But luckily there are actions we can (and must!) take to stop them.
There’s something providential about the timing of their attack on our religious freedom. If our enemies were smart(er), they would have waited to launch it until after the elections in November, when they would have had four uninterrupted years to carry out their strategy nearly unopposed.
Instead, we have been given a narrow window of opportunity to make our case and execute our strategy to defeat the political powers that have attacked us so aggressively.
But the window is small, so we have to be smart. Smarter than we have been so far in this struggle.
First of all, we must actively stand with our bishops and present a united front to the world.
Cardinal Dolan this weekend was urging Catholics to become more active in politics. The prospect of more faithful laity becoming involved in politics terrifies leftists like Eduardo Penalver of Commonweal, and Andrew Sullivan of The Daily Beast, who have come to take their monopoly on political engagement for granted.
It’s a good bet that the louder the left screams and complains, the better job we are doing. (If you really want to make them go apoplectic, donate to CatholicVote’s new Super PAC here.)
The level of hateful rhetoric aimed at the bishops is simply appalling. And what I find most appalling is the double-standard. Liberals have been going after Rush Limbaugh for inappropriate comments he made about a pro-abortion activist woman, comments for which he apologized. Now when will President Obama and top Democrat leaders apologize for comments made by their ideological compatriots such as this? I’m not holding my breath.
Second, we have to largely ignore the thought-leaders of the Catholic left and focus instead on energizing our own base by educating fair-minded Catholics in the pew.
Don’t get me wrong — I love seeing Bishop William Lori, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Religious Liberty, take the editors of American magazine to the woodshed and Matt Bowman dismantling Michael Sean Winters.
But it’s our job to make sure the winning arguments used by our allies and shepherds at the top are heard and absorbed by each and every Catholic, not just those already engaged in the fight.
I have little hope of convincing left-wing Catholics who have already caved on the mandate to change their minds, but I have great hope that uncommitted Catholics will flock to our side if we do our work in educating them about what is at stake here (Ed Morrissey does a good job explaining exactly how high the stakes are when it comes to the survival of Catholic institutions under Obamcare’s mandates).
In other words, if we really want to defeat those dedicated to distorting our faith, we have to do the hard work of taking away their audience. That’s what they care most about (and rightfully so). The problem with leftist Catholics is not only that they say wrong and deceitful things, but also that they deceive their Catholic audience, through such mechanisms as phony voter guides like this one issued by Catholycs in Alliance for the Common Good.
If we can successfully win over the audience of the Catholic left and inoculate the wider Catholic community against their false arguments we have already won a huge victory.
Third, how do we win over the audience of the Catholic left and energize our base? Simple:
Controlling the message is simple but also one of the hardest things to do. If you watch closely, you will notice that anti-Catholic liberals are always careful to focus on talking about the things they want to talk about. Because they have no persuasive arguments against the things we care about (religious liberty, pro-life), they will always attempt to shift the debate over to things they feel they can win (contraception, a “war on women”, etc).
We simply have to stop trying to catch their red herrings. The anti-Catholic left has overreached so far on this one we don’t have to defend our own teachings to win this battle, we simply have to expose their overreach and false rhetoric.
Here are 5 simple talking points to memorize when debating the Obamacare mandate:
- 1. The Catholic Church and/or Republicans did not “start” a “war on women.” The Obama administration started the war on the Catholic Church by initiating a mandate.
- 2. This is not a contraception mandate. It is an abortion inducing drugs, sterilization, contraception, and anti-religious freedom mandate.
- 3. Obama’s accommodation, which implicates insurers into providing these immoral services for free, is not the law of the land. The original Obamacare mandate was placed into the federal register and remains the sole issue here.
- 4. Access to contraception is not the issue — contraception is available in a multitude of ways, often provide for free to low-income women by federal Title X funds, etc. Religious liberty and access to services provided by faith-based communities post-Obamacare is the issue.
- 5. Separation of Church and State is not the issue. The Obama administration has tossed all separation of Church and State out the window when they authorized the government to intrude into the operations of faith-based institutions with this mandate.
If we stick to these five simple message points we win the public debate. If we don’t, we risk losing.
I’ll be writing more about the public debate regarding the Obamacare mandate in the coming days and weeks, but it’s important right now that we begin training ourselves to argue against the mandate and defend religious freedom. Please like and share this post if you found it helpful and continue to seek ways to get engaged in this critical fight!