A few weeks ago, when it was announced that some 40 Catholic diocese and institutions had filed 12 lawsuits against the Obama administration and its mandate that the church subsidize or provide insurance for medical procedures, such as abortion, that are contrary to its teachings, we said the lawsuits were a good step. However, the lawsuits are no substitute for mobilizing opposition to the Obamacare mandate through the public moral authority of America’s religious leaders.
We urged church leaders to use their day-to-day ministries and Sunday morning sermons to identify, and publicly oppose the source of their persecution, not leave the job of making the case for the rightness of their cause to their attorneys.
Now comes word that Bishop Frank Dewane of the Diocese of Venice (Florida) did just that by sending a letter to Catholic parishes encouraging parishioners in his diocese to rally against the Obamacare mandate on Friday, June 8.
The result, according to the Collier County (Florida) Sheriff’s Office, was an estimated 2,000 people showed-up for a nearly two-hour rally, which took over the northeast corner of U.S. Highway 41 North and Pine Ridge Road in the small city of Naples, Florida.
If 2,000 people show up to fill an auditorium to hear President Barack Obama speak in favor of the health care mandate, it is front page news. Judging by the national media attention this and similar rallies around the country got last Friday, you would never know they happened.
The Naples rally and others like it around the country were not rallies in some nice air conditioned presidential campaign venue, but demonstrations of a personal commitment on the part of the participants to turn out for two hours in the 85 degree heat to show their opposition to the Obamacare mandate.
Would they have come without the encouragement of Bishop Dewane? Of course no one knows the answer to that question, but this is not the first time the Bishop has denounced the Obamacare mandate – in February he sent a similar Diocese-wide letter decrying the Obamacare requirement.
Yes, the lawsuits are a good and necessary step to overturning the Obamacare mandate and restoring religious freedom and freedom of conscience in our country. However, compared to the moral authority Bishop Dewane exercised when he wrote, “This (HHS) mandate is so offensive, and so coercive, that it resembles similar actions that totalitarian regimes have used in the past,” the lawsuits pale in influence.
The establishment media may ignore rallies, like the one in Naples, Florida, but we are confident no power on earth can stand against such moral authority if other religious leaders will only follow Bishop Dewane’s lead and have the courage to exercise it.