January 26, 2012
President Barack Obama recognized nine Catholic teachers today as “Champions of Catholic Education.” Catholic League president Bill Donohue commented on this event as follows:
President Obama’s recognition of Catholic education is much appreciated.
Ironically, it is precisely because so many Catholic schools serve non-Catholics in the inner city that Catholic schools, as well as all other non-profit Catholic institutions, have been disqualified by the Obama administration from receiving a religious exemption from mandated healthcare services: Catholic institutions that hire and serve non-Catholics are considered insufficiently religious by the Obama administration and must therefore provide sterilization and contraceptive services (including abortion-inducing drugs) in their healthcare plans starting next year.
Of course, Catholic institutions could qualify for a religious exemption immediately if they were to begin by discriminating against non-Catholics. But then these institutions would no longer be truly Catholic.
If Obama wants to make peace with Catholics, he can begin by respecting the conscience rights of Catholics and allow for a real religious exemption. I don’t want to sound greedy, but if he really likes Catholic schools that much, perhaps he can pivot and endorse school vouchers. A lot of African Americans who struggle to send their kids to Catholic schools would deeply appreciate it.