Patrick Archbold is co-founder of Creative Minority Report, a Catholic website that puts a refreshing spin on the intersection of religion, culture, and politics. When not writing, Patrick is director of information technology at a large international logistics company in New York.
These days, we hear so much about "the war on ..." this or that, we have learned to drown it out as hyperbolic nonsense promoted by those with an agenda. The war on women is a perfect example.
But I am here to tell you that the war on religion is real and religion is losing--big time.
Being religious is about putting what you believe into every day practice. That is they call it practicing your religion.
But increasingly, the State is imposing barriers to practice of your religion anywhere but in your head or heart. Out here in the real world, religion has no place.
Obviously, Obamacare and its contraceptive and abortion mandates are a vivid and very chilling example. But still, many religious people are non-plussed by it. Just because you pay for it doesn't mean you have to do it yourself. Many still just don't see it as a real threat to their religious liberty.
It seems that we regularly read news accounts of religious folks being forced to participate in gay-marriage against their will simply because they own a business. Just last week, a Colorado judge says a Christian baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony must serve gay couples despite his religious beliefs.
Ah, you're just making a cake for them. Who cares really? Why make a big deal?
Those with vision understand that all this has been orchestrated for the purpose of driving religion from the public square entirely. This has always been the goal. Gay marriage? Who cares really? At most, gays represent 2% of the population and those who actually wish to be married are only a small subset of that already small subset. So why has this gay marriage push been the main focus of secularists and progressives for the last 20 years? Simply to push religion out of public policy entirely.
So now we come to it.
The ACLU in Michigan has sued the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops because they offer "Catholic healthcare." They contend that the religious beliefs of Catholics have no place in the world and may not be put into practice. They are suing the Bishops to stop them from promoting healthcare and to stop them from offering hospital services that are Catholic in any meaningful way.
Welcome to the next front in the war against religion. The target is members of the clergy themselves, for hewing to their religion. If the ACLU gets its way in Michigan, not only priests could be in legal jeopardy. Also rabbis, pastors and imams.
The case in Michigan is being brought by one Tamesha Means, whose pregnancy miscarried when in the second trimester. She’s now suing the bishops for negligence because a Catholic hospital failed to offer to send her to have an abortion.
Means’ complaint — the ACLU is representing her — faults the hospital for failing to tell her that “continuing her pregnancy would pose a serious risk to her health.” And for not telling her that, as the complaint puts it, “the safest treatment option was to induce labor and terminate the pregnancy.” Means survived.
Means v. Bishops is by no means the only engagement in the battle over the responsibilities of religious hospitals, particularly in cases where a mother’s health is in jeopardy because of complications from a pregnancy. What is newsworthy about this case is the allegation against the whole Conference of Bishops for promulgating their religious directives for Catholic health care.
Is it going to be illegal in America for doctors to refuse to perform abortions? Is it going to be illegal for clergy to discourage women from having abortions? Is it going to be illegal for clergy to discourage doctors from performing abortions?
There you have it. The endgame is now in sight. They will make it illegal to act in a religious way when out in the world. They will make it impossible to "practice" your religion. They have falsely set the first amendment's provisions of establishment against its free exercise in order to kill religion entirely.
Unfortunately, I think when the ban on public practice of religion, particularly Catholicism, is established through judicial fiat, many of the non-plussed will remain thusly.