Saturday, February 11, 2012

COMMENTARY: President Obama Must Trash His Contraceptive Coverage Rules

President Barack Obama was subject to much criticism this week -- especially by Christian clergy -- as a result of his recent ruling to force religious institutions to pay for contraceptive coverage, including birth control, the morning-after pill, and other services to people who work for them.

New York Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan -- obviously infuriated by Obama's ecclesiastical ruling -- went so far as to tell Obama to back out of "intruding into the internal life of a church."

House Speaker John Boehner was also angry at Obama's "religious ruling," and said that the House of Representatives will end this ruling if Obama does not cancel it.

In America's traditional separation of church and state, it is clear that the federal government must not interfere in church affairs and that the church must not interfere in American politics.

But Obama's "religious ruling" unquestionably violates this church-state covenant. One would expect President Obama to know better -- he does have a law degree from Harvard Law School -- because in such a ruling, the federal government is overstepping its authority by formulating ecclesiastical policy that it is ordering the church to follow. This federal government intrusion on the church can be compared to the church having the right to order the federal government to stop subsidizing abortions.

As a result of the plethora of criticism he has received regarding his "religious ruling," Obama has now attempted to "soften the blow" of it by providing a compromise, which would require the insurance companies to pay for workers' contraceptive coverage, rather than the religious institutions themselves.

This compromise has only outraged Christian clergy and others all the more so, as they believe that it just adds insult to injury.

In the final analysis, Obama must trash his entire contraceptive coverage rules -- or indeed Congress or the courts will trash them for him.