President Obama quoted C.S. Lewis on Thursday morning, and normally that would have made my day. The president is good at talking about his Christian faith, as he did at a National Prayer Breakfast, and ought to do more of it if he wants to relieve Americans of some of their most basic misconceptions about him.
But more than I want to hear him tell how the Rev. T.D. Jakes drops by the Oval now and again, I want to know why he repaid Sister Carol Keehan, who carried health-care reform around on her back for him, with a betrayal that could lose him the Catholic vote and his reelection bid.
If that’s what happens, he’ll have no one to blame but himself, after a recent edict by his Health and Human Service Department effectively denied conscience protections to church-run schools, hospitals and social service agencies, which under his Affordable Care Act must provide free contraception to employees, in violation of church teaching.
To review, there would be no Affordable Care Act without Keehan, the president of the Catholic Health Association, who incurred the wrath of the bishops for standing up for the legislation, and for the truth that there isn’t any abortion funding in it.
There would be no Affordable Care Act if not for Democratic abortion foes in the House, notably Bart Stupak (Mich.), who for his trouble was reviled by his fellow party members, accosted by critics in airports and sent at least one death threat. He also lost his job over it, deciding to retire after the fight, at the end of his term.
So, too, will there be no Affordable Care Act if Catholics swing the other way in the fall.
President Romney won’t be forcing nuns to dole out free diaphragms in violation of their religious freedom and the Constitution that guarantees it.
In fact, under him there won’t be any health-care reform at all. (Yes, I refuse to call that reform the O-word, although I might change my mind if the president doesn’t make it up to Sister Carol).
Newt Gingrich often says that Obama has “declared war on the Catholic Church.” Mitt Romney, too, talks about the president’s “assault on religion.’’ But the worst part is that they aren’t making this up.