I'd like to congratulate President Obama on a well-played maneuver in the Catholic contraceptive broo-ha-ha.
For those who've been off-planet for the past week, the Obama administration issued a rule that all employers must provide free birth control and morning-after pills. The only exception they allowed was to actual houses of worship — thus excluding religious charities and hospitals, among others.
The administration responded to loud protests and threats of civil disobedience with an adjustment to the previous rule: Insurers must provide these things at no cost to the employee or employer in these cases.
This is a win for the Obama administration. No one is dumb enough to believe insurers will provide these things at no cost to the employer; they will obviously roll this cost into their insurance premiums. It's nothing but an accounting trick.
But it hamstrings the religious community's response.
Obama was facing the prospect of hundreds of religious leaders taking a perp walk, willing to go to jail to protest this infringement of their freedom of religion. Alternatively, some of these religious non-profits might have closed their doors to give the public a picture of what their lives would be like if religious charities, schools, and hospitals were shut down by the ruinous fines threatened by the administration.
None of this is possible now. Faithful Roman Catholics — and others with similar beliefs — will be forced to provide something they believe is sinful, something their employees have always known was not an option while they worked there. These people's exercise of their religion has been quashed by the power of the state.
Well-played, Mr. Obama. May God have mercy on your soul.