Thursday’s ruling means that the November elections are a referendum not just on President Obama’s poor handling of the economy, but now also on the fate of his signature piece of legislation, including, not insignificantly, his assault on religious liberty.
There’s a lot of talk about the insurance mandate, but in upholding the Affordable Care Act, the Court also preserved the other mandate — the one imposed by Kathleen Sebelius and personally signed by President Obama. That’s the HHS mandate, which would bury virtually every Catholic hospital, school, and charity in an avalanche of fines unless they provide health services that directly violate their church’s teachings.
Only one man in the last 40 years has been elected president without a majority of the Catholic vote. Even those Catholics who oppose elements of Church teaching don’t want the federal government forcing their Catholic school to provide sterilizations and abortion pills, which the HHS mandate would require. That’s why a majority of Catholics favor a clear exemption to the HHS mandate.
But President Obama has refused to grant a workable exemption to Catholic institutions and instead has sought to define the very criteria for what constitutes a religious group. And that’s why states with significant Catholic populations, such as Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, have suddenly become swing states. If Romney were to win just one of these states, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where Obama wins reelection.
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