The NYT dropped a little bombshell that went relatively unnoticed this long holiday weekend. It seems the Catholic bishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, has been paying for insurance for some of his employees that covers abortions and contraceptives.
Dolan has been leading the Catholic Church’s fight against Obamacare requiring some religiously-affiliated employers to pay for health insurance that includes contraceptive coverage for its employees.
Aa the NYT notes, while the archdiocese of NY has admitted previously that some “local Catholic institutions” have been paying for such health insurance plans, no one knew until now that the archdiocese was paying for them itself.
The church, of course, claims that this is all happening under duress. They’re just complying with local laws that they don’t like, they say. But the problem for Dolan is that for years he’s been claiming that the Obamacare rules are “unprecedented.” And apparently, they’re not.
In a letter to his fellow bishops, Dolan wrote back on March 2, 2012 that Obamacare was an “unprecedented intrusion from a government bureau.”
Dolan went on to claim that “each of the ministries entrusted to us by Jesus is now in jeopardy due to this bureaucratic intrusion into the internal life of the church.”
Which is interesting, since the New York archdiocese has been dealing with this “intrusion” at the local level for over a decade, and it doesn’t seem in jeopardy.
Dolan continues. And this is where he really starts to dig himself a hole:
We’ll still have to pay and, in addition to that, we’ll still have to maintain in our policies practices which our Church has consistently taught are grave wrongs in which we cannot participate. And what about forcing individual believers to pay for what violates their religious freedom and conscience? We can’t abandon the hard working person of faith who has a right to religious freedom.
But ya are, Blanche. Ya are participating in those grave wrongs already, and lightning hasn’t struck. And you already “abandon[ed] the hard working person of faith” over a decade ago when you chose to comply with the local laws. Yet Dolan chose to pretend that he hadn’t. He chose to mislead his flock into thinking that Obamacare’s rules were somehow new and dangerous, and that they would destroy the church, when in fact the church was surviving just fine under similar rules for over ten years.
Dolan, the drama queen, continues:
[S]ome worry that we’ll have to face a decision between two ethically repugnant choices: subsidizing immoral services or no longer offering insurance coverage, a road none of us wants to travel.
Decision already faced, and Dolan chose to travel the road of ethical repugnance, and he’s still around to write about it.
Dolan also made similar claims in a Wall Street Journal op ed in January of 2012. In this one, Dolan really stepped into it:
Coercing religious ministries and citizens to pay directly for actions that violate their teaching is an unprecedented incursion into freedom of conscience. Coercing religious ministries and citizens to pay directly for actions that violate their teaching is an unprecedented incursion into freedom of conscience. Organizations fear that this unjust rule will force them to take one horn or the other of an unacceptable dilemma: Stop serving people of all faiths in their ministries—so that they will fall under the narrow exemption—or stop providing health-care coverage to their own employees.
Huh. So if Obamacare makes Dolan pay for the insurance, he will have only two choices – to stop serving people of all faiths, or to stop offering health coverage.
Of course, there’s a third option – to do exactly what Dolan has chosen to do for ten years now. Just pay for the insurance.
Cardinal Dolan lied when he wrote that there were only two options, because he himself was pursuing option #3. And if he did it before, he can do it again.