Jeb Bush became the latest Republican to accuse President Obama of attacking Catholics by relocating the U.S. Embassy to the Vatican. In a tweet sent out on Wednesday, the former Florida governor questioned if Obama closed down the Embassy as “retribution for Catholic organizations opposing Obamacare”:
Why would our President close our Embassy to the Vatican? Hopefully, it is not retribution for Catholic organizations opposing Obamacare.
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) November 27, 2013
Ironically, the process of moving the embassy from its current location to the compound at the U.S. Embassy to Italy began under Jeb’s brother, President George W. Bush, whose administration purchased the buildings. The new location is actually a tenth of a mile closer to the Vatican and the move will come with no reduction in staff or activities.
And as for Catholic organizations — many support the law and its requirement to provide birth control as part of a comprehensive health benefit package. For instance, the Catholic Hospital Association (CHA), a trade group of Catholic hospitals, endorsed health care reform and in July of this year announced that it is also satisfied with the administration’s contraception rule. Generally, a majority of U.S. Catholics say they believe religiously affiliated groups should comply with the mandate.
Under the rule, all houses of worship are exempt from providing birth control. Should a nonprofit religiously affiliated organization like a Catholic college or hospital objects to offering birth control, the insurance company will be required to provide the coverage free of charge and the employer will not pay for it. Next year, the Supreme Court will consider a challenge to the rule from for-profit organizations claiming that the requirement undermines the First Amendment’s “free exercise clause.”