By Cheri Jacobus - 02/16/12 10:52 PM EST
What if a Republican president, aided solely by the votes of Republicans and none from Democrats in Congress, decreed Muslim organizations’ employees in the United States would be forced to feast before sundown during the traditional Ramadan fasting, which prohibits eating until after sundown?
OK, so that didn’t really happen. But one can only imagine the outcry, the charges of bigotry and the lashing a Republican president and congressional Republicans would be subjected to, if the scenario were true. And it would not be just from Muslims, as the Ground Zero mosque debacle illustrated.
Such blatant religious bigotry and arrogance by the president is, predictably, enraging to Catholics and threatens to derail Obama’s already-eroding support nationally. What Obama and his Constitution-killing cohorts in Congress might fail to understand is how such a move angers far more people than just anti-abortion Catholics.
On whichever side of the abortion debate one falls, forcing a religious institution by law to engage in abortion activity is abhorrent and un-American. Whether Catholic, Jewish, non-Catholic Christian, pro-choice Catholic, cafeteria Catholic, evangelical or non-evangelical Christian, this aspect of ObamaCare overreach is cause for uproar and rejection of the president and congressional Democrats in November. Even atheists and agnostics could get in on this one, if they are keen on freedom and liberty. From constitutional and religious scholars to the proletariat, this latest Obama blunder reverberates.
How did we get from demanding the government leave decisions about women’s bodies to women and their doctors to the government demanding religious-based organizations facilitate those supposedly private decisions against their will? If the pro-choice activist community cares and dares to be intellectually honest, they will side with the Catholics and the church’s choice. That is, after all, the other side of the “choice” argument — right?
If Rick Santorum wins the GOP nomination — somewhat more plausible now, after his primary and caucus wins and recent national polls — he will go hammer and tong with this issue in a campaign against Obama. The religious “extremist” attack the media and the left would pound Santorum with would be blunted, their snide elitism in the face of forcing Catholic institutions to provide birth control and abortion-inducing drugs against their will only percolating the growing disdain Americans have for Obama. If Mitt Romney is the nominee, Santorum and others will be invaluable on this issue as well, and we Republican centrists will be exceedingly comfortable with them.
Obama’s chief campaign strategist, David Axelrod, announced he is willing to “compromise” with Catholic institutions. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told Congress this week that the “compromise” still mandates insurance for employees of Catholic institutions to provide contraception and abortion-inducing drugs, but the new twist merely has the insurer responsible for the co-pay.
So riddle me this: How is the pope and the world’s largest Christian religion — with more than a billion members — to be placated by the “olive branch” extended by an Obama political operative? The Catholic Church has to negotiate with — David Axelrod? He’s not an Obama health adviser, and certainly not an Obama religious adviser (what would the Rev. Jeremiah Wright say, by the way?) — this forced Catholic contraception is a purely political move by the president. Perhaps the White House’s religious recalibration quieted several progressive Catholic groups, but the Catholic bishops and legions of others are not silent. While Axelrod might “compromise” now, the war on Christianity will resume after Obama places his hand on the Bible, should he be sworn in for a second term.
The lions in the Coliseum are already licking their chops.
Cheri Jacobus is a political/public affairs consultant. She has worked on Capitol Hill and managed congressional campaigns, and now appears on CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, PBS and other venues.