New Mandate May Drive Obama’s Top Catholic Defender Away

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 6, 2012   |   9:07PM   |   Washington, DC

The new Obamacare mandate the pro-abortion president put in place may be driving away his top Catholic supporter, Douglas Kmiec, the former Malta ambassador who upsets pro-life advocates with his support.

Kmiec has indicated he may not support Obama this time around because of the new mandate, which forces religious employers to pay for insurance coverage including birth control and drugs that can cause abortions. It has been condemned by virtually every Catholic bishop in the nation.

As The Hill reports:

Kmiec, who served in the Reagan administration, noted that he urged Obama last year to grant an exemption, explaining that such a move “would be an opportunity to be more sensitive to religious freedom than the law requires.”

Asked whether he will back Obama in 2012, Kmiec replied in an email, “Until I have an opportunity to speak with the president, I am for now (unhappily) without a candidate.”

Kmiec, now a professor of constitutional law at Pepperdine University, said last year there was a “98 percent chance” he would support Obama’s reelection bid.

He told The Hill that “there were several ways to reimburse employees of Catholic institutions for the expense which did not implicate any of the ethical concerns of the theologians. Why exactly did we not walk down a path that would have led to common ground — namely, coverage without ethical objection? That’s what I need answered before deciding on 2012. I find it most troubling to be tossed into this dilemma since as a Republican with independent, if not latent Democratic, tendencies, I am very proud of the president’s success on the healthcare initiative and his withdrawal of troops from Iraq…”

As recently as November, Kmiec was defending the pro-abortion president to Catholics — on the conscience issues o which he now condemns Obama.

Writing in the National Catholic Reporter, Kmiec essentially told Catholics to get over the fact that the Obama administration is dangerously close to adopting new Obamacare rules that will require insurance companies and religious organizations to pay for insurance that will cover birth control, contraception, and drugs that can sometimes cause abortions.

Without saying so directly, Kmiec took on the Catholic bishops and their argument that the Obama administration is about to trample on the rights of Catholics and other religious groups that don’t want to be required to pay for insurance that violates their moral or religious views.

“Sometimes one is tempted to say a plague on both your houses. We’re not even close to the 2012 election season and already there are overheated claims that the Obama administration is at war with Catholics,” he claims. “It is not.”

“One of the most attractive aspects of President Barack Obama is the significance of faith in his life,” Kmiec adds — which is at odds with Obama’s aggressive promotion of abortion during his administration and condemnation of pro-life advocates and conservative voters as ones who “cling to” their religion.

Kmiec goes further and essentially tells Catholics to shut up about Obama’s impending decision on Obamacare.

“If the law allows for religious beliefs to be observed or unobserved as the authoritative family member may decide, the church really should not complain about the president if its own believer makes the wrong choice in terms of Catholic doctrine,” he says. “In such circumstance, the church’s focus should be upon the education and conversion of heart of its own believer, not whether the law permits a contrary belief.”

Kmiec then throws out the concept of conscience altogether with the false notion that being required to pay for someone one objects to doesn’t equate to engaging in the act itself, essentially giving a defense to Obama’s repeated requirement that taxpayers fund abortion and abortion businesses.

“This same principle explains the limits of the law with respect to all manner of subjects, from abortion to artificial contraception. That the law may specify that abortion or contraceptive coverage be included as choices for employees ought not be seen as making the employer contributing to the legally imposed medical premium complicit in the act itself,” he writes. “To think that an authorizing statute or executive decision violates principles of religious liberty or free exercise merely because it allows a choice contrary to faith is to misunderstand the nature of democracy and individual freedom.”

“There is no violation of religious liberty when HHS announces a temporary (or permanent) regulation requiring all employers — religious or nonreligious, Catholic or not — to provide employees with an insurance benefit for artificial contraception,” he continues. “HHS is not duty-bound to allow a Catholic employer exemption.”

Millions of pro-life Catholics and pro-life advocates of any or all faiths tired of seeing their religious liberties offended strenuously disagree.