Skip to comments.Little Sisters in the Political Madhouse - “President Obama vs. The Little Sisters of the Poor”
Posted on 01/09/2014 2:38:40 PM PST by NYer
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has blocked the administrations mandate that the Little Sisters of the Poor contract to provide contraception coverage to their employees. That the case has gone this far illustrates the sickness of the left, the complacence of our popular media culture, and the weakness (partly self-inflicted) of President Obamas political opponents.
The Little Sisters of the Poor provide nursing home care to the elderly poor. They are giving the old, indigent, and isolated not only a place to live, but the care rooted in a kind of personal love that neither the government nor business (as such) are well positioned to provide. No society can have enough of what the sisters are giving. In a sane world, the Obama administration would simply have given the sisters a thank you and left it at that. When it became clear that the presidents health care law would force the sisters to violate their consciences as a condition of continuing to alleviate the suffering of the vulnerable, the Obama administration could have apologized for the confusion and then either issued a waiver or called on Congress to adjust the law.
But, since the sisters beliefs are an example of unauthorized diversity, the Obama administration did not grant them a waiver. The Obama administration chose a compromise in which the sisters would still have to contract with a third-party to provide contraception coverage. This is not exactly a question of access to contraception. President Obamas party enjoyed supermajorities in Congress for the first several years of his term. If the Obama administration prioritized subsidized contraceptives, they could have sought a direct government subsidy for those who did not have coverage for contraceptives through their employers. President Obama has instead chosen to make those who have religious objections to offering contraception personally responsible for contracting contraception services as a condition of helping the helpless. As Yuval Levin wrote, the demands of the Obama administration constitute a warning that those voluntary institutions that help the poor will be allowed to exist only by meeting whatever conditions are imposed by the political left.
The silence of the popular culture is damning. The very idea of President Obama vs. The Little Sisters of the Poor would be considered (even by conservatives) too heavy-handed if it had been invented by a right-wing satirist. The skits write themselves. But the American popular entertainment culture that took an adversarial turn in the second half of the 1960s has chosen to ally itself with a segment of the political establishment. A popular media that took on LBJ now publishes worshipful profiles of technocratic liberals in power, while producing radical gestures that are the equivalent of an investment banker having an eat the rich tattoo on his back. For the mainstream media, Obama is the right kind of powerful, and the sisters are the wrong kind of weak.
This controversy also demonstrates several weaknesses in President Obamas opponents. President Obama and his allies have been able to win the rhetoric of compassion even as they try to drive out or suborn those civil society organizations that the left finds disagreeableeven if the poor have to suffer as a result. The presidents right-of-center critics are not well positioned in the news and entertainment media that most persuadable voters consume. The cultures of the mainstream news and entertainment media lean left and, even when mainstream journalists try to be fair, the cultural bias shows up in the coverage. An occasional news viewer might only know the controversy as a confusing conflict freedom of religion and freedom of contraception. The viewer could be forgiven for thinking that the Obama administration was trying to prevent employers from banning use of contraception by their employees.
The well-funded (but slow and unimaginative) right-leaning Super PACs are predictably missing the opportunity to publicize the administrations vulnerabilities on this issue, but the rights problem goes beyond tactics and media relations. According to the 2012 presidential exit poll, 75 percent of respondents answered that President Obamas policies would generally favor the middle-class or the poor. 53 percent answered that the policies of Obamas opponent would generally favor the rich. Conservatives believe in the existence of a welfare state, but dont focus enough on how the specifics of particular policies can deal with peoples legitimate concerns while leaving greater room for civil society.
People might have heard about the Little Sisters of the Poor, might admire the sisters, and even wish that more people (each in their own way) contributed more to such civil society organizations, without wanting to count only on those organizations if they should find themselves in need. Social welfare policy is not an afterthought to discussion of the economic growth that will come from greater economic freedom. Social welfare policy is a key component to how a free society operates. The failure to articulate a policy that dealt with peoples reasonable concerns about health insurance coverage left health care policy in the hands of the statists. It seemed to leave the Obama administration as the only game in town for the vulnerable. Absent a visible and comprehensible set of alternative policies, President Obamas chaotic, expensive, and coercive statism will ultimately triumph.
Should Ms Sotomayor succeed in giving the dork the finger, I totally apologize for any doubts I had about her integrity.
There is only one logical conclusion to the problem, and she has nailed it...the dork is wrong. (Of course, when can one say he was correct?)
Something really smelled at Harvard when they let in the quota baby idiot.
Holder can shutdown the streets in front of their homes. That’ll take of them!
Reaching for my wallet to make a donation
DC style Knockout Game.
How clueless do you have to be to go on record busting on a group called “Little Sisters of the Poor”? But I guess nothing about this administration surprises me.
If you ever get a chance to tour one of the Sisters’ homes, do it. What a life-affirming experience. You don’t expect to see such joy and dignity among the indigent elderly. It would be a huge loss if the Sisters had to move their ministry out of the country.
Many moons past when I consulted for the IL Dept. of Public Aid, the sisters were enrolled as a Medcaid provider. The Provider DB didn’t allow for the full name to be displayed so some clerk entered it as “Little Sisters of The Poo”. Not belittling the work they do but I always got a chuckle when I saw that on a claim, voucher, or check.
Shades of Monty Python! heh
Not since the Big Bad Wolf blew away the Three Little Pigs has there been a clearer example of a powerful bully (Obama) striking down poor innocent victims (the Little Sisters of the Poor).
THIS is what the public needs to see, but which the liberal media is so blatantly suppressing.
The same liberal media that has gone hysterical because a New Jersey official serving a Republican governor blocked bridge lanes, causing an elderly woman to die, is silent when a Democratic president insists on undermining a charity that specifically takes care of the elderly, which will inevitably result in pain and suffering, if not death, for MANY elderly women who won’t be able to be served.
