The Obama administration’s recent moves to force religious institutions — particularly those associated with the Catholic Church — to pay for medical procedures that are contrary to church teaching has ignited a firestorm among Catholics. But the fear of where Obama’s flagrant violation of the Constitution is leading America is not limited to Catholics.
Non-believers and believers of many faiths recognize that this is an argument about fundamental freedoms, not the specifics of Catholic teachings.
A poll conducted by the respected Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies, found that 63 percent of voters would repeal the part of the Obama health care law that requires most individuals to have or purchase their own health insurance or pay a penalty on their federal income tax return if they don’t.
That result tracks very closely with a Gallup poll that found some 64 percent of Americans say big government will be the biggest threat to the country — and this is just one percentage point shy of the record high. But this is not some new phenomenon, for most of the past 30-years over half of Americans have seen big government as the biggest threat to the country.
These millions of Americans who oppose Obamacare recognize the wisdom of American Revolutionary Thomas Paine, who said, “The greatest tyrannies are always perpetrated in the name of the noblest causes.” But this concern about loss of freedom is not limited to the personal mandate in Obamacare – it is about the direction our society at large is taking, and President Obama’s oft-stated commitment to use big government to change America.
Americans instinctively understand that government is the enemy of freedom. They don’t have to have the truth of what Martin Niemoeller said about how tyranny gained the upper hand in Nazi Germany explained to them:
First they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak out – because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out -because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me!
Americans look at what is happening to freedom of religion and freedom of conscience under Barack Obama’s unconstitutional universal health care law and they fear that through this unapologetic breach of the Constitution, they will be next.
To bring those millions of Americans in on their side against the Obamacare mandate, church leaders must overcome their natural desire to argue the correctness of their teachings, and instead enlist their fellow citizens – both believers and non-believers – in defending their freedom from big government lawbreakers.
For some church leaders this won’t be easy. Those who long ago bought into the idea of the goodness of the welfare state may have a hard time accepting the fact that the oppression they are now suffering is merely the welfare state carried to its logical conclusion by President Obama.
Those church leaders who thought Obama’s promise of change wouldn’t affect them should heed Pastor Niemoller’s call now, and get on the side of constitutional government. If they do, they will show Americans that they understand that the loss of freedom of conscience threatens all of our other freedoms, and they will find millions of Americans – believers and non-believers alike – on their side. If they don’t they will have the distinction of being the first victims on Obama’s list.