We’ve reached a new low when a senator has to present a bill to restore religious freedom —
but at least we still have a senator who will introduce such legislation in the face of an overt trampling of the right to free exercise of religion. Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio today will introduce “The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 2012,” a bill that would reverse the Obama administration’s recent confirmation of its decision to force religious employers — in conflict with their religious beliefs — to provide employees with insurance that would cover contraceptives and abortifacients.
It’s impossible to overstate just how unjust the Obama administration’s decision in this matter actually is. Catholics and non-Catholics alike recognize it. Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson captures the magnitude of its meaning:
Obama chose to substantially burden a religious belief, by the most intrusive means, for a less-than-compelling state purpose — a marginal increase in access to contraceptives that are easily available elsewhere. The religious exemption granted by Obamacare is narrower than anywhere else in federal law — essentially covering the delivery of homilies and the distribution of sacraments. Serving the poor and healing the sick are regarded as secular pursuits — a determination that would have surprised Christianity’s founder.
Both radicalism and maliciousness are at work in Obama’s decision — an edict delivered with a sneer. It is the most transparently anti-Catholic maneuver by the federal government since the Blaine Amendment was proposed in 1875 — a measure designed to diminish public tolerance of Romanism, then regarded as foreign, authoritarian and illiberal. Modern liberalism has progressed to the point of adopting the attitudes and methods of 19th-century Republican nativists. …