"Our Country!
In her intercourse with foreign nations may she always be in the right;
but right or wrong, our country!"

    --Commodore Stephen Decatur

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Devil is in the Details

In an election that was supposed to be about jobs and the economy, President Obama now finds himself in a battle over the signature accomplishment of his presidency--namely, ObamaCare. Democrats made a huge miscalculation by rushing the law to passage with a nakedly partisan majority, but now the Obama Administration is compounding the error by pushing ObamaCare through the courts and using its regulations to attack religious freedom in the midst of an election year. This chain of errors stands a good chance of costing Obama re-election.

More than half the states and numerous other parties have joined together to challenge the individual mandate provision which would require every American to purchase health insurance or face a penalty. Meanwhile, although the Catholic Bishops initially supported some form of healthcare reform, they are now united in opposing the implementation of the law by the Secretary of Health and Human Services which will require religious institutions to provide contraceptives that can also be used for do-it-yourself abortions.

As the battle for ObamaCare reached a climax in the spring of 2010, all of the maneuvering and political posturing was exhausted and the final sticking point was an amendment to the bill to ban the taxpayer funding of abortions. The Democratic majority had succeeded in quashing any objections over the enormous cost of the bill and the weakness of many of its policies, but a small cohort of pro-life Democrats led by Bart Stupak of Michigan had managed to hold out. By folding on this issue, Bart Stupak committed political suicide, but he may ultimately end up taking President Obama with him.

Conservatives are hopeful that the Supreme Court will strike down ObamaCare either wholly or in part on the basis of the individual mandate, but if the Court does not strike down the law, this will open up an even more horrifying possibility. If the individual mandate and HHS regulations are upheld, it will mean that there is effectively no limit on what the federal government can compel citizens to do. Indeed, because of Stupak’s cowardice, there is nothing in the law to stop the government from requiring abortions in difficult pregnancies if a bureaucrat decides that saving both mother and child is too costly.

It is ironic that as the debate over ObamaCare is being reignited the Gospel reading yesterday tells of a battle between Jesus and the Devil:

The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes. In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit: he cried out, "What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!"

Jesus rebuked him and said, "Quiet! Come out of him!"

The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him. All were amazed and asked one another, "What is this? A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him."

Like the possessed man of scripture, ObamaCare suffers from a Devil inside. As the old proverb states, “the Devil is in the details,” and in the rush to win passage of the law, Democrats failed to consider the full implications of its various provisions. Indeed, then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi infamously said, “…we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in it.” By failing to scrutinize the law and allow deliberate consideration of its many provisions, the Democrats have unleashed a terrifying power that is already being turned to evil designs.

America is a nation of laws and although our laws sometimes seem contradictory and inefficient, they are the only protection we have for our most basic freedoms. In the dramatization of Thomas More’s final days, the film “A Man for All Seasons” spells out what is truly at stake in the fight for religious freedom today:

William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

William Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!

Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake

We would do well to remember this and to consider the full implications of every new law before we consent to it. Unless ObamaCare is overturned and repealed, we are only witnessing the beginning of a descent into a tyranny that resembles the forced eugenics of Nazi Germany or the population control policies of Communist China. It may seem unthinkable that this could happen in America, but when the law is perverted and its safeguards removed, we are truly at the mercy of the Devil—such as it is—and our destruction is all but certain.

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