We have principles and they don't

The latest issue of Catholic New York, our diocesan newspaper, features an "Editor's Report" column by editor-in-chief John Woods titled "A True Religious Freedom Fighter." It is an account of the Becket Fund's annual Canterbury Medal dinner, which this year honored "Kevin J. 'Seamus' Hasson, founder and president emeritus of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty." As Woods notes, the Becket Fund (a legal effort to protect religious liberty of all kinds) has taken on a number of lawsuits in protest of the HHS contraception mandate (Woods describes it as "requiring religious institutions to pay for abortion-inducing drugs"). The column is built around an interview with Hasson, and ends with his assessment of the dire situation for religious freedom in America today.

As he told me, the fight for religious freedom in America is nothing new. The difference is that today's skirmishes are no longer between "principled people fighting about what the principles should be." The current battle pits religious freedom versus "hardcore nihilism."

"It's certainly gotten much worse under the Obama Administration," he said.

And that's the end.

Hardcore nihilism! And Obama had so many people fooled with his "Yes We Can" attitude. That whole "extending health-care-coverage" effort certainly had me thrown off the scent -- it turns out the administration is not motivated by a set of principles that occasionally brings it into conflict with religious believers. It's worse than that: the Obama administration has no principles at all. Makes it very easy to pick a side when you look at it that way. Of course it also makes it awfully hard to convince anyone who doesn't already agree with you, but I guess you can't have everything.

Mollie Wilson O’​Reilly is editor-at-large and columnist at Commonweal.

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