With the upcoming Presidential election and the mandate initiated by the Department of Health and Human Services of the Obama administration (and the first glimpse of what Obamacare will involve), our nation and the Catholic Church in America stand at the crossroad of what will become of religious and conscience rights and respect for the sanctity of human life in America and perhaps even in the world.
I totally support what Cardinal Dolan and the USCCB is doing to fight the mandate, and the voice of the Church speaking out on all levels (hierarchy, clergy, religious, and laity) on what are not merely political issues but crucial moral issues must be heard. As Church we do not mention the names of candidates or the names of political parties, but we have to speak out for moral issues and for freedom of religion and freedom of conscience before it is too late.
This is a time when millions of unborn babies are being slaughtered and our government is acting as an enabler. This is a time when certain scientists are not only questioning the rights of the unborn to life but even the rights of newborns!! This is a time when elderly and seriously or chronically ill people and people with disabilities might be given questionnaires to complete with questions that cause them to consider their "quality of life" and whether their lives are still worth living. Right now the issue about which Catholic organizations that are not the local church but include schools, hospitals and other social services and individual Catholic business owners are being asked to violate Church teaching and conscience (the "compromise" addition of a third party insurer is merely paying Peter so that Peter can pay Paul instead of a requirement to pay Paul directly) may seem rather insignificant, since for many people contraception is a "gray area" and even common practice, but it is better to stop violations of conscience and violations of religious freedom while the matter is still small and can be "nipped in the bud" than to wait until the matter is more serious. I have heard that the next mandate very well could involve a requirement to pay for abortion so that those who wish to procure abortions can get an abortion for $1.
We are at a very crucial moment in our history. To me this election is a time when America will decide whether we will slide further down the slippery slope of the "culture of death" and the erosion of our freedom of religion and consciences or whether we will make a positive difference in standing for the Gospel of life. The issue facing us is not merely political but a grave moral issue, and the time for a "tip of the hat" to respecting life and for mild statements of political correctness is over. The Church must always be above political parties, but the Church must speak out for freedom, human dignity and morality. We must stand together for the cause of the sanctity of life or else we could see it slip away as it did in Nazi Germany. "If not now, when?"
I believe that we are being called to stand up as Catholics in America "for such a time as this". I want history to reveal that in 2012 that the Church in America stood courageously to speak out for the vulnerable and defenseless and turned the tide from the culture of death to the culture of life.