The Obamastate has told the Little Sisters of the Poor that they should just go ahead and sign the waiver form by which they authorize someone else to pay for contraceptives and sterilization. “Come along now sisters, it’s just a piece of paper. With one little signature you will have the exemption you want! What’s the big deal?” Thus the report here.
Where have we heard this before? Henry VIII and the Act of Supremacy. In November 1534 the English Parliament decreed that King Henry VIII was the “only supreme head on earth of the Church of England.” Everyone who held public office had to take the oath of supremacy, and most did. After all, it was “only a few words…only a pen stroke if you like…only a piece of paper.” At first the authorities even made it easier for people with tender consciences. A clause was added to the claim that the king was the head of the church: “insofar as the law of God allows.” Many of the clergy took the oath while they kept their fingers crossed with the compromise clause.
Once they got most to comply the compromise clause was removed. Those who had compromised now found that they had sworn the oath in the original form and they were held to it. When Henry’s illegitimate wicked daughter Elizabeth came to the throne the Oath of Supremacy was extended to schoolteachers, local authorities, university students–virtually anyone in any position of authority. To refuse to take the oath was treason, and the oath was demanded by the officers of Elizabeth’s police state.
The issue here is of the tactics used to suppress opposition. An oppressive government will insist that those with religious objections conform. They will say, “It is only a piece of paper. It is a mere pen stroke. What harm can there be in taking this way out we have offered you?” However, if it is a mere pen stroke or only a piece of paper, then why does the government insist on conformity of the Little Sisters of the Poor? If it is only a piece of paper or a pen stroke, why bother? Because it is most assuredly not a mere piece of paper or a pen stroke. It is the violation of the sister’s conscience by the government authorities. Why does the federal government insist on this detail? Because they know that if one group is allowed to have an exemption on religious grounds, then all groups may claim a similar exemption because of religious beliefs.
If this religious belief is honored, then every other religious belief on every other issue must also be honored. What is at stake in this argument, therefore, is not the comparatively minor issue of whether some Catholic sisters should authorize a third party to pay for contraceptive services, but whether any group, individual or business has the right to opt out of a government program which imposes on their lives and their beliefs. This government, like Henry VIII’s and Elizabeth I’s and all other tyrants, says “No. The will of the state takes precedence over religious opinions. You will conform.”
Why is this so important to the Obamastate? Because the success of all future big government legislative programs depends on the imposition of Obamacare. If this massive over reach of the federal government succeeds, then it will be possible for a whole range of “progressive” programs to be introduced which are designed to bring about the New American Atheist Utopia. Those who wish to impose this great utopia realize (like all ideologues and revolutionaries) that the main obstacle in their path are religious people.
No other group stands up to a power hungry state because no other group of people have the higher allegiance as religious people do, and which group is most resistant to any power hungry state? Catholics. Only the Catholic Church has a worldwide, organized and integrated alternative system. Non-Catholic Christians may have a good, higher allegiance to Christ, but they do not have the organized, systematic infrastructure on earth that the Catholic Church has. The issues in any power hungry state are the same faced by Henry VIII and Elizabeth and their Catholic subjects: “Will you obey the Pope or The Leader? The one whose kingdom is not of this world or the one whose kingdom is of this world? Christ or AntiChrist?”
The Little Sisters of the Poor–and the other religious groups opposing the imposition of the contraceptive mandate–are the St Thomas More’s of our age. He acknowledged the compromise clause in Henry VIII’s required Oath of Supremacy, but he could not take it. He did not condemn those who did, but he refused.
And for this his head rolled. All for a piece of paper, a few words or a pen stroke…
Read more about Henry VIII, the English Reformation and the erosion of freedom.