|Religious Freedom Rally on June 8, 2012|
Virtually Ignored by the Mainstream News Media
As it stands right now between the U.S. Bishops and President Obama, it is Obama that has the stronger strategy based on a proven track record of what he knows will work. The U.S. Bishops have twenty years of catchup work to do in educating their flock, and that's not going to happen in six months. Just getting their own people in line will be a major accomplishment which is not likely to happen quickly enough. Furthermore, as the U.S. Bishops have relied heavily on public demonstrations to attract attention to the cause, the mainstream news media has repeatedly demonstrated their unwillingness to report on it (obviously cover for Obama), despite how large those demonstrations may be. Thus the majority of the general population is clueless that such demonstrations are even going on, and still more do not even realise that Obama's HHS mandate even exists. (I am still running across numerous Evangelicals who have not yet even heard of the HHS mandate, let alone the Catholic backlash against it.) The lawsuit strategy is the bishop's backup plan should the demonstrations fail, and quite frankly, I see about a 50% chance this mandate will be upheld by the courts. If not, we can be certain that the Obama administration will keep it tied up in the courts for as long as possible so as to delay any damaging outcome until after the election. By then the administration will have had plenty of time to come up with an alternate way to force abortion and contraception on religious employers.
I have consistently reminded my readers that while the Obamacare individual insurance mandate may not be constitutional, the ability of the federal government to simply tax the populace and force them into a healthcare program against their will IS PERFECTLY constitutional, as a similar thing has already been done with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, not to mention general taxes used for welfare services and food stamps. In the event of an Obamacare loss in the Supreme Court, the president could simply declare a crisis, seize control of the medical insurance industry and by executive order place everyone on Medicare during such a "national emergency." Then all he would need do is ask Congress to back his actions with the appropriate legislation. All of this is hypothetical and speculative of course, as we have no idea what Obama will do with a second term. What we do know is he will do everything within his power to postpone any damaging court rulings until after the election.
The long and short of it is this. In spite of how poorly Obama is doing in the polls, no matter how you slice it, he still has a 50% chance of winning re-election. I would say his chances are stronger than that provided the economy and financial markets don't tank before election day. (Which could happen!)
I think the bishop's current strategy will produce less than desirable results. I think they would be better served by a strategy of putting away the hippy-Catholicism of the 1970s, retiring old priests who refuse to wake up and smell the coffee, and bring back an older more organised form of Catholicism we haven't seen in the states in 40 years! This would involve serious catechism of the people and traditional reform of the liturgy, coupled with formal excommunications for those politicians and public figures who scandalise the Church by their public support of abortion and sodomy. This should be accompanied by a flat-out refusal to comply with the president's diktat. Lastly, if the bishops really want to take this thing on both legally and politically, they should appeal to the state governments, not the fed. States have a little known and seldom used legal ability to nullify federal laws. This is where the battle can be won on a much more serious level. Already there is a bill that has been passed by the Missouri state legislature effectively nullifying the president's HHS mandate. It awaits on Governor Jay Nixon's desk for signature. (contact here to pressure him to sign)
The strategy I've outlined in the paragraph above is much more comprehensive and long term. It does more to address the long-term problems faced by the U.S. bishops as well as the problems faced by states dealing with this tyrannical bureaucracy in Washington DC. I'm not saying the bishops should abandon their current strategy. For since this is the way they've decided to go so far, they should see it through. However, I am saying they should consider what I've outlined above as a viable backup plan to run in tandem with what they are already doing. The plan I propose is not dependent on presidential elections or Supreme Court rulings, and goes a long way toward addressing the REAL problems both within the Church and within the nation.