From this op-ed in the WaPo:
And HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is a continuing insult to the beliefs of traditional Catholics. Testifying at a recent House hearing, Sebelius admitted that she had consulted no constitutional precedents and asked for no legal advice from the Justice Department while making her decision on the contraceptive mandate. “Congressman,” she explained, “I’m not a lawyer and I don’t pretend to understand the nuances of the constitutional balancing tests.” The only thing worse than indifference to religious liberty is casual, ignorant indifference to religious liberty.Disgraceful. People who profess such utter asininity and flagrant disregard for the rights and liberties of fellow citizens should be drummed out of public service permanently. Well, fools do rush in where angels fear to tread, and by her own admission Sebelius basically made up this contraceptive mandate out of her own inflated head, with no outside sources consulted or considered, like a lazy undergrad writing a term paper the night before it's due. Such papers, when they come across my desk, usually fail miserably (and deservedly). I don't need to elaborate about Sebelius.
From a Harvard law professor writing in the Wall Street Journal:
The main goal of the mandate is not, as HHS claimed, to protect women's health. It is rather a move to conscript religious organizations into a political agenda, forcing them to facilitate and fund services that violate their beliefs, within their own institutions.
The media have implied all along that the dispute is mainly of concern to a Catholic minority with peculiar views about human sexuality. But religious leaders of all faiths have been quick to see that what is involved is a flagrant violation of religious freedom. That's why former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Baptist minister, declared, "We're all Catholics now."
... With this week's lawsuits, the bishops join a growing army of other plaintiffs around the country, Catholic and non-Catholic, who are asking the courts to repel an unprecedented governmental assault on the ability of religious persons and groups to practice their religion without being forced to violate their deepest moral convictions.The Catholics are apparently the canary in the coal mine. OK, as you know, I'm not Catholic myself. I'm a Protestant and not a particularly good one at that. That's not the point, though. I'm watching the ongoing HHS assault on Catholic institutions, and I am horrified by the cavalier disregard for religious liberty and freedom of conscience in the face of increasingly overreaching coercive state power and intrusion. I'm flabbergasted at the open desire to steamroller callously over anyone saying No to the government. Perhaps this mandate fight really isn't just about the HHS mandate on contraceptives, but on the entire nature and future of civil society. I'm tempted to say that this entire mess smacks of the conscious and deliberate political isolation and even persecution of Catholic institutions (then again, when we discuss Catholic offerings of health care, education, and various social services, that apparatus by even existing is a challenge to Big Government's desire to control all such activities, eh?). At the end of the day? I can't believe this is happening in America. Seriously, regardless of what your creed is, we're all Catholics now. Pay attention, people.
UPDATE: Some more thoughts.