It is utterly embarrassing that of all the countries where Little Sisters of the Poor operates — India, Chile, Argentina, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, France, and Italy — it is the United States of America, a country built on religious freedom, that is trampling on the Little Sisters’ religious convictions and will ultimately force their closure if they refuse to comply.
Using fear mongering tactics, the Obama Administration is set to force Catholic charities like Little Sisters of the Poor either into compliance or extinction. For these devoted nuns, priests and their helpless patrons the President’s mandatory health care law has become an embodiment of fear, a veritable bogeyman.
The Little Sisters of the Poor is a Catholic charity run solely on the goodwill of donors and the volunteer nuns who have taken a vow of poverty and devotion to gently care for the elderly poor. Their mission is simply “to offer the neediest elderly of every race and religion a home where they will be welcomed as Christ, cared for as family and accompanied with dignity until God calls them to himself.”
Despite their lifetime care for the poor in the name of their Lord, these pious women are deemed unworthy of a religious exemption under President Barack Obama’s signature “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” or Obamacare.
The religious liberty infringements weaved into the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate declare that Little Sisters and similar faith-based institutes must either provide contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs in their insurance coverage or pay a penalty of $100 per employee, per day — a crippling cost for nuns who uphold the tradition of alms seeking to sustain their charitable work.
Simply put, thanks to the abuses against religious liberty within the HHS mandate, the Little Sisters and similar Catholic charities must either betray their deeply held religious convictions or close their doors come January 1, 2014.
The government is certainly not prepared to fill the huge gaping hole that will be left behind once Obamacare obliterates urban Catholic charities.
Take for example the Bronx, where Little Sisters of the Poor’s Jeanne Jugan Residence has operated since 1868. Between 2010 and 2011 the Bronx and surrounding boroughs witnessed the number of elderly living in poverty rise from 17.2 percent to 19 percent in 2011, as reported by The New York Times. City officials are preoccupied, too, with one in four children living in poverty and a rising jobless rate. Catholic charities are among the few efficient means of solutions for all of the above.
Besides the Bronx, the Catholic charity has 30 facilities throughout the United States whose doors will be forced to shut to those in need once the HHS mandate takes total effect.
Thankfully, Catholics are rallying opposition to the oppressive health care law with scores of lawsuits filed against HHS. But where is the Evangelical Left, which is supposedly consumed with eradicating poverty, upholding dignity, equality and dispensing social justice?
The answer is that the Evangelical Left remains full of fixed Obama devotees despite how this administration’s policies against religious liberty.
Sojourners, a coalition of Religious Left activists, displayed its shameless plug for the President after millions are lising their health insurance despite his promises none would. The defense, written by LaVonne Neff, rested on flawed evidence encompassing, “So President Obama should not have made a promise he couldn’t keep. However, I don’t think the president intentionally lied. I don’t think he was naïve about insurance companies. I think he was naïve about Americans.”
More emphatic is Rachel Held Evans, a so-called “progressive” evangelical and author of Christian-aimed books, who wrote, “Full disclosure: I supported it, and did a little happy dance at 10 p.m. for all my friends with preexisting conditions” and then conversely stated, “The true ‘Christian’ (or Christ-like) response to health care reform is not a particular position, but an attitude—one that preserves the holiness of the Kingdom of God by keeping these things in perspective.”
Liberal Christians’ refusal to speak out against the injustices created by Obamacare reveals where their priorities lie.
In the foretelling words of one former U.S. President, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” And it is this generation — the secular and the religious — that is foolishly surrendering our religious freedoms, a surrender whose chief victims are the helpful and the humble.