Monday, July 16, 2012

We Need More Voices to Stand Against the Obama HHS Mandate

Recently, on July 4th, America celebrated its independence – one built on upholding key foundations of liberty, such as our right to religious freedom. However, the recent Supreme Court decision to uphold the ACA means that the radical Department of Health and Human Services mandate will go into effect.
The mandate will force religious institutions to provide coverage for services that violate their faith has trampled on an ideal that we as a nation hold dear. The mandate has caused a serious rift between the Democratic Party and Catholics – of which I am both. Sadly, this unthinkable move threatens a long and proud relationship, one in which many Boston Democrats have been honored to be part of.

 In 1998, I was invited to the President Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Marist College in Hyde Park, New York, to participate in a two day conference about the role of Catholics during the World War II years. Many distinguished scholars, historians, journalists and political and religious people attended and participated in the remarkably informative conference. Much of what we discussed is now part of recorded history that has been written about extensively in numerous books and publications.
But one aspect of that FDR Library Conference which was most revealing to me was the extraordinary close political relationship that President Roosevelt had with Catholics and the Church. The closeness between the Democratic Party and Catholics was telling. Catholics were an important and significant part of the President and the Democratic Party’s political base in America at the time.
Arthur Schlesinger Jr., the prominent historian and advisor to the late President John F. Kennedy and I spent considerable time discussing this topic publicly and privately. We read speeches and papers that FDR had read and authorized in his name. We studied his close relationship with Edward Flynn and Jim Farley of New York City as well as so many other well-known Catholic political operatives. FDR spoke to them regularly and relied on them for advice. It was unthinkable for most Catholics not to vote the straight Democratic ticket. That’s exactly how I remember it growing up in Irish Catholic South Boston. We all knew of the close personal friendship that the Kennedy family had with our neighbor Richard Cardinal Cushing and so many other Church leaders. Especially in time of trouble to many Irish immigrant families in those days, it was both the Church and the Democratic Party who were always there to help, if needed. They were working for better and safer work conditions on the docks, medical care, educating kids and helping the poor. People in those days were loyal to the Church and the Democratic Party.


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