From the first paragraph of Paul's magnificent post, below, "American Catholicism's Pact with the Devil":
"At the prospect that institutions associated with the Catholic Church would be required to offer to their employees health insurance covering contraception and abortifacients, the bishops, priests, and nuns scream bloody murder. But they raise no objection at all to the fact that Catholic employers and corporations, large and small, owned wholly or owned by Roman Catholics will be required to do the same. The freedom of the church as an institution to distance itself from that which its doctrines decry as morally wrong is considered sacrosanct. The liberty of its members – not to mention the liberty belonging to the adherents of other Christian sects, to Jews, Muslims, and non-believers – to do the same they are perfectly willing to sacrifice."
Needless to say, Paul's entire post represents a wonder of analysis, historical knowledge, compelling prose, and sheer righteous indignation But I found myself reading that opening paragraph--just that one paragraph--three times in a row, marveling.
The point Paul makes is vital. It is also, or should be, obvious: If it is wrong to force the bishops to violate their consciences, then it is surely just as wrong to force lay Catholics--or, as Paul remarks, Jews, Muslims, non-believers and members of other Christian denominations--to violate their own consciences. But I had never thought of that before.
Here I am, consciously attempting, in much of my life, to do my humble best on behalf of the ideal of liberty. Yet the slow, steady advance of the welfare state has so affected the whole intellectual and moral climate--has so affected my own thinking--that a truly fundamental point had simply failed to occur to me.
"To see what is in front of one's nose," George Orwell once wrote, "needs a constant struggle."
For so fiercely and untiringly engaging in that struggle, God bless Paul Rahe.
As for me? Mea maxima culpa.