Up to now, I've been assuming that the HHS mandate was simply a colossal misstep on the president's part, thinking that because so many Catholics contracept, he could get away with demanding that the Church buy them contraception. I figured it was going to backfire on him in the election. We make up a fifth of the country, after all, and a majority of Catholics voted for him the last time around. Depriving them of their first amendment rights seems like a sure-fire way to lose in November.
But last night, it occurred to me: what if the president has been reading history and knows exactly what he's doing? What if he's familiar with the Edmunds-Tucker Act?
For those who are maybe less brushed up on religious suppression than our Dear Leader, the Edmunds-Tucker Act outlawed the Mormon church, allowed the government to confiscate its property, and denied the franchise to any practicing Mormon. Incredibly, it was upheld by the Supreme Court, and remained on the books until 1978, although the 1890 manifesto renouncing polygamy made it irrelevant. (Incidentally, one of the petitioners in the case was Mitt Romney's great-uncle.)
Currently, the Catholic Church operates 625 hospitals, 230 colleges and universities and God only knows how many charities (adoption agencies, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, hospices, and so on). What's to stop our Democratic Overlords from confiscating all those institutions and using them as building blocks for a single-payer system? He's already shown that he thinks of the First Amendment as legal Charmin. Why should he respect any of our other rights if he gets away with it the first time?
I suspected this might be coming three years ago, but I didn't think it would ever get to this point, and certainly not on a federal level.
As much as I hate to say it, if the administration won't back down on this point, then the bishops need to close the institutions that aren't covered. Immediately, so that the government doesn't have a chance to seize them. If Obama wants to get us out of the charity field, he's welcome to try, but under no circumstances should we provide him with the facilities he so desperately wants to pervert to immoral uses. I know it's harsh to withdraw so much good from the needy (who aren't to blame for this whole disaster in the first place), but if the alternative is to render unto Caesar the things that are God's, then I don't see that we have much choice.