These "homes" are a centrally located building on private property. Since the residents are the poorest of the poor, they usually don't have any living relatives.
God bless you! The Becket Fund is handling their case before the Supreme Court. In a recent email they wrote:
Let me explain why we had to petition the Supreme Court on New Years Eve: As you know, the beginning of 2014 ushers in the dreaded fines forced by the government on many employers that refuse to comply with the HHS contraception mandate. Courts all over the country had already granted relief to other groups. However, the Little Sisters, who live to serve God by caring for the elderly had been singled out and denied this temporary relief only three days before the fines would kick in. So, we had to go all the way to the Justice in charge of the Circuit that denied the Sisters the protection they deserved.
They are also representing Hobby Lobby. You can make a donation to the Becket Fund here.
It's a disgrace when the only people with the guts to face down Obama is a group of Catholic Nuns God bless you Sisters— Charlie Daniels (@CharlieDaniels) January 4, 2014
Done it ... there is a home nearby. Sadly, this particular group of nuns is so aged that they can no longer care for their residents. You can read the details here. Part of the problem stems from a lack of vocations. The major difference in approach is that the sisters do this work out of love for Christ vs the government which provides services for votes.
Obama doesn’t know how powerful prayer can be; the Little Sisters of the Poor will win.
Bad Optics: Obama and HHS vs Little Sisters of the Poor
September 25, 2013 By Elizabeth Scalia
The Little Sisters of the Poor are heroic social servants: they serve the indigent poor and go begging on their behalf. They are tremendous women offering companionship, love and hospitality to people who often have no one else in their lives willing to see and affirm their dignity and worth, and they dont ask are you a Catholic before they make that offer: it is for all.
Likewise, in their many facilities across the nation, the Little Sisters employ nurses, and aides and helpers, and they do not ask, are you a Catholic before they hire them.
And because the Sisters do not discriminate in their service or their hiring, they, and their ministry, and the aged population they serve, are all being imperiled by the United States Government, specifically by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Obama Administration.
How can that be? How can these religious Sisters, living in a country where the first amendment to its constitution insists upon a free expression of religion and the exercise thereof be in peril? Because the HHS and the Obama Administration have written one of the strangest laws imaginable, a law that says if a church-related organization serves or hires people outside of its religion in other words, if they do not discriminate against others then they are not religious enough to claim the primacy of a religious conscience over a government mandate.
So, if the Sisters do not deny their own consciences and offer insurance policies to their employees that include free coverage for sterilization procedures, artificial contraceptives and abortifacients, these vowed-to-poverty women will have to pay more than a million dollars in IRS fines, effectively making their work near-to-impossible.
Yes, theyll be punished and perhaps driven from serving the poor in America the poor of every race and creed for the sin of not prostrating themselves before a secularist culture that has made an idol of preventing the conception and growth of human life a strange god endowed with so much power that the government believes it can and must stomp on fundamental human freedoms of conscience in order to serve it.
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Little Sisters of the Poor, in an effort to protect their freedoms and win an exemption from this government, so they can continue to serve the poor in America.
Catholic religious sisters more or less created the idea of social service networks; often in the face of resistance, they organized to meet the healthcare and educational needs of the poor and the abandoned long before government began to even think of it. Whoever would have believed that in America, they might be fined out-of-existence rather than freed to operate and assist. The Little Sisters of the Poor are precisely the sort of religious sisters that are held up, and should be held up, as innovators and heroes of faith, and models of good citizenship.
But thats not happening.
I happen to know that the Little Sisters did not want to pursue this lawsuit; they had hoped to simply get an exemption and get back to their work, because public talk of the HHS Mandate and its ruinous effects on their residences was creating awful anxiety for their residents, and they couldnt bear to see them so worried. That they are now moving forward through the Becket Fund, and thus going public, is a measure of how deeply committed they are to not abandoning their people.
Really, what is the Obama Administration thinking? What is the HHS thinking? Do they really want these optics? The intrusive, overbearing the government forcing dedicated sisters to abandon their work with the elderly and the poor?
The Little Sisters of the Poor should be extolled as role models, and encouraged not punished by the government. They are too busy begging for food and material sustenance for their clients to travel about on a comfortable bus and raise awareness (and wouldnt it be wonderful if whoever funded those bus treks for other sisters would be as generous to them?) so we must.
Please, send this around. Let your friends and co-workers and your email lists know that the Little Sister of the Poor do important necessary work toward raising up the Kingdom; they serve everyone, not just Catholics, and they ought not be fined for that. Urge everyone you know to call their congressional representatives, imploring them to petition the Obama Administration for an exemption on their behalf.
And if you want, send a note of encouragement to the Sisters at a residence near you. Im sure they would appreciate knowing that they are not alone in their fight. Im going to drop a card to my gals in Queens today along with a little check because they actually, really are poor; they really do give everything they have to the effort of serving their clients.
You know they do the brothers keeper thing Obama keeps talking about. Maybe he only means that when its about taxes and government programs, and not real, human outreach within communities.
Unauthorized diversity! What a perfectly Orwellobaman phrase. Mentally filing....
The “wise Latina” did this just for show. Watch and see. All “charity” must come from the state.
Excellent article. The best comment:
Ed James says:
Thank you for a well written article. I think it is necessary to extend the logic to an even larger examination of the relationship between institutions of faith and government. Make no mistake: when we mix faith and politics, politics wins. There is a lesson here for the church and, yes, even for Pope Francis. Be cautious when you advocate for government. The church has a track record of seeing government as the solution to economic and social ills. When we get in bed with the Devil, he will at some point ask for his due.