In 2009, the University of Notre Dame bestowed an honorary degree on Barack Obama, praising the new president for â€œinspiring this nation to heal its divisions of religion, race and politics in the audacious hope for a brighter tomorrow.â€
In 2012, Notre Dame served the Obama administration with a very different piece of parchment â€” a lawsuit charging that the president is engaged in a â€œrepression of religious freedom [that] violates Notre Dameâ€™s clearly established constitutional and statutory rights.â€
What a difference three years makes.
Unless the Supreme Court invalidates Obamacare in its entirety this week, that lawsuit and the fight for religious liberty will almost certainly go forward. But regardless of how the court rules, President Obamaâ€™s attempt to use of his health-care law to divide American Catholics has backfired.
Some liberal Catholics have tried to portray the decision by 43 Catholic plaintiffsto sue the Obama administration over its contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drug mandate as a sign of the Catholic hierarchyâ€™s shift to the right. They dismiss the bishopsâ€™ â€œFortnight for Freedom,â€ launched this week, as a â€œFortnight to Defeat Barack Obamaâ€ launched over the objections of moderate and progressive Catholic leaders.
Thereâ€™s one problem with that: How do they explain the decision by Notre Dameâ€™s president, the Rev. John Jenkins, to sue Obama? A few years ago, the Catholic left was praising Jenkinsâ€™s courage for inviting Obama to Notre Dame over the protests of conservative Catholics. Now, suddenly, Jenkins is a tool of the Catholic right? [more]