Catholic churches and Catholic-based social services groups have filed lawsuits throughtout America to defend religious liberty from President Obama’s mandate to pay for abortion-inducing, baby-killing drugs, in violation of official Church teachings. For the first time in American history, a President is trying to impose a narrow definition of “religious institution,” in order to implement a political agenda. The definition could force the closure of Catholic-based services organizations, such as AIDS clinics, schools, and hospitals. If successful, the mandate would serve as the template for Uncle Sam to define any religious organization as it sees fit, and dictate hiring, financial, and all organizational decisions.

All this is lost on Obama, who apparently sees his mission as telling the churches and all of the religions in the U.S. how to operate or face closure. Now he has created, out of thin air, a new constitutional standard for religious liberty. In an interview with a New Orleans TV station, Obama said it’s “not fair” for the Catholic Church to deny abortion-inducing, baby-killing drugs to its employees. Somehow this former professor of Constitutional law thinks that he can dictate a Fairness Doctrine on Catholics and any other church in America. Where did he make this up?

Our Founding Fathers must be rolling over in their graves. They knew that religious liberty was the reason why many left England, and in the First Amendment they defended the right of all faiths to practice in accordance with their own doctrines. And they practoced what they enshrined in law. The first Catholic Bishop in the U.S., John Carroll, was a close friend of George Washington and sought, at Washington’s request, to persuade the French to provide assistance to the colonies seeking freedom from England. And Washington, though not a Catholic, donated the first funds to build the first Catholic church in Alexandria, Virginia, near his home at Mount Vernon.

Fortunately, the Founders created a civil justice system and protected the right to seek justice before a local jury. Many of the Catholic groups have exercised that right, protected under the Seventh Amendment to the Constitution, to ask a local jury to hear their cases. They don’t want to entrust their precious, God-given right to a federal judge nominated by any President.