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Obama plays his Catholic allies for fools


MICHAEL GERSON

Source:
Washington Post
Type:
Media/Opinion
Date:
1/30/2012

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ABSTRACTObama’s radical power grab on health care - The Washington Post Print Subscription Conversations Today's Paper Going Out Guide Jobs Cars Real Estate Rentals Classifieds Shopping Home Politics Campaign 2012 Congress Courts & Law The Fed Page Health Care Polling White House Blogs & Columns Issues: Energy Top Blogs Election 2012 | Felicia Sonmez The Fix | Chris Cillizza Federal Eye | Ed O’Keefe Fact Checker | Glenn Kessler Opinions All Opinions PostPartisan Left-Leaning Right-Leaning Toles Cartoons Telnaes Animations Local Columnist Index Local DC: Politics | News MD: Politics | Communities VA: Politics | Communities Crime Education On Faith/Local Obituaries Traffic & Commuting Weather Blogs & Columns The Root DC Top Blogs Post Now The Buzz Capital Weather Gang Dr. Gridlock Sports Redskins/NFL Capitals/NHL Wizards/NBA Nationals/MLB DC United/Soccer Colleges AllMetSports Other Sports Blogs & Columns Top Blogs The Insider| Mike Jones Capitals Insider| Katie Carrera Wizards Insider | Michael Lee Nationals Journal| Adam Kilgore National Corrections Energy & Environment Health & Science Higher Education National Security On Faith On Leadership Innovations On Giving Blogs & Columns Top Blogs Ideas@Innovations Post Leadership Under God Checkpoint Washington World Africa The Americas Asia & Pacific Europe Middle East National Security War Zones Special Reports Checkpoint Washington Business Economy Industries Local Business Markets Policy & Regulation Technology World Business Blogs & Columns Innovations On Small Business Top Blogs Wonkblog | Ezra Klein Post Tech | Cecilia Kang Faster Forward Where We Live Investigations Lifestyle Advice Carolyn Hax Food Home & Garden Style Travel Weddings Wellness Magazine KidsPost Top Blogs The Style Blog All We Can Eat Reliable Source | Roxanne Roberts & Amy Argetsinger On Parenting | Janice D’Arcy Entertainment Books Celebrities Comics Going Out Guide Horoscopes Movies Museums Puzzles Theater & Dance TV Top Blogs TV Column | Lisa de Moraes Celebritology | Jen Chaney Comic Riffs | Michael Cavna Classical Beat | Anne Midgette Multimedia Innovations Photos Videos The Washington Post Make us your start page Personalize The Washington Post All Opinions PostPartisan Left-Leaning Right-Leaning Toles Cartoons Telnaes Animations Local Columnist Index In the News Mitt Romney Tiger Woods Scott Walker Flying car Dallas tornadoes ???initialComments:true! pubdate:01/30/2012 20:02 EST! commentPeriod:14! commentEndDate:2/13/12 8:2 EST! currentDate:4/3/12 8:0 EDT! allowComments:false! displayComments:true! Photos: Tornado emergency in Texas Your pets, photographed NFL makes fashion statement with new uniforms Peeps, with hipster glasses Michael Gerson Opinion Writer Obama plays his Catholic allies for fools Text Size Print E-mail Reprints By Michael Gerson , The Washington Post In politics, the timing is often the message. On Jan. 20 — three days before the annual March for Life — the Obama administration announced its final decision that Catholic universities, hospitals and charities will be compelled to pay for health insurance that covers sterilization, contraceptives and abortifacients. Preparing for the march, Catholic students gathered for Mass at Verizon Center. The faithful held vigil at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Knights of Columbus and bishops arrived to trudge in the cold along the Mall. All came to Washington in time for their mocking. Loading... Comments Weigh In Corrections? Personal Post Michael Gerson Gerson writes about politics, religion, foreign policy and global health and development in a twice-a-week column and on the PostPartisan blog. Archive @mjgerson Facebook RSS Gallery  A collection of cartoons of the president. You may also like... Charles Krauthammer The ‘flexibility’ doctrine Kathleen Parker Fear and blood in Florida Catholic leaders are still trying to process the implications of this ambush. The president had every opportunity to back down from confrontation. In the recent ­Hosanna-Tabor ruling, a unanimous Supreme Court reaffirmed a broad religious autonomy right rooted in the Constitution. Obama could have taken the decision as justification for retreat. And it would have been a minor retreat. The administration was on the verge of mandating nearly universal contraceptive coverage through Obamacare without public notice. There would have been no controversy at all if President Obama had simply exempted religious institutions and ministries. But the administration insisted that the University of Notre Dame and St. Mary’s Hospital be forced to pay for the privilege of violating their convictions. Obama chose to substantially burden a religious belief, by the most intrusive means, for a less-than-compelling state purpose — a marginal increase in access to contraceptives that are easily available elsewhere. The religious exemption granted b.......