And thus, the word came forth from Sebelius decreeing the exact criteria required (a) to meet her definition of “religious” and thus (b) to qualify for a modicum of independence from newly enacted state control of American health care, under which the aforementioned Sebelius and her phalanx of experts determine everything — from who is to be covered, to which treatments are to be guaranteed free of charge.Think of that. A government bureaucrat in Obama's administration can determine what exactly is a religious institution, not the religions themselves.
Criterion 1: A “religious institution” must have “the inculcation of religious values as its purpose.” But that’s not the purpose of Catholic charities; it’s to give succor to the poor. That’s not the purpose of Catholic hospitals; it’s to give succor to the sick. Therefore, they don’t qualify as “religious” — and therefore can be required, among other things, to provide free morning-after abortifacients.
Criterion 2: Any exempt institution must be one that “primarily employs” and “primarily serves persons who share its religious tenets.” Catholic soup kitchens do not demand religious IDs from either the hungry they feed or the custodians they employ. Catholic charities and hospitals — even Catholic schools — do not turn away Hindu or Jew.
Their vocation is universal, precisely the kind of universal love-thy-neighbor vocation that is the very definition of religiosity as celebrated by the Gospel of Obama. Yet according to the Gospel of Sebelius, these very same Catholic institutions are not religious at all — under the secularist assumption that religion is what happens on Sunday under some Gothic spire, while good works are “social services” properly rendered up unto Caesar.
That fit with the Obama administration's argument in the recent case, Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC. The position that Obama's Justice Department took in that case was that the government could determine who exactly had a ministerial function in a religious institution. The Supreme Court unanimously rejected that position. But the same hubris that led Eric Holder to take that position is an exact reflection of Kathleen Sebelius's position that she has the power to determine what a religious institution is.
And that hubris extends further. Barack Obama decided that he has the authority to determine when the Congress is or isn't in recess.
For the mindset that believes that Christianity mandates the power of the government should be conscripted to enact liberal policies and that gives them the authority to assert whatever they want, nothing is beyond the power of Obama's administration. Of course, if a Republican were president, they'd suddenly rediscover the wisdom of checks and balances. Until then, their power should be unchecked. Or so they believe.