If you didn't recognize it, that title references a short story by Stephen Vincent Benet entitled, The Devil and Daniel Webster. It's a Faustian tale written in the early 1900s.
Some 40 Catholic dioceses and charitable organizations challenged Kathleen Sebelius and the Department of Health and Human Services with regard to their recent health care mandates regarding abortion, sterilization and birth control services by filing a lawsuit to block such directives for organizations who conscientiously object to providing those services on religious grounds. The suit in part seeks to stop the United States government from drastically narrowing the definition of what a religious organization is, thereby limiting which organizations can claim First Amendment protections from governmental oversight. The Administration's current position is that the First Amendment protects only the religion itself and its houses of worship. The organizations that were founded by and are run by direction of a particular faith would not be afforded the same religious protections that the religious leaders themselves have. This would reduce freedom of religion for all faiths to a mere intellectual pursuit and would severely restrict those organizations' ability to actualize their convictions through works of charity.
In a roundtable discussion on MSNBC with Martin Bashir (please follow the link to view the full video. It's something to behold), panelists took exception to this lawsuit filed by 40 Catholic dioceses and charitable organizations along with Cardinal Timothy Dolan and had this to say about the millions of Christians who have been urging the Catholic Church to take on this cause
"It strikes me as just not very Christian, if I can say so, to get out there and say, ‘We will not be providing services if you force us to do these things — or if there’s a mandate. Would Jesus take his fish and a loaf and go home."
That's the mildest of the language with this panel virtually emoted. And looking past the whole Lord of the Flies vibe that they've got going on there by not even offering the pretense of objectivity within their own religious fervor – with rhetoric the likes of which we have not seen in America since the days of Rebecca Nurse…again, lest we all forget due to repeated exclusion from the media's narrative on the subject, the so-called compromise that Martin Bashir cited in his rage-infused de-Christianizing of the Catholic Church (as if he were the keeper of such institutional authority) is garbage because these Catholic institutions self-insure.
Sidebar – if the Catholic Church loses the battle and walks away from the funding that the government is providing for services that the Church currently distributes, the Catholic institutions absolutely will continue on in their ministries. This runs contrary to the impression that Cardinal Dolan left us in an extraordinarily small portion of his statement offered by the editors at MSNBC. The charitable works will not end. What will end is the extent to which Catholic institutions can provide those services. They will have to turn people away and into the arms of secularized institutions, community organizers…insert meaningful pause here while we all absorb that information… and government run programs. That's the reason for this whole dog and pony show to begin with, at least from the Administration's standpoint.
How stands the Union? This I say to you; the Catholic Church would do very well to willingly walk away from the funds that it receives from the federal government because the Union ain't looking so good from where I'm standing. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark so to speak. But the bottom line is that the Department of Health and Human Services cannot narrow the scope of the First Amendment as it pertains to religious institutions without a coup d'état if those religious institutions reject the money that they thought was for charity but turned out to be the chains which bind them. This kangaroo government currently has no power over the Church where none is freely given and frankly, the Church has much bigger issues coming down the pike and shouldn't be wasting its time on the Left's current PR move against faith.
Please check out an article from LifeSiteNews that was posted on May 22, 2012 that relays the next big fight between the Left and the First Amendment.
"Democrat House leaders including Nancy Pelosi have opposed a measure to ensure military chaplains are not forced to perform same-sex "marriages," arguing that it is based on a "manufactured crisis" and therefore unnecessary - a response strongly criticized by chaplain advocates."
Not to toot my own horn here, but this is exactly what I was talking about in my post from May 7, 2012 when I explained why it's important for there to be a clear delineation regarding the civil unions performed by the State and the concept of marriage which is a religious vocation. There are a lot of people who think that it's all just semantics, and who cares what we call the joining of two individuals into a promise of fidelity. Do you see why it's important now that the distinction is clearly made between the legal and religious terms? Nancy Pelosi will not agree to the following with regard to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013:
No member of the Armed Forces may--
'(A) direct, order, or require a chaplain to perform any duty, rite, ritual, ceremony, service, or function that is contrary to the conscience, moral principles, or religious beliefs of the chaplain, or contrary to the moral principles and religious beliefs of the endorsing faith group of the chaplain; or
'(B) discriminate or take any adverse personnel action against a chaplain, including denial of promotion, schooling, training, or assignment, on the basis of the refusal by the chaplain to comply with a direction, order, or requirement prohibited by subparagraph
She says that this is a non-issue for military chaplains and therefore the provision is a manufactured crisis that need not be dealt with in legislative terms. What this actually ends up being is an open door which will allow this or future administrations – administrations which may be equally or more hostile to religious organizations – to kick through and further narrow the rights of those religious organizations as they define morality for their followers. Military chaplains garner their religious authority from the faith which ordains them, but they minister to all members of the military regardless of religious affiliation. This is absolutely not dissimilar to a Catholic institution being punished for not covering abortions for its non-Catholic employees. This is exactly the same. Recognize the pattern that's emerging because this is how the First Amendment will be killed. And when the First Amendment falls, so will the rest.
The Catholic Church ought to be reducing its financial dependence on the federal government as quickly as it can so that it can be free to fight this next big battle, or its leaders are going to find themselves in court once again. Only this time it will be over whether the government can order priests to perform marriage ceremonies for gay couples.