How can there be a free exercise of religion if it is government the one that decides what constitutes a church?  The HHS fiasco shows the government telling churches that what they do to follow the church founder’s command is not integral to their faith.

I do not hesitate in avowing the conviction that unless we stop this power grab we are heading for perilous times in America. Freedom as an unbounded independence from truth is not a rosy prospect awaiting us if we destroy the faith of a free people. As Alexis de Tocqueville wrote,

“When the religion of a people is destroyed, doubt gets hold of the highest portions of the intellect, and half paralyzes all the rest of its powers.”

Confusion is the most effective potion of demagogues who hope to gain by pretending that what they do is all for the good, as some “right” is threatened unless they act. “Just go along, give me the power, and I fix it.”  Fix what?  Where was the outcry for contraception among those working for Catholic institutions?  Where is the compelling purpose behind these unprecedented actions? Why impose a burden on those trying to live their faith according to the dictates of conscience?

What we see now is the unfolding of years of government penetration into the affairs of civil society and generations of weak leadership in our faith community. That is why the demagogues can point toward his or the other dissenting voice and abrogate the right to decide that those voices are the true ones. A unitary vision of the good can easily be imposed when those supposed to object, lay silent or acquiesce.

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