Catholic League president Bill Donohue spoke to this issue today:
Last week, when Laurie Goodstein of theNew York Times wrote about New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan’s recent comments on religious liberty, she put the term in quotation marks. James Carroll of the Boston Globe read her article (the Times owns his newspaper) and today the angry ex-priest demonstrated his independence by writing a thoroughly predictable column about the Catholic Church and “religious liberty.”
What’s bothering them, as well as the Pro-Choice Congressional Caucus, NARAL, Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, is the resistance being provided by Catholic bishops to the Obama administration’s war on Catholic institutions: the administration is seeking to force Catholic hospitals, universities and other entities to abide by its health care directives that require all organizations that receive public monies to offer sterilization and contraceptive services (including abortifacients). In retaliation to this resistance, the administration has already sought to punish the Church by denying Catholic agencies that fight human trafficking a grant it routinely receives (the Church opposes abortion referrals and the Obama administration likes them).
Sen. Richard Blumenthal defended the administration by saying, “There is not a scintilla of legislative direction in the statute that requires the broadened exemption the administration is contemplating.” Wrong. The religious exemption is a sham: to qualify, the Church must stop hiring and servicing non-Catholics (which means it must stop being Catholic).
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What’s also driving this assault on Catholics and the First Amendment is fear—the fear that Americans are increasingly becoming pro-life. The Gallup survey from July shows that this fear is empirically based: the public wants new restrictions on abortion.
Couple this fear with the long-standing animus against Catholicism and it’s easy to see why the pro-abortion community is up in arms these days.