violate our conscience,” Bishop Loverde explains. “The Church’s charitable, educational and healthcare ministries are and continue to be clearly threatened by this draconian requirement that assaults our First Amendment rights as free citizens. However an individual votes this November, that decision will have a specific impact on religious liberty, which is the first freedom.”

The liberal assault on religious freedom paints a target on the backs of all people of faith. The 2012 election presents a stark choice between pro-life candidates and those who support the murder of the unborn and who believe government dictates should rule over the minds, hearts and souls of Americans.

Brett M. Decker is editorial page editor of The Washington Times and coauthor of “Bowing to Beijing” (Regnery, 2011).


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