George Weigel stole my thunder

Well, I suppose if someone is going to steal my thunder, the man who wrote a biography of Pope John Paul II is probably a good candidate.

Last night, I tweeted that I was planning to post tonight on the decision of 43 Catholic entities, including the archdioceses of New York and Washington, DC, to file a law suit against (essentially) the Obama administration over its mandate that would force employers to provide coverage for contraception and sterilisation procedures in their insurance plans. In a Twitter conversation, I said it was the decision of the University of Notre Dame, the most famous Catholic university in the world, to join the law suit.

Now, I could write a bit more — and I will — but this paragraph from George Weigel (emphasis mine) on the same topic goes a long way to explaining my main point:

While the media’s attention to this battle has typically focused on the U.S. bishops’ conference and the administration, with Cardinal Timothy Dolan (the conference president) in one corner and President Obama and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in the other, the number and character of the litigants now challenging the administration’s mandate ought to make it clear that this is not “the bishops vs. the administration” during an election year; it is the administration vs. the Catholic Church on an issue of first principle. That one of the litigants is the University of Notre Dame, which in 2009 gave President Obama an honorary doctorate of laws and invited him to address its commencement ceremony, ought to underscore the point that the mandate is regarded as a threat to religious freedom far beyond the boundaries of the bishops’ conference. As Notre Dame’s president, Father John Jenkins, C.S.C., put it, “this [suit] is about the freedom of a religious organization to live its mission.” Period.

Mr Weigel has hit the nail on the head. While I am reluctant to use terms like “conservative” and “liberal” too freely when talking about the Church, the fact that a university like the Franciscan University of Steubenville, a publication like Our Sunday Visitor and a few archdioceses with orthodox bishops filed a law suit against the health care insurance regulations shouldn’t come as a surprise. As Mr Weigel explains, though, that Notre Dame, which few would argue is a bastion of Catholic conservatism, demonstrates the seriousness of the threat to religious freedom.

Here’s a link to the story from Catholic News Service on the law suit to fill in any blanks you might have on the story. And here’s a list of all the plaintiffs in the suit.

Regardless of how the Church’s reputation has suffered in the past 10 years because of the clerical abuse scandal, a group of Catholic agencies filing a law suit against the Obama administration five-and-a-half months before the presidential election is a VERY bad look.

Even though the mainstream media seems intent on trying to ignore it, according to a company that analyses media coverage:

The evening news broadcasts all but spiked the largest legal action in history to defend our constitutionally protected religious freedom. The May 21 editions of ABC’s World News and NBC’s Nightly News refused to report the fact that 43 Catholic dioceses and organizations filed a lawsuit on Monday against the Obama administration. CBS Evening News gave this historic news a mere 19 seconds of air time.

[...]

The fact is that the Catholic Church has unleashed legal Armageddon on the administration, promising ‘we will not comply’ with a health law that strips Catholics of their religious liberty. If this isn’t ‘news’ then there’s no such thing as news. This should be leading newscasts and the subject of special, in-depth reports. Instead, these networks are sending a clear message to all Americans that the networks will go to any lengths – even censoring from the public an event of this historic magnitude – to prevent the release of any information that will hurt Obama’s chances of re-election.

The so-called ‘news’ media have sunk to a new low. This is despicable.

And some of us thought the mainstream media couldn’t possibly be as supportive of President Obama as they were last election.

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