As usual, I'm a bit late to the party, and all my readers know by this time that the American Catholic Bishops, bless 'em, are standing firm in opposition to the Obama administration's tyrannical demand that Catholic organizations that serve the public must provide contraception in employee health insurance. Here is the on-line petition against the HHS rule. Here is a letter by Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmstead vowing not to comply with the mandate. Here is an excellent interview with a representative of Belmont Abbey College, which is in the legal front lines. Here is W4's previous post, by Bill Luse, on the subject. There's plenty more out there.
Wesley J. Smith adds information that I had not seen elsewhere and that should be more widely advertised: The HHS rules will place requirements even on those very few employers that do qualify for the narrowly defined religious exemption (because they employ and serve only members of their own religion). Even those employers will be required to volunteer information to employees about where they can obtain contraception. The very fact that employees could easily find such information for themselves merely underscores the fact that Secretary Sebelius is requiring it as a gesture, an act of power for its own sake.
In these various demands, Obama has shown himself such an extremist, so willing to sacrifice even political expediency and the appearance of moderation to ideology, so implacable in the desire to bring religious, especially Catholic, organizations to their knees, that he has roused opposition even among those who were not his foes previously. The arrogant recent announcement by "Catholic" Secretary Sebelius, endowed by Obamacare legislation with near-godlike powers over health plans throughout the country, that she would give Catholic organizations a year to "adapt" their consciences, has simply deepened the shock. Fr. Jenkins, the not-overwhelmingly-conservative president of Notre Dame, can't understand why the previous concept of religious exemptions can't still obtain. Why can't organizations like his own have a religious exemption, as one would have expected, from the demand that they provide contraception? Why has the Obama administration re-defined a "religious" organization so narrowly as to exclude those organizations that serve non-Catholics? Obama has broken a kind of unwritten rule: You lefty Catholics support me, and I'll leave you a little playground in which you can do your own thing. Nope. Now everyone has to pour a libation.
So here's a question: Will this outrage have any effect on the election in November? Will there actually be peace-n-justice Catholics who finally decide that Obama is not on their side and refuse to vote for him when they otherwise would have done so?