Prominent Catholic leaders across the U.S. have threatened to turn voters against President Obama over his controversial plans to offer free birth control.
The fight is over a provision of the health reform law announced on January 20 that would require health insurance plans -- including those offered by institutions such as Catholic-affiliated hospitals and universities -- to offer free birth control including sterilization.
According to estimates, there are some 70 million Catholic voters – and many could be posed to vote against the president in the crucial upcoming election.
Catholic League head Bill Donohue said: ‘Never before, unprecedented in American history, for the federal government to line up against the Roman Catholic Church,’ CBS New York reported.
'This is going to be fought out with lawsuits, with court decisions and, dare I say it, maybe even in the streets.' Archbishop Timothy Dolan, who was promoted to the status of a Cardinal just weeks ago, spoke out about the issue.
'It’s not about contraception. It’s about the right of conscience,' he told reporters. 'The government doesn’t have the right to butt into the internal governance and teachings of the church,” he said.
'This is not a Catholic issue, it’s an American issue. We’re strong on this issue of conscience, and that’s what’s at stake here.'
Catholic clergy on Sunday called on the faithful to write Congress to protest new birth control rules from President Barack Obama's administration, stepping up a campaign that began a week ago with denunciations from the pulpit at Masses across the country.
Catholics are traditionally staunchly pro-life despite their tendency to vote for Democrats. But over the past couple of election cycles, Catholics have slowly begun to wake up to the fact that many prominent Democrats who also profess to be Catholics (think John Kerry and Nancy Pelosi) don't hold the same values as those that the church endorses.
The Catholic Church is rising to the challenge because they realize this controversy is not just about abortion. It's also about religious liberty. And they are finally realizing that Democrats that they have worked to elect over the past several decades are not their allies. It's about time.