Ross Douthat's op-ed, "Government and its Rivals" picks up on Jonathan Last's theme in my post below and accurately frames Obamacare's assault on the Church within the context of liberals' war against communities and aspects of the civil society which are not either liberal or pet agencies of the government.
WHEN liberals are in a philosophical mood, they like to cast debates over the role of government not as a clash between the individual and the state, but as a conflict between the individual and the community.
Critics of the administration's policy are framing this as a religious liberty issue, and rightly so. But what's at stake here is bigger even than religious freedom. The Obama White House's decision is a threat to any kind of voluntary community that doesn't share the moral sensibilities of whichever party controls the health care bureaucracy.
Douthat has also quoted and responded to his critics on the issue in a rejoinder titled, "Liberals and Catholic Hospitals."
It is impossible to speak intelligently on this subject without confronting the practical issues and principles raised in these two articles (and several of the articles to which they link).
Obama's attempt to weaken and destroy Catholic institutions is both morally and socially repugnant. On the first prong, he is abusively employing the power of the government to force liberal social policies on private groups (whose "diversity" and liberty is apparently of little value to Obama). Secondly, the result of Obama's campaign would be to weaken America's social services for the poor and needs, who are presently served in large numbers by Catholic charitable institutions. It is no coincidence that liberal policies are both unprincipled and socially harmful.