Timothy Cardinal Dolan of New York took his case against the Affordable Care Act’s new rule requiring insurers and employers to provide preventive care services — including contraception — at no additional cost to Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly. The Catholic Church is fighting the requirement against the tide of public opinion and despite being specifically exempt from providing birth control to its members.
Dolan pulled no punches, however, going so far as to imply that the requirement would undermine the “American enterprise” and spread “secularism” throughout the nation:
DOLAN: You’re a better historian than I am Bill, you know that every great movement in — in American history has been driven by people of religious conviction. And if we duct tape the churches — I’m just not talking about the Catholic Church — if we duct tape the role of religion and the churches and morally convince people in the marketplace that’s going to lead to a huge deficit a huge void. And there are many people who want to fill it up, namely a new religion called secularism, ok, which — which would be as doctrinaire and would consider itself as infallible as they caricature the other religions doing.
So to — to see — to see that morally-driven religiously-convinced people want to exercise their political responsibility, I think that is not only at the heart of biblical religion, it is at the heart of American enterprise.
But since most Americans — and Catholics — reject the Church’s teachings against contraception, Dolan is fighting an uphill battle that will persuade only the most ardent Catholic conservatives. It’s a reality he recognizes, telling O’Reilly, “It’s a tough battle because of that and our opponents are very shrewd because they’ve chosen an issue that they know we don’t — we’re not very popular on.” “[E]ven our — even — even very faithful Catholics, Bill, don’t like their bishops or priests telling them how to vote, a person or even on a particular issue.”