Fortnight for Freedom comes to end with powerful homily

By Dave Andrusko

Photo: Archbishop Charles Chaput

From the day I first learned that his remarks would conclude the U.S. Bishops’ two-week-long “Fortnight for Freedom,” I’ve anticipated reading Archbishop Charles Chaput’s July 4th homily. Delivered at the National Shrine in our nation’s capital, this defense of religious freedom in the face of an aggrandizing Obama Administration is a powerful response to the HHS mandate that religious institutions and individuals of conscience pay for health insurance plans that cover medical procedures and drugs contrary to their religious beliefs and conscience.

For those who wish to read the contents of the homily in its entirety, you can go towww.patheos.com/blogs/godandthemachine/2012/07/archbishop-chaputs-homily-for-the-closing-mass-of-the-fortnight-for-freedom.  I would strongly encourage you to do so.

Ironically—actually paradoxically—some of the very same points Archbishop Chaput made were (inadvertently, to be sure) affirmed by Michelle Obama! To be more specific, they are both talking about what would restrain us from living out our faith in community.

Mrs. Obama is talking about self-imposed limitations. Archbishop Chaput is warning about what happens when government decides the content of religion—what qualifies and what does not.

Speaking at the AME General Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, on June 28, the First Lady said (according to ABC News)

“Our faith journey isn’t just about showing up on Sunday for a good sermon and good music and a good meal. It’s about what we do Monday through Saturday as well, especially in those quiet moments, when the spotlight’s not on us, and we’re making those daily choices about how to live our lives.

“We see that in the life of Jesus Christ. Jesus didn’t limit his ministry to the four walls of the church. He was out there fighting injustice and speaking truth to power every single day. He was out there spreading a message of grace and redemption to the least, the last, and the lost. And our charge is to find Him everywhere, every day by how we live our lives….

“[Faith] is not a once-a-week kind of deal….

“Democracy is also an everyday activity. And being an engaged citizen should once again be a daily part of our lives.”

As several people have commented, including Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey, Mrs. Obama was, unbeknownst to her, making a strong case for the Bishops’ position! Which is that the government should not decide who is “religious enough” to be exempt from government mandates that would force the faithful to violate church doctrine.

As Morrissey keenly pointed out, “However, her husband and [HHS Secretary] Kathleen Sebelius don’t see it that way. They only allow for activities within ‘the four walls of the church’ to be classified as religious expression exempt from government regulation, and only that activity which excludes those other than believers as participants or recipients, too.”

Jesus, who ministered to all, would not qualify. He served the general public!

Where did this mandate come from? From a provision in ObamaCare dealing with “preventive health services.”  Way back in 2009 NRLC warned that it would empower the Secretary of Health and Human Services to mandate coverage of any medical service, including abortion, merely by adding the service to an expandable list.

In a second-term, Obama could exploit the same statutory authority to mandate that virtually all health plans pay for elective surgical abortion on demand.

“The same twisted logic will be applied,” NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson has explained. “By ordering health plans to cover elective abortion, health plans would save the much higher costs of prenatal care, childbirth, and care for the baby — and under the Obama scam, if a procedure saves money, then that means that you’re not really paying for it when the government mandates it.

And it cannot be mentioned often enough that this battle was launched by the Obama Administration. Obama, not people of faith or National Right to Life, changed the status quo.