Pres. Obama’s Axelrod says Catholics should SHUT UP AND COMPLY.

From WaPo and AP I just learned that Pres. Obama’s campaign director David Axelrod has said something revelatory about the administration’s ultimate goals.

Obama’s senior political adviser urges all sides in birth control fight to ‘lower our voices’  [Get that?  It’s time for Catholics to shut up.]

By Associated Press, Updated: Tuesday, February 7, 8:15 AM

WASHINGTON — A political adviser to President Barack Obama said Tuesday the administration didn’t intend to “abridge anyone’s religious freedom” [B as in B.  S as in S.] with its regulation requiring church-affiliated employers to cover birth control for their workers.

“This is an important issue. It’s important for millions of women around the country,” said Axelrod, the political adviser to Obama’s re-election campaign. “We want to resolve it in an appropriate way and we’re going to do that.[I think their “appropriate” and mine might be widely divergent.]

Roman Catholic leaders have assailed Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for the new rule, [NO AP! NO WaPo!  The Obama Administration has assailed the Catholic Church!] arguing that it tramples on their religious beliefs. Religious groups that oppose the regulation say that it forces people of faith to choose between upholding church doctrine and serving the broader society.

[Watch this weasel language…] In an interview Tuesday broadcast on MSNBC, Axelrod said, “I’m less concerned about the messaging of this than finding a resolution that makes sense.” He noted that these institutions have roughly a year and a half to comply with the new regulation, saying “I think we need to lower our voices and get together.”  [Get that?  The resolution that “makes sense” to David Axelrod, and there is surely NO DAYLIGHT between what he says on this and what Pres. Obama thinks, is that Catholics had better SHUT UP AND COMPLY.]

At the same time, Axelrod acknowledged the dispute has caused a rift between the White House and the Roman Catholic Church.

“We have great respect for the work that these institutions do, and we certainly don’t want to abridge anyone’s religious freedom,” he said. But Axelrod also said the administration was struggling to strike a balance between a stance that “guarantees women the preventive care [The language is Orwellian.] they need” and one which respects the prerogatives of religious institutions.

“There are tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of women who work in these universities who are not Catholic,” he said. “The question is whether they’re going … to have the same access to basic preventive care.”  [In every interview, press release, White House statement, the language they must have polled to be adequately deceptive is “preventive care”.]

Axelrod said Sebelius had acted on a recommendation by the Institute of Medicine’s recommendation and that she exempted churches themselves from the rule. [“SHE exempted”?!?  SHE?] Asked if the White House had consulted religious leaders before acting, he replied, “The bottom line is, this was a decision made with the interest of the health of millions around this country in mind.[In other words, if they did, it didn’t matter one little bit.]

Axelrod accused Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney of seeking to “turn it into a kind of political football,” saying he considered Romney’s stance “ironic” because the former Massachusetts governor led a state that has a similar policy.  [Very clever.  He pivots away from the real problem, which is a clear violation of the 1st Amendment, to make objections in a partisan political issue.]

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. wmeyer says:

    Between the administration and the MSM, I’m afraid that honest coverage of this issue in the public will be exceedingly scarce. I note that in my parish, though the Abp’s letter was read on the first weekend, it was not read this past weekend. Surely this ought to be read at every Mass until the HHS decision is controverted? Otherwise, the dozing militant will surely return to their naps.

  2. Supertradmum says:

    I am very concerned about the propaganda machine Obama and Sibelius obviously had waiting in the wings. The double-speak and language of these masters of deceit will confuse some people. Father, you used the world Orwellian. And, guess who invented propaganda? Henry the VIII and his daughter Elizabeth I, using the English language and twisting it to their own advantage. Elizabeth is also the extender of the use, Edward II being the originator, of the Star Chamber. Such as statement as the following highlighted by Fr. Z shows the duplicity in the machine. “There are tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of women who work in these universities who are not Catholic,” he said. “The question is whether they’re going … to have the same access to basic preventive care.”

    This is all worse than I thought it would be at this stage. This is not good and indicates confusion will follow.

  3. jasoncpetty says:

    “We want to resolve it in an appropriate way and we’re going to do that.”

    Right, in October.

    Axelrod accused Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney of seeking to “turn it into a kind of political football,” saying he considered Romney’s stance “ironic” because the former Massachusetts governor led a state that has a similar policy.

