Of the ill winds blowing from the Obama administration against America’s believers, none is more determined to seek out and freeze religious liberties than Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Kathryn Jean Lopez reports this at NRO:
On Friday, the Obama administration announced that a Department of Health and Human Services rule mandating that all health insurance cover contraception and sterilization is final, but will not go into effect for a year (after the presidential election), giving those with conscience objections a year to figure out how to violate their consciences. (“Suing Sebelius”).
HHS Secretary Sebelius reassured those with conscience objections that “[t]his additional year will allow these organizations more time and flexibility to adapt to this new rule.”
“As if religious convictions,” says Hannah Smith, senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, “are some pliable veneer that just needs time to bend around governmental policy choices.”
From what I can make out, Sebelius doesn’t want to bend believers’ religious convictions until they fit her policies. She wants to bend their religious convictions until they’re broken. Then they’ll know how she feels.
In 2002, while she was campaigning for governor of Kansas with the financial support of the arch-abortionist George Tiller, Sebelius sent a “letter to Catholics” in her Wichita diocese assuring them that reports that her campaign is funded with abortion money are “absolutely false”:
I am not pro-abortion. I will not, and never have, promoted abortion. I am a practicing Catholic. I went to Catholic schools – from kindergarten through college. My father taught at Notre Dame; my son goes to Georgetown University. I feel about abortion like you do, and I have worked all my adult life to make sure that there are viable alternatives to abortion.
But it wasn’t absolutely false; it was absolutely true, which is why after her election she publicly thanked George Tiller for financing her candidacy. And it’s also true that her pro-abortion commitment is impossible to miss, especially when she tells NARAL, like she did last October, that when it comes to abortion, “we are in a war.” (“Sebelius: "We Are in a War" for Abortion”).
War with whom? you may ask.
We do know three different archbishops exercised their pastoral duty by admonishing “practicing Catholic” Sebelius to correct the “grave error” of her obstinate cooperation with the abortion industry. For the average Catholic, that much pastoral attention from consecrated leaders we regard as successors to the apostles would come close to an in-person request from Christ Himself: but Sebelius didn’t pay much attention.
When she became governor-elect Archbishop James Patrick Keleher politely asked her to move her interfaith inaugural service outside of the Catholic Church near the statehouse, for the reason that her disregard for the unborn is “at odds with our Catholic faith.” Though there was no danger whatever that moving locations would have put at risk the extermination of even one unwanted baby, she refused to comply. Later she was admonished by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann to stop taking communion, as her support for abortion was irreconcilable with Catholic teaching, a “spiritually lethal message” scandalizing the faithful in Kansas. Sebelius, the “practicing Catholic,” went to communion anyway.
Once in power in Topeka, Sebelius was Planned Parenthood’s most avid champion, in spite of her solemn assurances to Wichita Catholics that “I feel about abortion just like you do.” Robert Novak wrote in 2008:
She is allied with the aggressive Kansas branch of Planned Parenthood in a bitter struggle with anti-abortion activist District Attorney Phill Kline. There is substantial evidence she has been involved in laundering abortion industry money for distribution to Kansas Democrats. Kansas is the fiercest state battleground for abortion wars, making Kathleen Sebelius the national pro-choice poster girl. (“A Vice-President For Abortion”).
After she predictably vetoed a bill aimed at reducing Kansas’s outrageous number of partial-birth abortions, she had the brass to say, “Personally, I believe abortion is wrong.”
As reported in LifeNews, “Sebelius also appointed a supporter of Tiller’s political action committee and pro-abortion activist to the Human Rights Commission, which pro-life advocates considered an irony.” (“White House Officials Admit Abortion, Tiller Holding Up Kathleen Sebelius Pick”).
When Obama selected Sebelius for HHS, yet a fourth Archbishop, Raymond L. Burke, felt the need to speak out, saying Sebelius had been “the source of the greatest embarrassment” for the way she had “publicly and repeatedly betrayed her Catholic faith.” (“Sebelius nomination ‘source of greatest embarrassment,’ Archbishop Burke says”).
