RELIGIOUS CLASH COMING? – AT 8:38 A.M. ET: The battle over the religious implications of Obamacare is far from over, and may just erupt again in the months before the election. Some religious leaders are exceedingly ticked. From The Hill:
The Catholic Church's U.S. hierarchy warned Tuesday that without quick action by Congress, it will sue the Obama administration for mandating that insurance plans provide birth control to women without a co-pay.
"[F]orcing individual and institutional stakeholders to sponsor and subsidize an otherwise widely available product over their religious and moral objections serves no legitimate, let alone compelling, government interest," lawyers for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote in a letter to federal regulators.
Several small Catholic universities have already filed suit over the policy, which prompted a firestorm when it was announced in January and promises to remain an issue throughout the election season.
The bishops group and its leader, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, have led calls to rescind the mandate but threatened court action Tuesday in light of "approaching regulatory deadlines."
"Absent prompt congressional attention to this infringement on fundamental civil liberties, we believe the only remaining recourse … is in the courts," lawyers for the group wrote.
COMMENT: This could get ugly, but it's difficult to know just how it cuts politically. On the one hand, there'll be many traditionalists, possibly including devout Hispanics, who'll be deeply offended at the treatment of their church by the Obama administration. On the other hand, a fight like this could rally the liberal militants in Obama's base.
One thing a battle will clearly do is end forever the illusion that Obama wants to be a unifying president. In fact, he's one of the most divisive presidents we've seen.
May 16, 2012