The Al Smith Dinner invitee, President Barack Obama, continues to spit in the face of the Church. Yet his invitation stands.
According to LifeNews, Obama has “refused to back down on the HHS mandate his administration put in place forcing religious groups to cover abortion-causing drugs.” While Obama and his sidekick, Sandra Fluke, were speaking in Denver, Colorado, Obama stated, “We worked with Catholic hospitals and universities to find a solution that protects both religious liberty and a woman’s health . . . We’ve made sure churches and other houses of worship don’t have to provide or pay for it.”
This is yet another little white lie. Not surprising; but then there’s the fact that Catholic for-profit businesses no longer have time to wait. Nor do they have any good options or alternatives. Because of the Obama mandate, they now have tough decisions that must be made regarding the health insurance coverage they provide to their employees:
Employers who seek to offer plans that exclude morally objectionable services will soon face “exorbitant penalties of $100 per day per employee, as well as the potential legal actions taken by employees and by the federal government.”
Employers could refuse to pay these fines “as a form of legitimate civil disobedience against the unjust governmental mandate,” but that decision comes with “hefty legal risks that could equally threaten the livelihoods of all involved.”
Yet even now the Archdiocese of New York remains firm in its position that the invitation will stand. Ed Mechmann, who works with the archdiocesan Family Life/Respect Life Office on public policy issues, and is the director of the archdiocese’s Safe Environment Program, acknowledged in his blog that there is no question about the Obama record on abortion and related issues. But he went on to provide a laundry list of reasons why it was appropriate for Obama to be an invitee to the Al Smith Dinner. Sound inconsistent? Well, that is not the worst of it.
Two days ago, in order to clear up any confusion about who extended the invitation, Archdiocese of New York spokesman, Joseph Zwilling, confirmed to LifeSiteNews that Cardinal Timothy Dolan did in fact extend the invitation to President Obama. There was some doubt, apparently, that the cardinal had in fact even been aware of this, but now the record and chain of events are clear.
Not only that, but it is a source of anxiety and concern for every believing Catholic who sees proof of the Obama devotion to abortion and the culture of death from one end of the nation to the other.
As I stated in a press release yesterday, “This invitation gives the appearance of camaraderie with a president whose actions and policies are no less hostile than the Roman emperor Decius who tried to root out the Christian religion by issuing an edict ordering all citizens to worship the state gods or face dire consequences.”
It makes no sense at all for Catholics to fight for religious freedom on the one hand while dining with a religious freedom bully on the other. Such a situation is not prudent, nor is it Christlike—even if some view it as politically correct.
American Life League’s “No Dinner for Obama” project is one way Americans can voice their concern publicly and in every Church collection plate across the nation. See our website at https://www.all.org/article/index/id/MTA4MTY/ for the reason why action is what we are called to take regarding this situation. You will find a copy of the card along with a brief letter to your bishop explaining your discontent about the invitation to President Obama and asking for his help in the matter. A printable copy of the card can be found here: https://www.all.org/upload/2012/08/08/SmithDinnerAppealCard.pdf.
It takes only a few minutes to download and read the card, then put in the collection basket at Mass. Our faith, our Church, and its people deserve at least this much of our time and voice. We cannot afford to be silent.
You may also contact Cardinal Dolan’s office directly at 212-371-1000 weekdays prior to 12 noon (EST); his secretary is Kathleen. Or, you can e-mail your concerns to the communications director of the archdiocese, Mr. Joseph Zwilling, at firstname.lastname@example.org.