The Republican Party may be a lot of things but at least it isn’t against religion. The other side, not so much.
The Obama administration has continued its war on religious freedom and Catholics in particular. First is his refusal to bend on the HHS Mandate which forces employees to purchase healthcare coverage for all employees even if it is against their religious beliefs, now it is preventing Catholic chaplains from performing Mass.
At issue are the Catholic priests who are contracted by the government to celebrate Mass, perform weddings, baptisms and funerals. Because of a shortage of chaplains who are enlisted in the Armed Forces, the government has been hiring them as sub-contractors. They have even been told they cannot volunteer their services on the bases.
According to Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese of the Military Services, “They were told they cannot function because those are contracted services and since there’s no funding they can’t do it – even if they volunteer.” John Schlageter, the general counsel for the Archdiocese wrote this week on the Military Archdiocese’s website that the priests could be arrested if they try to minister on base.
The First Amendment of the United States Constitution reads as follows: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Prohibiting the priests from celebrating Mass is clearly violating the First Amendment by “prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” It can’t be any clearer than that.
All week during the government shutdown the Obama administration has been picking and choosing what will close and what will stay open including keeping WWII veterans from visiting their memorial to not letting children visit the White House on school trips. It should be clear that they are picking the closures based on what will anger American citizens the most so they can continue to blame the Republican Party. They have even stooped so low as to close streets and parking lots around places they don’t own, such as Mt. Vernon, George Washington’s home so people can’t access them. When asked about why they were doing this at Mt Vernon a park ranger said “It’s a cheap way to deal with the situation. We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can. It’s disgusting.”
The Obama administration has already shown it has no tolerance for the Catholic Church. Despite many objections they have refused to exempt Christian organizations from the individual mandate of Obamacare which mandates that certain coverage be provided by employers to their employers. If they don’t offer this coverage they will be heavily fined. These include contraception and abortion inducing drugs. Both abortion and contraception go against the teachings of the Catholic Church. While the administration has come up with a religious exemption it is so narrow that even Catholic nuns don’t qualify. This has resulted in numerous lawsuits being filed throughout the country, the most notable is the one filed by Hobby Lobby. These will ultimately end up in the Supreme Court. Those who practice the Muslim faith have been exempted from Obamacare.
Forbidding priests from performing Mass is a clean violation of the First Amendment. No matter what religion one belongs to, this is just the beginning, first the Catholics, then the Protestants. The Obama administration is out of control as this issue proves. Blaming the Republican Party is fine, but stopping people from practicing their religion is wrong.
Update: It has been reported that the House of Representatives voted today to affirm the right of all chaplains to perform services tomorrow. It has been sent to the Senate.
Commentary by: Paul Roy