Published in partnership with the Freedom for All Campaign.
The call for a “Fortnight for Freedom” by Cardinal Timothy Dolan in reaction to the supposed “unprecedented incursion into freedom of conscience” of the Affordable Care Act seems a classic Orwellian reversal of reality. The assertion by Cardinal Dolan that the Affordable Care Act requirement that insurance companies provide contraceptives as preventive care with no deductible or copay imposes restrictions on religious freedom is just the opposite of the truth.
No one is asking Catholics (the majority of whom now use contraceptives) to violate their conscience. The use of contraceptives is a free choice. The actions of Cardinal Dolan seek to deny this choice to anyone who does not agree with the Cardinal’s beliefs or the doctrines of the Catholic Church. In this context, it is the Cardinal who is the actual threat to the freedom of religion – it is the Cardinal who seeks to impose an “unprecedented incursion into the freedom of conscience” on all those who do not agree with him.
We are witnessing the rebirth of Christian religious fundamentalism in America, and the “Fortnight for Freedom” is a manifestation of the intolerance and repressiveness that grow out of such extremist movements. It is this fundamentalism that is the real threat to freedom – religious or otherwise. Interpreting the need for sensible healthcare for Americans as an attack on religion or conscience, is about as far from upholding true Christian values as one could possibly imagine.