Our family attended the Spanish mass at our church this past Sunday, which we like to do periodically. The pews and side aisles of our largely Hispanic parish were full of parishioners representing every country in Latin America and also every socio-economic class in the U.S.
It’s a great mass, festive and warm, with lots of large families and restless children. In his homily, our pastor referred to a recent message from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops regarding the continued threat to religious freedom posed by the Health and Human Services mandate on abortifacient drugs and sterilization.
He told us the Bishops were holding firm. In their words: the law “compels our ministries to participate in providing employees with abortifacient drugs and devices, sterilization and contraception, which violates our deeply held beliefs.” The Bishops also spoke out for family business owners of faith, who are being asked to act against Church teachings. They were especially clear to state that the Constitution and the law protect these freedoms in our country, so the mandate is an affront not only on people and institutions of faith, but on the very foundations of America.
[sharequote align=”center”]The mandate is an affront to people & institutions of faith, but on the very foundations of America.[/sharequote]
I think that for the first time since this whole debacle began, I detected a general attentive response from the large Hispanic congregation.
So far, the struggle between Catholic and other Christian associations and business owners has remained in the background and low on the attention radars of people who will be directly affected. Suddenly, people are realizing that a lot of promises made on behalf of Obamacare turned out to be fraudulent.
Everyone is aware of the “If you like your plan you can keep it” lie. Religious people who sincerely believed assurances from the administration that accommodations would be made for conscience rights (as have been made since this country was founded), are now waking up to the fact that those promises were made only for political expedience.
Recent polls show Hispanic opinion on Obamacare in free fall. Only 44 percent of them now approve of the law. Obama’s personal approval ratings among Hispanics are shocking, 47 percent disapproving to 41 percent, and a majority disapproves of him on health care. You might remember that in 2012, 71 percent of Latinos approved of Obama. The cult of personality that drives politics in many Latin American countries seemed to be working here too, at least for a while.
Now that Latinos are noticing that the Emperor forgot to put on his clothes before he sauntered out to remake health care, they are also noticing that he hasn’t been very respectful of the tremendous value most Hispanics place on their faith.
They understand, from long personal acquaintance with oppressive governments, that the freedom of a man or woman to follow their conscience in their religious associations and at work is indispensable to human flourishing. The administration has offered them the freedom to worship together on Sundays or Saturdays. That is just not enough. Latino consciences are fully awake the rest of the week as well.
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