Excuse Cardinal Dolan While He Saves the World

(Thanks to my late friend Andrew Breitbart for inspiring the title.)

From my syndicated column this week:

perhaps the most recognizable face of the opposition to the HHS mandate is Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Like Fortenberry, Dolan has been warning anyone who cared to listen for years. When reporter John Allen asked him for his book A People of Hope, well before the current mandate controversy, “Fundamentally, are you glad health-care reform passed?” Dolan said: “I’m certainly for the idea of reform, but not this particular bill. We bishops found ourselves in a very tough position, because this is something we’ve advocated for since 1919. Now it’s on the brink of becoming reality, and we find ourselves unable to be exuberant about it, because there’s a very fundamental and critical part of it that scares the life out of us.”

Dolan is, of course, not a political but a spiritual leader. Like his fellow Catholic Fortenberry, Dolan is most concerned about a different kind of battleground state — one in a campaign for eternity. But this HHS mandate collides with the cardinal’s vocational call in an unprecedented and radical way, and this is why you’re seeing the Catholic bishops so vocal and adamant in their defense not only of the rights of their institutions, but also of the conscience rights of individual Americans of any or no faith. This White House has put the federal government in the position of defining what is and is not a religious organization and — absent an unexpected rescinding of the mandate — the Fortenberry bill is the best we can do in the short term. (Given that the administration first floated the mandate idea in August 2011, finalized the wording in January, and has doubled down in February and March, it’s clear that rescinding it is not a likely scenario.)

“Excuse me while I save the world,” my late friend Andrew Breitbart would say. I can’t quite hear the cardinal or the congressman putting it that way, but it is nonetheless what they’re doing by defending the religious liberty of all Americans. America has long been a beacon for those who thirst for freedom and seek to live in a society that does not punish obedience to conscience. It is becoming increasingly clear that the upcoming election is going to have something to do with whether or not we preserve our foundational freedoms, not only for future generations but for those of us here now. A bureaucracy in Washington is trying to figure out how to make viable a law that interferes with our most intimate life-and-death decisions. Pointing that out is not “partisan” politics. (Is there a graver sin?) It is not redolent of the “tea party at prayer.”

More here.


Categories:Health Care


    Between fighting gay marriage and the H&HS regulations, the Cardinal’s
    brilliant initiative to reduce the abortions of 40% of NYC babies in the womb by persuading expectant mothers and providing them with alternatives has fallen into the abyss of apathy. Sad.

  • Andrew

    The Civil Rights Act of 1964 allows the government to dictate to religious employers whom they can hire and not fire. For example, a religious hospital can’t fire someone just because they are gay. Where does this fit in to your logic? Is this government overreach? Is it overreach for the government to tell religious organizations they can’t discriminate against anyone?


  • BethAnn

    Your writing continues to ignore historical facts. “This White House has put the federal government in the position of defining what is and is not a religious organization.” Not true. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 already did it…and the 2000 EEOC mandate forcing contraception on employers, including religious, uses that law. “Respondents are employers within the meaning of Section 701(b) of the Act. All other jurisdictional requirements have also been met.” http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/decision-contraception.html Where were the Bishops pressuring the Bush admin to make the necessary changes? Guess it wasn’t important then.

    • john

      what would the founding fathers say?

    • Fred

      A couple of comments on your post:

      1.) The EEOC mandate states, “Respondents must cover the expenses of prescription contraceptives to the same extent, … that they cover the expenses of the types of drugs” It does not state that they must cover any prescription drug as the HHS mandate does. In fact, this is how many religiously observant employers avoided funding contraception in states that required it — they dropped prescription coverage all together. HHS mandate does not give us this option.

      2.) The EEOC is a federal agency — not the Supreme Court. Here, they are simply interpreting the Supreme Court’s decision on discrimination of women in hiring based on their potential to be pregnant. We’ll see what the court really says.



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