Today we see President Obama's administration in litigation with the Little Sisters of the Poor, who refuse to sign a form authorizing a health-care insurer to provide contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs. Obama's lawyers say the form is a mere formality and is virtually meaningless; but the Sisters contend they would be cooperating in grave sin if they sign the form.
|St. Jeanne Jugan & Little Sisters of the Poor|
I see the Sisters in much the same position as St. Thomas More, who refused to sign an oath affirming that Henry VIII was supreme ruler of the English Church. "Hey, its just a formality," I'm sure Henry's toadies told More. Just sign it and go on with your life.
But St. Thomas More refused to sign Henry's oath, and eventually he was executed.
|The Little Sisters of the Poor, like St. Thomas More, are people for all seasons.|
Since the venerable case of West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnett, decided in 1943, it has been an axiom of First Amendment law that Americans cannot be compelled to affirm what they do not believe. And this is exactly what the Obama administration and his lawyers are trying to get the Little Sisters to do.
President Obama's treatment of the Little Sisters of the Poor is consistent with other words and deeds that show his disdain for the Catholic Church. Last year, the President urged the Irish to close their religious schools, showing a shocking insensitivity toward Irish heritage as well as disregard for the American constitutional principle that people have a constitutional right to choose religious schools for their children.
Last November, he made the sign of the cross while pardoning a Thanksgiving turkey, a mocking gesture toward the Catholic Church.
And of course his inner circle of advisers is packed with apostate Catholics who claim to be members of the Catholic Church while supporting abortion on demand. Kathleen Sebelius, Obama's Secretary of Health and Human Services, was told by her bishop not to appear for communion after she vetoed a bill putting restrictions on abortion in Kansas while she was governor of that state.
Apparently, Sebelius didn't listen to the bishop's admonishment because he had to tell her twice not to go to communion. Some Catholic!
So let's say a prayer for the Little Sisters of the Poor. And let us hope the Supreme Court, which includes six Catholic Justices, will uphold the Little Sister's constitutional right to freedom of religion.
But if the Justices support the Obama administration in this litigation, you can be sure the Little Sisters of the Poor will never sign the Obama administration's damnable form. Like St. Thomas More, the Sisters are people for all seasons. I feel certain that the Sisters' resolve is every bit as strong as the resolve of Saint Thomas More--who went to the scaffold rather than betray his faith.
Tom Howell, Jr. Obamacare release form stokes uproard in nuns' contraception fight. Washington Times, January 5, 2014. Accessible at: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jan/5/obamacare-release-form-stokes-uproar-in-nuns-contr/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS
Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510 (1925).
President Obama quotes Pope Francis in Speech About Income Inequality. Huffington Post, December 4, 2013. Accessible at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/04/obama-quotes-pope-francis_n_4386622.html
West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnett, 319 U.S. 624 (1943).