    I agree with Father that this was a disingenuous ploy to shift attention. But let it serve as a remnider that Mitt “tu quoque” Romney can’t attack the President on the one issue on which the President’s most vulnerable and yet, in droves, people vote for him. If Romney’s the nominee, Obama is the luckiest man on earth.

  4. PostCatholic says:

    The construction I put on “lower our voices” is a call to talk things through instead of screaming past each other, not to “shut up.” I wonder, like you, if there’s any room to have such a discussion, but I don’t think anyone was being asked to “shut up.” Perhaps it’s entirely disingenuous, but I still don’t think it’s right to put words in the mouth of another.

    For the record: as a civil libertarian, I think the White House is wrong on the issue of religious liberties in this matter (the ACLU doesn’t agree with me). While I also think the bishops are wrong on the matter of birth control, I think they have a right to their wrongness.

  5. tcreek says:

    Make no mistake about this. This is a winning issue for Obama as he has a large majority of “catholic” voters on his side. He shows contempt for loyal Catholics and other Christians because he knows they would never support him no matter if he would rescind the directive. If he backs down, he loses more votes from the left than he gains from the right.

    Loyal Catholics are now reaping what bishops have sown for the last 40 years. “…the silence and even contradiction of some clergy regarding Church teaching on the issue is “incontestable.”

    90% of US Catholics Support Artificial Contraception.

    58 % of Catholics believe that employers should be required to provide their employees with health care plans that cover contraception.

    Priests have been ‘worse’ than silent on contraception, says canon law expert.

    Is Robert Moynihan correct in this editorial, awhile back, for Inside the Vatican?
    “Benedict is rallying his troops. He is trying to reunite all those factions and denominations and groups in the West that share common beliefs in the eternal destiny of human beings. … And so he is doing his best, in what seems perhaps to be the ‘twilight of the West’, to build an ark, centered in Rome, to which all those who share these beliefs about human dignity may repair.”

  6. kab63 says:

    I find it fascinating, in a train wreck sort of way, that the Obama admin would double down on this. Odds were better that they would back off, kiss and make up with the bishops, and then sneak something else by later when everyone was calmed down. Why are they choosing this hill to die on?

    Our bishops are doing great so far. I pray they continue.

  7. So, the Obama administration thinks that it is being overly generous by allowing Catholic parishes to not be forced to offer contraceptives and abortifacients to its employees. That covers how many people? Perhaps 3; the priest, the secretary, and the youth director. Every other “Catholic” institution constructed and paid for by millions of generous laymen over the past 300 years is now deemed “not Catholic enough” because they hire people who aren’t Catholic (which might itself be against the law) and serve those who don’t necessarily share that faith, such as the poor. St. Francis himself said to “Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.” Isn’t that what a Catholic hospital, nursing home, or school does? It shares the faith in words and works of kindness to those who are not necessarily already of that religion. This is what missionaries and Saints have done for the past 2000 years; started hospitals and schools which led people to Christ.
    To force Catholics to ignore one of the tenets of their faith because the government says so is wrong and unconstitutional. No one is telling Muslims they must serve pork to their non-Muslim guests or telling Jews that they are not allowed to purchase Kosher foods. At least not yet.

  8. amenamen says:

    Exactly where does Mr. Axelrod want to “strike a balance” with the Catholic Church?

    G.K. Chesterton once said:
    “If I am made to walk the plank by a pirate, it is vain for me to offer, as a common-sense compromise, to walk along the plank for a reasonable distance. It is exactly about the reasonable distance that the pirate and I differ. There is an exquisite mathematical split second at which the plank tips up. My common-sense ends just before that instant; the pirate’s common-sense begins just beyond it.” (What’s Wrong with the World)

  9. benedetta says:

    Who else feels icky about his use of the royal ‘we’?

  10. taad says:

    We are dealing with a communist in David Axlerod. Just research his family history. Wiki does not cover this, but if you research deeper you find it. He is every bit as good as PRAVDA was in the Soviet Union. They dodge questions and turn things around. He’s good at that.

  11. Why are we surprised by all the rhetoric coming from the WH? They know that the Catholic vote is divided between those who go to church regularly and those who are at best cultural Catholics. He is banking on the the libs to follow the party mantra like Sebelius, Biden, and Pelosi. The only hope is that at election time Catholics, Evangelicals, Orthodox Christians, and Jews will vote as a block and unseat the current administration and their supporters in Congress. Unfortunately the GOP is not represented by their most articulate and committed pro-lifers. I shudder to think what the next 4 years has in store for us if the present administration is re=elected. God have mercy on us all.

