On a sunny May afternoon in 2009, President Barack Obama assured the students and faculty of Notre Dame University that an end to the culture war was within reach. All we have to do is respect each others’ opinions and focus on shared goals like helping the needy; then Americans – Pro-Life and Pro-Choice, religious and secular – could all get along. It’s an attractive vision: only he followed it up with the most sustained attack on Pro-Life, pro-family and religious conscience in American history.
By 2011, Obama was terminating a federal contract for Catholic charities to aid sex trafficking victims because they would not refer for abortions, and requiring nearly all employers – including religious non-profits like Notre Dame – to pay for “preventative care” that includes abortifacient drugs. Also that year, his Justice Department argued before the Supreme Court that the government had the right to supersede a church in deciding whom it could hire and fire as a minister (Hosanna-Tabor Church v. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission). The Court unanimously rejected that unprecedented claim.
Anyone expecting President Obama and his friends to relent in his second term is trusting words over actions. The Obamacare health insurance exchanges now being implemented conceal which plans include abortion, and in many states, no abortion-free plan is offered at all. His response to the recent government shutdown included cancelling religious services at military bases, and when some priests offered to serve without pay, they were threatened with arrest. Meanwhile, his allies in Congress are pushing a bill that would treat anyone who refuses to employ a gay rights advocate the same as existing civil rights law treats racists.
The First Amendment to the US Constitution is short and sweet: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” We at the National Traditionalist Caucus believe that no American should need a religious motive to have their conscience respected, but it takes a peculiar audacity (and not of hope) to subordinate the free exercise of religion to any “right” the secular Left can legislate, regulate or litigate onto the books. All promises to the contrary, the only form of compromise President Obama is willing to offer Pro-Life, pro-family and religious Americans is deceptive tactics that anesthetize us to the violation of our freedom of conscience.
National Traditionalist Caucus