this is not a Cafeteria.

Never in the history of worthy of Agape have I ever commented on political things because it simply isn’t my realm of expertise and there are normally about a million things I would rather talk about. That ends today.

Have you ever heard of the term “Cafeteria Catholics”? It is a term commonly used to describe Catholics who pick and choose which teachings of the Church they want to follow and which ones they do not. I may catch a lot of flack for saying this, but I would question whether Cafeteria Catholics are really Catholics at all. In fact, I’d probably call Cafeteria Catholics Protestant and I wouldn’t be that far off the mark. You see, Luther and Calvin picked and chose what they believed to be “truth” and went on their merry ways, they didn’t go around pretending to be Catholic. This isn’t to say that I don’t love my Protestant brothers and sister because I do, but they aren’t Catholic, and they don’t pretend to be.

There are things that the Church has taught that I have struggled to understand or profess over the years – to the point that I even considered leaving the Faith. I researched, I read, I questioned until I understood why she teaches what she does. My Faith isn’t something I take on lightly.

(sound familiar? Probably.)

Have you ever heard of the term “Cafeteria American”? Probably not because I just invented it. (or at least I think I did…let me dream my dream!) It is a term I use to refer to President Obama, Kathleen Sebelius, and any one else supporting the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) ruling that all religious institutions must provide contraception and sterilization free of charge in their health insurance coverage, or else face hefty fines. Make no mistake, there is no middle ground on this ruling. The HHS mandate says that either companies must provide FDA-approved contraception (including known abortifacients) or offer no health insurance at all, and that companies who fail to provide health insurance must pay hefty fines (a company employing 100 people would be forced to pay $140,000 annually. And yes, that is my Alma Mater). Why Cafeteria American? You can’t just pick and choose which laws and amendments you will follow and which ones you will not. That is against the law of the land, just as being a Cafeteria Catholic is against Catholicism.

You may not have heard of the term Cafeteria American, but I bet that at some point you’ve heard of the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances (emphasis mine).

In case you didn’t know, Catholics are, and have always been, against the use of contraception, abortifacients and sterilizations. The rule from the HHS flies in the face of the teachings of Mother Church. Giving religious organizations a year to “adapt” to this rule (gee, thanks, Kathleen Sebelius, herself a Catholic) does not, in any way, shape, or form, “strike the appropriate balance between respecting religious freedom and increasing access to important preventive services” (read the full statement here). As Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan said this delay in implementation means that “we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences.” (And since when is pregnancy a disease that needs to be prevented, practically at all costs?)

There are a myriad of things to be said about this issue (and if you are interested, I’ll link to a few articles at the end of the blog), but it all boils down to this: we are NOT in a cafeteria. If you are a Catholic, then the HHS mandate violates our own consciences and we cannot sit back and let the government force us to do so. If you are an American, then the HHS mandate violates the first amendment and we cannot stand for such a flagrant disregard for the laws of the land, the ideals set forth by our Founding Fathers. Either way, we aren’t in the cafeteria anymore. It is time to get out and stand for what it is that we believe in: religious freedom and the ability to follow our own well-formed consciences. It is time to stop picking and choosing what we believe in, it is time to take a stand.

And please, before Obama names himself Pope, sign the petition to rescind the HHS mandate.

Learn more about the issue from the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops).
Understand the flaws in the reasoning behind the HHS rule.
Discover why the HHS rule is a slap in the face for Catholics.
Stand with the Bishops who have spoken out against the HHR rule. Read their statements. Share their words.
Realize that it is only going to get worse as the Army silence Catholic chaplains from reading statements from their Bishop.
More on the debate between Obamacare and Catholics here.
Here’s another link because I’m so proud of Belmont Abbey College, my Alma Mater, for standing against the HHS rule.
Watch the video from Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, president of the USCCB. Share it.
Pray for Kathleen Sebelius and President Obama to come to an understand of the Truth, or, if nothing else, a respect for the true practice of religious liberty.

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