  12. Long-Skirts says:

    Hieromonk Gregory said:

    “like Sebelius, Biden, and Pelosi.”


    For neurotic-psychotic
    “Attached” to the old,
    We give you a hireling
    To take care your fold.

    No need for the shepherds,
    Who seem so much keener,
    They’ll tempt you with dreams
    Of pastures much greener

    And say not to mimic
    Past, tolerant-barters,
    So heads were cut off,
    Who could dialogue with martyrs?

    The shepherds tell fables,
    ‘Bout a man, hated, hailed,
    Like you, just “attached”,
    Don’t believe He was nailed!

  13. Son of Trypho says:

    As I have suggested before the Church in the US really only has the nuclear option left – shut down the Catholic agencies (social/health/educational etc) that will be affected by this and tell the people why – the Government is forcing the Church to do something against its beliefs and rather than comply they have taken the next appropriate step.

    As far as I understand, the US Govt. wouldn’t be in a position to supply all of the lost services/jobs etc and would fold rather than face the chaos – esp. before an election.

  14. Jim Ryon says:

    Son of Trypho
    What you suggest won’t happen. The church won’t shut down its facilities, it will simply cancel its insurance plans. This would make Obama happy. It won’t occur until after the election and it will push the employees into a government plan. This will play right into his hands. I think his motivation is to move the country into a single payer insurance system, and this will just be the first step to that and socialized medicine for the US.

    I think the solution lies in mass demonstrations by Catholics. We could get millions marching on Washington with this issue.

  15. Son of Trypho says:


    You are probably correct – I’m not from the US so I can’t really suggest whether the option is realistic or not, it strikes me as the most drastic with the greatest possibility of effectiveness for political pressure.

    I’m sceptical of mass demonstrations – you will merely have counter demonstrations of enraged leftists led by supporters who identify as Catholic including dissident clergy/religious/nuns speaking out against Church authoritarianism/homophobia/sexism/corruption/excessive wealth etc – it would turn into a spectacle – and I suspect that when it comes to the crunch, more people (incl. Catholics sadly) will support the Dems than the Church on this one.

    You mustn’t forget that this fight has been picked to shore up the leftist base of the Dems/Independents who have been bitterly dissapointed with Obama’s first term (in that he hasn’t pushed their agenda far enough for their liking). Picking a fight with the Church – which represents just about everything that social democrats oppose – is political gold for his advisors – especially as they have calculated that the Church is so divided and weak to be unable to mobilise a threatening social/political resistance.

  16. wolskerj says:

    “Religious groups that oppose the regulation say that it forces people of faith to choose between upholding church doctrine and serving the broader society.”

    See how fair they are? They quoted the opposing side, not just the Obama stand-in. Well ok, it’s not a quote, it’s a paraphrase. And they’ve rephrased the objections of “religious groups” in such a way as to turn it what is really another argument for the HHS postition. I mean, come on, (narrow, rigid, selfish, irrational) “church doctrine” v. the “neeeeds of broader society” – that’s an argument the White House itself might have made.

    I guess this is what they mean by “balance.” No playing favorites amongst professional journalists these days. Both sides in a dispute have an equal chance to argue for the government position.

  17. robtbrown says:

    tcreek says:

    Loyal Catholics are now reaping what bishops have sown for the last 40 years. “…the silence and even contradiction of some clergy regarding Church teaching on the issue is “incontestable.”

    It goes back to the papacy of Paul VI, when Cardinal O’Boyle was told to reinstate the suspended priests who had publicly dissented from Humanae Vitae. This made it clear to priests and bishops that dissent would be tolerated. It also made it clear that vigorous defense of Catholic doctrine was no way for a cleric to act.

    The story goes that Cardinal O’Boyle told Rome that not backing him would reap disastrous consequences on moral theology in the US for the next 50 years.

  18. EXCHIEF says:

    “We could get millions marching on Washington over this” How about we SHOULD and MUST get millions marching on Washington over this. Not a fan of mass demonstrations? Well the left has certainly had good results with that approach. Occupy gets pretty much what it wants including the backing of this Administration—indeed, sponsorship by this regime. What have we got to loose? Pack the Capitol Mall. Even the MSM couldn’t ignore that for too long.

