Kathleen Sebellius this past Friday delivered a commencement address at Georgetown University. CNS.com has a fine article with video of the speech. In her comments she seemed to respond to the criticism of Catholic Bishops by quoting from President Kennedy’s famous speech on September 12,1960. She stated:
“In his talk to Protestant ministers,” Sebelius said, “Kennedy talked about his vision of religion and the public square, and he said he believed in an America, and I quote, ‘where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials; and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against us all.’”
George Orwell would be impressed by this brand of double speak. Let’s see if I have this right. The federal government is trying to force the Catholic Church and other faith based institutions to violate the most principled tenets of their faith or face sanctions for failure to comply and it’s the church that’s trying to impose its values?
The most telling part of the quote is her failure to comprehend its double meaning. When JFK, as she quotes said: “and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against us all.’”, JFK was defending the core principle of “Freedom of Religion” as stated in the First Amendment. JFK was alleviating historic sensibilities that held that to elect a Catholic would subject the United States to Papal governance, thereby undoing the first amendment. He expressed himself in such a way as to be true to himself while reassuring all to his commitment to defend people of all faiths. Kathleen Sebelius, Barack Obama and the rest would have us believe that compelling Americans to violate their faith is an effort on our part to impose our faith on everyone else. In truth those who object to this unlawful compulsion are evoking the true spirit of Kennedy’s speech.
Kathleen Sebelius has taken it to another level. With her at Obama’s right hand they are engaged in an insidious campaign, the worst effort to undo the First Amendment since the “Alien” and “Sedition” Acts. The HHS Mandate as a critical component of Obamacare and advanced by the HHS Secretary is the most despicable action taken by a President since Woodrow Wilson endorsed D.W. Griffith’s “The Birth Of A Nation”.
I am a child of Irish Catholic parents and an alumni of twelve years of Catholic schools I was fed a steady diet of JFK, the one and only Catholic President. Both of my parents turned twenty one in 1960 and proudly voted for JFK. My mother told me the story of my great grandmother,at the age of 70 staying up to watch election returns until 3AM, because having lived through Al Smith’s 1928 campaign she was convinced that a Catholic could never be elected President. My mother also tells of my grandmother who was often required to list her religion on job applications. Then of course there’s the infamous “No Irish Need Apply”. What would my grandmother and great grandmother have to say if they were compelled to violate their faith? Whatever, they might have said just doesn’t matter because Kathleen Sebelius just doesn’t care.