The Right to Bear Arms, and Not to Get Birth Control

At his speech to the National Rifle Association convention this afternoon, Mitt Romney brought up the alleged infringement on religious freedom by the Obama administration:

 

Now, the Obama administration has decided that it has the power to mandate what Catholic charities, schools, and hospitals must cover in their insurance plans. It’s easy to forget how often President Obama assured us that under Obamacare, nothing in our insurance plans would have to change.  Remember that one?  Well, here we are, just getting started with Obamacare, and the federal government is already dictating to religious groups on matters of doctrine and conscience.

In all of America, there is no larger private provider of healthcare for women and their babies than the Catholic Church.  But that’s not enough for the Obamacare bureaucrats.  No, they want Catholics to fall in line and violate the tenets of their faith.

As President, I will follow a very different path than President Obama. I will be a staunch defender of religious freedom.  The Obamacare regulation is not a threat and insult to only one religious group – it is a threat and insult to every religious group.  As President, I will abolish it.

Of course when he was governor of Massachusetts, Romney made no effort to shield religious institutions from a very similar rule. According to the Boston Globe, there was a substantially similar requirement in Massachusetts, and when proposing his own overhaul of the state’s health insurance system, he made no effort to change it based on the religious objections of Catholic institutions. 

As I noted yesterday, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and their allies are ramping up the “religious freedom” wars for the campaign season. Romney has taken up their cause before, but never in such an unlikely venue. He somehow wrapped the Bishops’ “religious freedom” complaints in the same packaging as gun rights. (And, for good measure, his wife Ann made a special appearance to assure one of the most powerful special interest groups in Washington that women are “special” but not a “special interest.” Ba-dum-bum.) Funny how owning a gun is now a more important right than health care and how the “culture of life” rationale of the Bishops’ opposition to birth control gets play at a convention celebrating guns.

 

Sarah Posner, author of God’s Profits: Faith, Fraud, and the Republican Crusade for Values Voters, covers politics and religion. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Atlantic, The American ProspectThe NationSalon, and other publications. Follow her on TwitterRSS feed Email