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ABSTRACTThe Audacity of Power: President Obama Vs. The Catholic Church - Forbes Business Autos Energy Logistics & Transportation Media & Entertainment Pharma & Healthcare Retail SportsMoney Strategies Wall Street Washington Baseball's Most Valuable Teams Investing Advisor Network Bonds Commodities & Currencies ETFs International Intelligent Investing Markets Mutual Funds Options Personal Finance Real Estate Retirement Stocks Taxes Money For Life: Financial Planning Tech CIO Network Cloud Computing Data Driven Games Gear Green Tech Human Ingenuity Innovation & Science Future Tech Mobile Security Social Media Techonomy Special Report: Improving Business Through Data Entrepreneurs Exit Strategy Financing Management Players Sales & Marketing Taxes & Law Promising Companies America's Most Promising Companies Op/Ed The U.S. Economy: Regions To Watch In 2012 Culture & Books Fact & Comment Economics Forbes Quotes Innovation Rules Law Policy Politics Regulation World Affairs Leadership The Top Hiring Employers in America's Biggest Cities Business Renegades Careers CEO Network CMO Network Corporate Responsibility Education ForbesWoman Insights Leaders Managing Sales Leadership Lifestyle America's Fastest-Growing Small Towns Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink Forbes Travel Guide ForbesLife Magazine Health Places & Spaces Sports & Leisure Style & Design Travel Vehicles Lists The World's Billionaires America's Best Colleges America's Best Small Companies Best Places for Business & Careers Celebrity 100 Forbes 400 Richest Americans Global 2000 Leading Companies Largest Private Companies Most Expensive Zip Codes 100 Most Powerful Women World's Billionaires World's Most Powerful People All Lists Help | Connect | Sign up | Log in Subscribe > Warren Buffett's $50 Billion Decision Most Overexposed Celebrities Apps, The Future Of Publishing? AdVoice: iPad And Tablet Forecasts Charles Kadlec , Contributor I cover economic/political issues with liberty as my polar star. + Follow on Forbes Op/Ed | 2/13/2012 @ 4:35PM | 88,361 views The Audacity of Power: President Obama Vs. The Catholic Church 113 comments, 3 called-out + Comment now + Comment now “Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government’s purposes are beneficent.” Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis In one of the boldest, most audacious moves ever made by a President of the United States, President Barack Obama is on the brink of successfully rendering moot the very first clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ” (emphasis added). If he forces the Catholic Church to comply with the Health and Human Services ruling to provide its employees with insurance that covers activities the Church has long held sinful — abortion via the morning after pill, sterilization and contraceptives — then the precedent is clear: when religious beliefs conflict with government decrees, religion must yield. The story line that President Obama miscalculated in picking this fight with the Catholic Church vastly underestimates the man’s political skill and ambition. His initial approval of the ruling requiring the Church pay for abortion drugs and sterilization was but the first step in a calculated strategy to further his goal of transforming America. President Obama chose to pick this fight with the Catholic Church by choosing to release the regulations first, and then, as he explained in last Friday’s statement to the press, spend “the next year (before the new regulations take effect) to find an equitable solution that would protect religious liberty and insure that every woman has access to the care that she needs.” The alternative would have been to find the “equitable solution” before announcing the regulations. In other words, this entire political fire storm is a set-up by the Administration. The original HHS ruling put the Catholic Church into the position of choosing one of these two options: Option A: The Church complies with the law and violates its own teachings and principles of faith. Such a choice would strip the Church of its legitimacy and make it a de facto vassal of the state. In this case, the ability of the Church to challenge the government’s political power is vastly reduced, if not completely destroyed. Faith, charity and civil society are marginalized. Government wins. Option B: The Church as a matter of conscience refuses to obey the law, and stops offering health insurance to its employees. In this case, the Church gets crushed by hundreds of millions of dollars in fines. As a consequence, its ability to fulfill its religious mission by funding hospitals, schools and charities is sharply reduced if not destroyed. As the Church is forced to withdraw from its active role in civil society, those who believe in government will rush to fill the void. Faith, charity and civil soc.......