The Washington Post is reporting this morning about a “contentious battle” emerging between Catholic groups and the Obama administration over a multitude of issues ranging from Obamacare, abortion, contraception, to even human trafficking.
What brought the fracas tumbling out into the street was apparently a decision by the Department of Health and Human Services three weeks ago not to renew a grant to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to aid victims of sex trafficking. A five-year, $19 million grant, which expired in March, was first awarded to the USCCB in 2006 via President Bush’s faith based initiatives program.
[S]enior political appointees at HHS awarded the new grants to the bishops’ competitors despite a recommendation from career staffers that the bishops be funded based on scores by an independent review board, according to federal officials and internal HHS documents.
That prompted a protest from some HHS staffers, who said the process was unfair and politicized…. Their concerns have been reported to the HHS inspector general’s office.
Under HHS policies, career officials usually oversee grant competitions, and priority consideration is given to the review board’s judgment….
A bone of contention with the Obama administration, which it admitted, was the bishops’ refusal to refer sex trafficking victims for contraception or abortion. HHS went on to split a new $4.5 million grant between three organizations that all scored “significantly below the Catholic bishops’ application by the review panel,” according to WashPo. Their threads of similarity were support for contraception and abortion.
Now the bishops are threatening to sue for anti-Catholic bias.
Contraception is a bone of contention on another issue. In August HHS issued a mandate forcing private insurers to cover contraceptives with a “far too narrow” religious exception, according to Catholics.
Someone I’d really like to hear from on right now is Doug Kmiec, the infamous Catholic law professor who endorsed Obama for president in 2008. As recently as June Kmiec said he was “98 percent” sure he would endorse Obama in 2012.
[Top photo via The Washington Examiner; bottom photo via WashPo]