The Catholic Church's U.S. hierarchy warned Tuesday that without quick action by Congress, it will sue the Obama administration for mandating that insurance plans provide birth control to women without a co-pay.Talk about sore losers. The bishops had their chance to weigh in on the Obama administration's new policy to require health insurers to cover birth control without co-pays. The Obama administration generously carved out a boatload of exemptions for them to address their "concerns." The bishops even got their puppets in Congress to introduce bills on their behalf—which the American people overwhelmingly opposed. They even got themselves invited to the boys-only congressional hearing on birth control—because who understands birth control better than a bunch of supposedly celibate men?
"[F]orcing individual and institutional stakeholders to sponsor and subsidize an otherwise widely available product over their religious and moral objections serves no legitimate, let alone compelling, government interest," lawyers for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote in a letter to federal regulators.
At the end of the day, though, they lost. They made their case that basic health care for women violates their "religious liberty" and makes Jesus sad—and they lost. They launched a charm offensive to "set the record straight," arguing that the Catholic Church totally loves women's health care and has been "the most effective private provider of such care anywhere around," and people better stop saying mean stuff about them or they won't be able "to live out the imperatives of our faith to serve, teach, heal, feed, and care for others." And no one bought it.
You'd think, after such a resounding "fuck off" from the American public, the bishops might leave women's health care alone and go back to focusing on those important things they claim to care about. But when the Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), led by Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, archbishop of New York and the president of the bishops' conference, met to decide whether to accept defeat or keep whining, they of course decided to keep whining, even as they concluded:
Prayer is the ultimate source of our strength—for without God, we can do nothing; but with God, all things are possible.Well, apparently their prayers didn't work, so they've decided to scrap the God plan in favor of litigation:
"We believe that this mandate is unjust and unlawful – it is bad health policy, and because it entails an element of government coercion against conscience, it creates a religious freedom problem," wrote Anthony Picarello, USCCB associate general secretary and general counsel, and Michael Moses, associate general counsel. "These moral and legal problems are compounded by an extremely narrow exemption that intrusively and unlawfully carves up the religious community into those that are deemed 'religious enough' for an exemption, and those that are not."That would be the same Anthony Picarello who introduced the world to the laughable Taco Bell theory—that the boatload of exemptions to this mandate do not cover someone who opens a Taco Bell and thinks his employees should not be allowed to use birth control because of Jesus 'n stuff. Yeah, he's a real legal eagle, that one.
Given that one federal court has already ruled against the bishops' absurd argument that their definition of religious liberty trumps all else, any future lawsuits are most likely destined for the same fate. But since stopping women from having access to affordable health care has now become the Most Importantest Issue Evah!, little things—like being completely wrong—probably won't stop the bishops from continuing to stamp their feet like petulant two-year-olds who don't want to take a nap.
Because that is totally what Jesus would do.