  19. EXCHIEF says:

    The “breaking news” out of DC is that the regime is going to cave on the HHS mandate. If so the Bishops and all Catholics need to remember that Obama is a pathalogical liar and any “modification” to buy off the Bishops and all religions impacted by this obamination will only be temporary. Obamacare, in spite of his deceptions includes abortion funding and includes “death panels”. He is a devil on a mission and he will not be permanently deterred unless he is defeated. My biggest fear at this point is if he “resolves” the issue the generally liberal Bishops will once again fall back on the social justice excuse for not opposing evil and, once again, a majority of catholics will vote for the Marxist.

  20. tcreek says:

    Who are the “political allies” of pro-life Catholics? Which groups share our values? Who votes for the pro-abortion candidate?

    83% of observant Evangelical Protestants voted for the pro-life candidate.

    80% of Hispanic and minority Catholics voted for the pro-abortion candidate.

    Do not dare mention the latter stat in mixed company unless you are impervious to vilification from all sides. Admit it — didn’t you consider, even just a little bit, that a racist must have posted that result. Truth is the big loser in our sharing, caring, touchy, feely modern age.

  21. Marcus de Alameda says:

    Tell a lie often enough over and over, and those who hear it will eventually consider it true.
    You can’t compromise with a state regime who doesn’t honor the truth of God.
    The marxist defines truth on the ability to prevail in argument on a moment to moment basis,
    not on the timelessness of God’s wisdom (todays truth is the same as tomorrow).
    The marxist ideologues are at war with Natural Law (the Tao ..per CS Lewis).
    We have learned forthright that these statists cannot be trusted – have we not? I applaud the bishops current protest but they must take it to the streets – to their flock – loud, persistent and clear – You are being deceived royally!

  22. Marcus de Alameda says:

    “breaking news” out of DC is that the regime is going to cave on the HHS mandate..”
    Foolish folly! Would you trust your children or loved ones to people of this ilk? It doesn’t matter what they spin, it’s pure pixie dust they serve up to blind the mice scurring about. Yes, they are that calculated and cruel with their intentions.

  23. StJude says:

    Perhaps Axelrod is right…
    This is our same church hierarchy that supported Obamacare..perhaps some quiet time in prayer is what they need. Reflecting on why they would smile at a man who happily supports the murder of innocents..
    The same Nun who has one of the pens used to sign that mistake should now just take the bitter pill.

    News flash Catholic hierarchy… when you make a deal with a shark to eat you last.. dont be surprised when he does in fact.. eat you.

    Pretty sad state of our church when the faithful lay Catholics (the ones that actually show up for mass) whose voice is never heard, saw this coming a mile away.

  24. Papabile says:

    Many people, including most staff at the USCCB, thought those of us were crazy when we asserted that if you gave this power to the government, they would wield it in a way that would be harmful.

    Now, if they can abridge freedom of religion, don’t you think they could abridge your rights in end of life decisions?


  26. EXCHIEF says:

    Now, if they can abridge freedom of religion, don’t you think they could abridge your rights in end of life decisions?

    Not could…will…if they can get away with it

  27. JMody says:

    Just remember the following:
    First, they’re socialist/Marxist in general philosophy. Religion is our opiate to them, and they will not rest until the State is seen by all to be the sole source of both benefit AND MEANING. Just look at the snide false choice between orthodoxy or “general benefit”.

    Second, they are craven political opportunists, so if they can reclaim their base by picking a fight, they will. And if it serves to advance their pet cause of socialized health care by driving everyone off the private rolls and on to government rolls, so much the better.

    Third, the left and the Revolution and the secularists and every other vermin like them hate nothing more than the Church. So naturally they were coming for us sooner or later. This won’t be the last.

    If they do organize good demonstrations, we need to do it in a different way, focusing on unexpected pressure points. Don’t occupy the Mall, occupy the NBC headquarters. Occupy the lobbies of the Congressional office buildings, or of the HHS offices. And instead of the nuclear option, try a few “test blasts” in the desert first. Send all new patients to the city hospital one day, the same day, from every Catholic hospital.

    And set up a cost-sharing co-op in each diocese. We don’t have insurance for our employees, we have a cost-sharing club, and it’s more affordable than insurance.

    And finally, have His soon-to-be eminence publicly excommunicate all “catholics” that voted for this, and Sebelius, and everyone that tries to give them Communion — they come to him for Confession and reinstatement. Can he impose an interdict on the capital?

