Last Sunday, the Catholic Church declared war on President Obama. Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida quickly took up the cause, signaling the outlines of a serious religious rumble to come in 2012.
The president should be ready for the fight, knowing that on this one he is right.
At Sunday Mass, Catholic parishioners across the country were read letters denouncing the Obama administration’s recent decision to require religiously affiliated hospitals, colleges, and charities to offer health insurance coverage to employees for contraception and the “morning-after pill.’’ On Monday, Rubio, a Republican star who is often mentioned as a VP candidate, introduced a bill that would override the Obama policy by allowing religious institutions that morally oppose contraception to refuse to cover it.
But not all employees of Catholic institutions are Catholics. Why should their employers impose their religious beliefs on them and deny coverage for birth control and other medical care? As long as those Catholic institutions are getting taxpayer money, they should follow secular rules. That’s the Obama administration’s argument, and it makes sense.
But if truth is a casualty of war, reason is an even more specific casualty of culture war. Obama can’t let the other side frame the argument, which it is already doing in typically ferocious fashion.
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