When Barack Obama changed his polemic policy that employers cover contraception — so that insurance companies, not businesses, have to provide free birth control coverage — it didn’t do much to appease conservative White House opponents.
Instead of celebrating the compromise — meant to protect Catholics and other anti birth-control Christians’ religious freedom — they said things such as, “It’s an accounting trick. Do (White House) officials think people are stupid?” and said that the prez is waging a “war on religion,” according to the Associated Press.
At 9:30 tomorrow, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif), will go so far as to host a hearing that investigates these alleged attacks on religious freedom.
But a group of liberal Catholics lead by Faith in Public Life convened a telephonic press conference this afternoon to preemptively call ‘bullshit’ on rightwingers’ slick politicking.
Runnin’ Scared dialed in, and found that they really, really like Obama’s policies, and think that Republicans’ “war on religion” talk amounts to crying wolf.
Sister Anne Curtis, who’s on the Institute Leadership Team of Sister of Mercy of the Americas, admits that Catholics were “initially very concerned” with the regulation, but are now pleased with the changes — and thought that it reflects “good will” on the part of Obama.
Stephen Schneck, who directs the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies at Catholic University of America, says that the prez’s announcement “by and large addresses those religious liberty concerns.”
“We are not in any way morally compromised,” he says. “The announcement on Friday actually creates mechanisms to establish even greater moral distance between Catholic institutions and contraception.”
Of course, no gathering of religious leaders — however open-minded — would be complete without some talk of evil.
Cathleen Kaveny, a canonical law expert, says that Catholics aren’t trying to isolate themselves from the rest of America — just from sinful contraception. Kaveny says Obama’s plan does just that — and works to the “greater good of providing healthcare.”
“We want to remain from getting too close to sinful behavior,” she said. “I think the approach that was worked out with the president is remote material cooperation with evil under duress.”
Tom Perriello, Center for American Progress Action Fund president and former Democratic congressman, said that tomorrow’s hearing amounts to plain ol’ bad politics.
“That conference is putting conservatives on the wrong side of Catholics,” he said.
Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis.