Adding his voice to the chorus of episcopal outrage at the HHS contraception mandate, Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh accuses the Obama Adminsitration of telling the Catholics of the United States States to go to Hell. As in, to Hell with "your religious beliefs," "your religious liberty," "your freedom of conscience." And in the name of declaring pregnancy "a disease," and forcing "a culture of contraception and abortion on society," no less!
I actually don't think +Zubik is unaware that American Catholics are already part of the contraception culture. Not only do 98 percent of sexually active Catholic women use "artificial birth control" but also, 90 percent of American Catholics say they favor its use. It's possible, of course, that a lot of those pro-contraceptive Catholics resent the government requiring Catholic employers to include contraception in their employee health plans. (Now that this issue is on the table, I hope someone--hey Pew! hey Public Religion Research Institute!--will do a survey of American attitudes towards the mandate, by religious affiliation.) But pace Kevin Clarke over at In All Things (to say nothing of Michael Sean Winters at NCR), it's far from clear that HHS' decision to hold the line on the mandate will cost Obama a significant number of Catholic votes in November.
Be that as it may, the decision has given the bishops a golden opportunity to jawbone their contraceptively wayward flocks--and to pressure Catholic employers who have for years covered contraception in deference to state health coverage mandates and/or out of respect for the needs of their non-Catholic employees. It's another reason not to admire how the administration has handled this issue.