How can you diagnose when somebody is suffering from ideological obsession?
Consider the case of the Affordable Care Act. This law was supposed to provide for universal health insurance for all Americans. Yet the law is filled with exemptions, and the Administration has granted even more exceptions and exemptions as the implementation date for the law approached on New Year’s Day.
Here are just a few of the exemptions that were incorporated in the law itself: people who can’t afford coverage, even with a subsidy; people with income levels too low to require filing a federal tax return; members of certain Indian tribes; people who can claim a hardship; people who will have a short gap in their coverage; members of certain religious groups that conscientiously oppose insurance benefit programs (e.g., the Amish); members of a “health care sharing ministry”; people in prison; and people who are not lawfully in the United States.
In the last few months, with all the mess associated with the new health exchange websites, and all the other chaos associated with the law, the Administration has granted new exemptions: people whose plans were cancelled can get a plan that is not compliant with the ACA; people who weren’t able to comply because of difficulties in signing up for a new plan won’t be penalized; and large businesses with over 50 employees will not be fined for failing to provide any health insurance.
Now, many of these exemptions make perfect sense, and reflect a healthy degree of flexibility in the implementation of a very complex law.
So, what does this have to do with ideology? Well, despite all those other exemptions, waivers and extensions, one group has not been able to obtain an exemption, despite repeatedly asking for it, petitioning for it, and finally suing for it — religious organizations that have a moral objection to facilitating contraception, sterilization, and abortion, as would be required under the so-called HHS Mandate.
For these groups, there is no flexibility at all. There is instead an adamant insistence that they will have to cooperate, regardless of their deeply-held religious beliefs. The Amish get out of the law entirely, but when it comes to Catholic dioceses, schools and charities agencies, the government offers nothing except artificial and unsatisfactory “accommodations”.
Consider the absurdity of the government’s position. As pointed out by Archbishop Kurtz, the president of the U.S. Bishops, under the Administration’s current policies, large businesses will be able to completely eliminate any health insurance for their employees, with no fine at all, but religious organizations that refuse to cooperate with moral evil will be subject to crippling fines of $100 per day per employee. The government won’t even grant temporary respite while legal challenges are working their way through the courts. They can’t even bring themselves to give a break to the Little Sisters of the Poor, who spend their entire lives caring for needy elderly people.
Why is this? It’s not that hard to understand. The current Administration is entirely beholden to an ideology of sexual liberationism that considers contraception, sterilization and abortion to be “sacred ground”. They consider this ideology to be so central to life that they will brook no opposition, and will do whatever it takes to bring to heel anyone who opposes them.
That is an ideological obsession. It is dangerous to the souls of those who suffer from it, and it is dangerous to any society in which they wield power.