  28. Gail F says:

    This is important: They’re not using “preventative care” because it polls well, they’re using it because it’s in the LAW. An amendment to the amendment (really) said that preventative care and screenings must be available without copays for children — AND WOMEN — in every insurance plan. All they had to do was label contraception, sterilization, and early abortion drugs “preventative care” and it HAS to be covered. It was on Jimmy Aiken’s site last week. Took about 15 minutes of research to find and read the two amendments. The part about women is one line in the second amendment. And we have 2000+ pages of this stuff.

    They’re doing contraceptives first because most women do use them for at least a while and “free” is attractive. Ditto sterilization — not most people, but a sizeable number. And IMHO they’re doing the Plan B, etc., because even many pro-life people have a vague feeling that taking a pill the day after a rape or having sex is not “really” an abortion, the way waiting until you are “really” pregnant is. You may argue otherwise but that’s the general view. “Real” abortion will come next.

  29. Dennis Martin says:

    Gail F. is right, citing Jimmy Aiken. Focusing on these particular HHS regulations is tactically unwise. They can promulgate, retract, promulgate, retract, before, after elections.

    As long as Obamacare exists in law, they hold all the cards. Obamacare gave enormous power to unelected bureaucrats. Obamacare and a host of other big government aggrandizements under Obama are the real problem. The HHS regulations are the effluent of Obamacare. We need to eliminate the source rather than merely clean up what flows out from the source.

    And far too Catholics, too many bishops clearly signaled that they liked Obamacare as long as it excluded abortions. Though warned, they bought the notion that federalizing health care would make things better. Instead, it shifted power from Congress to HHS and EPA and Commerce Department etc., turning their bureaucrats into legislators, e.g., Kathleen Sebelius.

    If Catholics would use this confrontation finally to come to terms with the deeper problem of making the State into our god and return to subsidiarity, this could be a turning point for the good.

    But so far everyone is focusing on getting these specific regulations overturned. The one who has the power to take back the regs is the one who issued them in the first place. Taking them back preserves the ability (and authority in law) to deploy them again and is meaningless. The unconstitutionality (and dehumanizing effect, according to Blessed John Paul) of giving bureaucrats the authority to issue such regulations in the first place has to be made the focus. Until that is done, we are still losing the war.

  30. Dennis Martin says:

    For clarity: I fully support every possible effort to overturn the specific regulations. I just wish that with every breath used to denounce the regulations everyone would equally point out and denounce the structural changes (Obamacare) that made the regulations even remotely possible.

  31. jcr says:

    a stance that “guarantees women the preventive care they need”

    Did anybody catch that? “They need”–not “want,” but “need.” Maybe his mother didn’t teach him the difference between want and need like mine did, but if he really means women need care to prevent babies, the next logical step would be supplying it to those who don’t want it or who are presumed to have turned it down solely on a religious basis.

  32. wmeyer says:

    I think David Axelrod should himself practice some quiet. Honestly, I cannot recall an administration which has made more noise, nor consumed more free prime time than this one. I remember thinking, in its first year, that O’s weekly (at least) performances in prime time were themselves making a measurable negative impact on the GDP, through loss of commercial revenues to the networks and stations.

  33. Supertradmum says:


    You made me laugh on this last comment of yours. And, do not forget the teleprompter.

  34. ivan_the_mad says:

    I think I’m qouting New Oxford Review here … by defining these things as preventative care, the Obama administration, and by extension the Institute of “Medicine”, have declared “pregnancy to be a disease, and fertility a pathological condition”.

    Perhaps, as far as being quiet, Axelrod should follow his own advice.

  35. schmenz says:

    It’s amusing to hear a pipsqueak like Mr Axelrod speaking as if from Mt Olympus that we must all settle down and be quiet, like good little boys and girls.

    Nevertheless the viciousness of the growing tyranny in Washington is going to be on full display sooner rather than later and it would be well for the Church in America to do everything it can, RIGHT NOW, to protect its funds by getting them out of US banks, and any other banks that work hand-in-hand with the government and who would be only to willing to “freeze” (aka “steal”) the assets of the Church if this gets as ugly as I believe it will.

    And the Bishops have got to keep on the attack, nonstop, 24/7, denouncing this tyranny. Up until now these Bishops have been a cowardly bunch of nonentities. Now that they seem to be awakening let’s get in there and support them, loud and clear.

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