The ploy was a little creepy, in that it mirrors the kind of bare-chested manly-man propaganda pics put out by Vladimir Putin’s handlers – which the communist dictator had to admit last year were staged.
Likewise, no one is fooled by the White House’s stunt. In fact, it mostly fed the Photoshop junkies, who’ve been using the computer software program to have fun with the photo at the president’s expense. One editorial cartoonist parodied the photo by depicting Obama shooting skeet – with drones.
No one in the right-to-bear-arms crowd suddenly believes they’ve got a friend in the White House.
Similarly, we would think religious liberty advocates would be duly skeptical of the administration’s recent offer to be more flexible in its mandate that employers offer free birth control in insurance policies.
Up to this point, the administration has shown near-zero concern for how its birth control mandate tramples on pro-life sensibilities and First Amendment religious beliefs that abortion is morally repugnant. Even when religious organizations and others filed lawsuit after lawsuit, the administration pretty much stood its ground.
Maybe that was just during the election year, during which the Obama campaign wanted to curry the favor of the Democratic left-wing. There was a right-wing “war on women” to be waged, after all, don’tcha know, since not everybody was on board to give out free contraceptives to support unrestrained, indiscriminate sex. It’s so good for the country!
Maybe the administration’s new stance – that some employers can have employees go through third parties for birth control – is a genuine effort to compromise. Looks more like a Hobson’s choice to us – a take-it-or-leave it offer that really doesn’t change the original tender.
Regardless, Obamacare still blankets too many employers with a morally offensive mandate. The administration’s definition of religious organizations that are exempt is still too narrow – and doesn’t extend the exemption, either, to secular businesses whose owners are pro-life.
This mandate isn’t like any other in American history, and can’t be compared with any other choice a business is confronted with. It forces employers to fund or arrange for services that end human lives.
We doubt such organizations or companies can trust this administration to fully respect their First Amendment rights to religious freedom. So we expect the government’s power to enforce such mandates will have to be tested before the Supreme Court.
“My concerns,” one Catholic bishop was quoted, “include the fact that the (Department of Health and Human Services) mandate maintains inaccurate distinctions among religious ministries and the fact that the mandate still does not offer conscience protections to individuals and employers who object to providing health insurance coverage for services they find morally objectionable.”
This is not about the government ordering a restaurant, for instance, to serve alcohol because that’s what the government thinks ought to be offered. This is a matter of life and death to a lot of folks.
We can pretty safely say the alcohol mandate wouldn’t ever be tried.