Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Pray for our Bishops

Thomas Peters at CatholicVote.org has a thorough list of bishops who have spoken out recently against the (unconstitutional, illegal) mandate of the HHS about insurance policies. Please acquaint yourselves with what they are saying. They need our support in this - most especially our constant and fervent prayers, but also some positive encouragement to keep up the zeal they need to lead and defend us.

There is still a good possibility for a legislative solution, that is, that Congress could legislate the defense of First Amendment rights into the HHS policy, which it currently lacks. To that end, the bishops through the USCCB advocate writing to your Congress members:

"To correct the threats to religious liberty and rights of conscience posed by PPACA, the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act has been introduced in Congress (H.R. 1179, S. 1467). This measure will ensure that those who participate in the health care system “retain the right to provide, purchase, or enroll in health coverage that is consistent with their religious beliefs and moral convictions.” It is more important than ever that Members of Congress be urged to co-sponsor this measure. For co-sponsors, please check H.R. 1179 and S. 1467 at: thomas.loc.gov."

Another possibility is the judicial one, overturning the mandate on First Amendment and/or other grounds. It's hard to imagine how this mandate could survive in court, but stranger things have happened; we can't take it for granted that it would be overturned. And it would take time to go through the process, probably all the way to the Supreme Court. In the meantime, we'd still be on the hook to compromise our faith.

The third possibility I can imagine is the civil disobedience one. With a sufficiently high measure of unity and commitment among faithful Catholics, Orthodox Jews, Evangelicals, and other affected groups, this strategy could well be successful. Most likely it would work best in combination with a judicial or legislative (more permanent) solution.

There's a lot at stake in this. It's not just a moral issue that affects a small number of us anachronisms who "cling to our guns and religion." The fundamental issue here is about the Constitution and the nature of the government our children and grandchildren will deal with. Will we keep to the essential vision of the Founding Fathers (i.e., limited (more or less) government, separation of powers, checks and balances, civil law still within hailing distance of the natural law, and the sovereignty of the people), or will we become what we have been drifting slowly toward: subjects beholden to a government wielding unchecked and arbitrary power behind a facade of electoral pseudo-consent? This coercion, if it succeeds, is a big step toward the latter.

Therefore, brothers, pray.

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