Betraying her faith was just a beginning. Michelle Malkin writes that, since her appointment as HHS Secretary,
Sebelius has ruled ruthlessly from her Beltway perch: policing citizen critics of Obamacare through a taxpayer-funded Internet snitch brigade; threatening private companies and insurers who have increased rates to cope with Obamacare coverage mandates; lashing out at newspapers who dare report on the costly consequences of the federal law. (“Shredding Kathleen Sebelius”).
But as busy as her job imposing on the nation Obamacare and the abortion license keeps her, Sebelius always has time for her true vocation: wounding the Catholic Church, and any other religious group, that dares to perform its works of mercy in ways that don’t require sacrificing the unborn.
That’s why the restless ill winds of Sebelius must seek out new good works to prevent.
Recently, at a time when the growth of human trafficking and sex slavery in America is just coming to public awareness, Sebelius’s HHS decided “to end funding to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to help victims of human trafficking, or modern-day slavery.” (“Kathleen Sebelius' Gruesome Moral Calculus”).
Rather than maximize the number of providers of victim support, HHS thought it best to shrink the pool of established faith-based providers with a new requirement that favors those that provide “the ‘full range of family-planning services,’ including abortions and contraception.” Surprise, surprise, although the bishop’s conference had been providing top-flight services to victims for years, the new requirement results in squeezing them, and other Christian organizations, out of the program. As reported in the Washington Post, “senior political appointees at HHS stepped in to award the new grants to the bishops' competitors, overriding an independent review board and career staffers who had recommended that the bishops be funded again.” Some HHS staffers protested that “the process was unfair and politicized.”
In other words, Sebelius misused her office for the sole purpose of gouging the same bishops who won’t let her get away with being “personally opposed to abortion.”
True, this type of abuse in the Obama administration isn’t exactly a shock. The Department of Justice under Eric Holder seems to be constantly ignoring, or even violating, the department’s constitutional function just to disadvantage ideological opponents. But when Holder fails to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act, or refuses to enforce civil rights laws if they protect white voters, or possibly is revealed to have indulged the ATF’s “Fast and Furious” program as an underhanded plot to advance stricter gun-control regulations – at least he’s being a partisan for the same people whose beliefs he openly shares. Remember when he minimized the voter intimidation by the New Black Panther Party as not comparing to the hard experiences of “my people”?
Sebelius is a whole other order of aberrant. She wouldn’t dream of taking sides with “my people” if by that is meant the committed members of the Church she claims to be a part of. She professes to be an anti-abortion “practicing Catholic,” but proves 100% commitment to protecting and defending the beliefs, and only the beliefs, of those who do “not have the same religious beliefs that I had.” Now that’s firm commitment to the “separation of church and state”! Poor thing, here she is a devout Catholic, “not pro-abortion,” cruelly forced by her “oath of office” into “upholding the law.”
Bullshit. The only people to whom she’s ever honestly said, “I feel about abortion like you do” were George Tiller and NARAL’s Nancy Keenan. Sebelius has clearly rejected the Catholic faith she was brought up in. Catholics want to quit? Fine. But what makes her the lowest form of hypocrite is pretending to believe so she can trick votes out of the huge bloc of underinformed Catholics. (54% voted for Obama in 2008!).
And not only has she betrayed the Church, but she has taken up arms against it. It wouldn’t shock me if it turned out that she, and not Obama, is the heartbeat behind Obama’s war on religious liberty.
This isn’t about the good Catholics like me grumping about the bad Catholics. I’m not a good Catholic. And, almost by theological necessity, the number of actual good Catholics is incredibly small. It’s just that hard to be a good one. Most actual “practicing Catholics” are bad Catholics, which is why we need to practice -- because we’re so bad at it. Our only hope is to keep on trying to be better Catholics in case we start to get it right.
But Kathleen Sebelius isn’t a bad Catholic. She’s a bad person who’s wielded the increasing earthly powers she’s sold her soul for to wreak vengeance on as many believers as fall within range of her scourge. It’s not enough for her that an anti-life regime thrives until every institution in the nation grows corrupt and hollow as she is – because people who believe what she doesn’t believe can still take refuge in their consciences.
If she had the power – and she almost believes she does – she’d force every non-compliant conscience to bend, to crack, to break – to adapt .
Or isn’t that what she’s trying to do right now?