The United States currency states “In God We Trust.” The United States Treasury explains that this phrase appears on our bills because of the increased religious sentiment that existed during the Civil War.
In 1956, “In God We Trust” was officially declared the national motto of the United States. In 2011, the United States Congress reaffirmed the national motto, though President Obama said the action was “wasting time.” We presume that part of the reason for his sentiment was his eagerness to get on with the business of forcing religious institutions to pay for contraceptive coverage for their employees.
He has succeeded. On June 28, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) released the final rules pertinent to the Obama mandate that “collides with religious freedom and the rights of conscience.”
Soon after the final regulations were issued, an open letter signed by religious leaders was written decrying the regulations. The letter, entitled “Standing Together for Religious Freedom,” includes the signature of USCCB representative Archbishop William Lori, who has been at the forefront of the battle against the mandate since it began.
During a July 2 press conference Lori said, “As the Catholic bishops have said from the very beginning, the underlying issue with the HHS Mandate is not about any specific teaching. In fact, other signatories on the letter do not share our view on contraception and probably disagree with us in many other ways, but they understand the core religious freedom issue at stake here.”
Yet a simple law protecting conscience rights may not correct the situation.
Several weeks ago, on April 25, Archbishop Charles Chaput told an audience:
The worst enemies of religious freedom aren’t “out there” among the critics who hate Christ or the Gospel or the Church, or all three. The worst enemies are in here, with us—all of us, clergy, religious and lay—when we live our faith with tepidness, cheap compromises, fear, routine, and hypocrisy. . . .
I ask you to please pray for . . . the bishops of the United States—and the leaders of religious institutions across the country—that they may show the same kind of courage Henri de Lubac not only spoke about, but also witnessed by the example of his life.
I found Chaput’s words riveting because, as he so eloquently points out, we Catholics are the enemy; we need to be courageous, even when persecuted as de Lubac was. The “law” is not the answer to the current problem. We are!
My dear friend Joe Tevington brought this point home to me in a powerful way when he shared a copy of his letter to Archbishop Chaput in which he praised the prelate for his courageous words, writing:
Your Excellency, wouldn’t it be a hideous irony if we gain true, codified protections for conscience, but have Catholic healthcare disregard Catholic medical ethics? I have written repeatedly about the troubling state of the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s Catholic hospitals (i.e.,
• 1) The paucity of NFP-only physicians,
• 2) “Privileges” for IVF specialists,
• 3) “Privileges” for associates of practices involved with “fetal reduction”
• 4) Provision of information on “advance directives” which fails to specify that Catholic teaching must be honored—particularly with regard to the provision of nutrition and hydration. This in the home archdiocese of Terri Schiavo.).
In other words, if Catholics fail to clean up their own healthcare houses and abide by Church teaching in every aspect, particularly those that impact respect for the dignity of the human being, then we deserve to live under the oppression of Obama and his cronies.
Catholics must, in this tragic age, lead by example, lead by entrusting our very lives to God, and lead by living the motto our country once held so dear. But if we continue to have freedom from God, we invite evil and all of its tragic consequences.
If we live with a trust in God, He will bless us immensely. Only if we stand for His laws and for our faith in Him, will we have a chance at defeating the evil that is so rampant in our world. And only then will we have a chance to defeat this mandate so it can never again pose a threat to man or his innate human dignity.