I had thought that the 2012 elections were going to be about economic issues – unsustainable government deficit spending and the inflationary monetary policy of the Federal Reserve. This was supposed to have been an election cycle where the social issues became secondary, to be dealt with after the existential threat had passed. Mitch Daniels, the Republican Governor of Indiana, famously called for a truce in the culture war due to the rising tide of red ink that was threatening to drown the country.
Suddenly, though, the social issues are back. It’s as if the scales have not fallen from my eyes, they’ve been ripped off, taking my eyelids with them. The creeping tyranny of an Executive Branch that is weary of having to follow the Constitution has become every bit the existential threat that Daniels’s red tide is.
The latest target is the First Amendment, guaranteeing Freedom of Religion to every citizen of the Republic. First, the Obama Administration tried to claim that churches and religious institutions could not discriminate in their employment, even of ministers. They tried to make it the law of the land that the Catholic Church would have to open the priesthood to women. Fortunately, the Supreme Court ruled against them 9 to 0. Not even the most liberal justices would condone such a naked usurpation of religious freedom.
Now we have the mandate from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that all employers, including religious institutions, but excluding narrowly defined churches) must provide all employees with free contraception and sterilization. This is clearly a violation of the consistent moral teaching of the Catholic Church, and the bishops of the United States have unanimously and loudly objected, stating that they would not and could not abide by the ruling. President Obama, who during the debt negotiations was willing to see the Federal government shut down before giving up federal funding of Planned Parenthood, doubled down. Most of the mainstream media mis-framed the argument, clearly with a bias in favor of the administration. Now, he has announced an "accommodation" which is no compromise at all, since all employers will still be required to provide health insurance that provides free contraception and sterilization. It is a blatant assault on liberty and an affront to Catholics who take the moral teaching of the Church seriously.
At the same time, a private cancer-research fund, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, announced that it would suspend financial support for Planned Parenthood. The Planned Parenthood goons went into overdrive, even going so far as hacking and defacing the Komen website, leading Komen to sheepishly apologize and restore funding.
Yes, the culture wars are alive and kicking. We focused on one front of the war and neglected the other, allowing the forces of evil (and I do not use the phrase lightly) to attack us in the rear. Now we have to fight a two-front war, and I fear that the momentum is against us. If we can't reverse the course of recent history, our government will cease to be of the people, by the people, and for the people. The Constitution will become nothing more than words on parchment, and the liberties guaranteed by the Constitution will be worth no more than the paper on which they are written.