"It's Morning-after again in America," as President Obama opens his re-election campaign by dividing Americans on religious as well as class lines.
The Obama First Amendment Rewrite 2.0 landed with a thud among the Roman Catholic bishops, who again find themselves stunned by the brazenness of the president's breach of faith with people of faith.
Of course, the new version of the attack on the free-exercise rights of Catholics won back the Washington Post's E.J. Dionne and Sister Mary Hospital Association, while garnering a standing O from Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Serious analysts quickly dismissed the president's announcement as the obvious ruse that it is, and the joint statement by five leading constitutional scholars, including Harvard Law professor Mary Ann Glendon and Princeton professor Robert George, provided the instant clarity that the bishops' commitment to collegiality among themselves could not quickly issue, even as Obama scrambled to use the willing Manhattan-Beltway media elites to confuse and defuse the spreading revolt among Mass-attending Catholics.
Slate's Amanda Marcotte was at least candid with her column titled "Obama punks the GOP on contraception," though the headline ought to have substituted "Catholics" for GOP."
Months ago I had agreed to broadcast this past Friday's program from Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, Calif. The college is completely committed to the church's Magisterium and to a "great books" curriculum, and is this year celebrating the 40th anniversary of its founding.
Thomas Aquinas College is a place of extraordinary beauty and seriousness, and overflowing with wonderful students and faculty. My visit coincided with one of the rare days when everyone on the campus of 355 students was preparing for the two-hour evening seminar on the section of Aquinas' "Summa Theologica" on lying.
Many of the students in the seminar I observed were moving back and forth from the Latin to the translation, with a few not persuaded of the translator's accuracy. It is a very different place than most college campuses.
The students had been anticipating the "On Lying" seminar for some time, so they were thus well-prepared for the president's absurd, indeed preposterous, announcement that he had "compromised" on the demand that religious institutions provide "morning-after" abortifacient pills, sterilization and birth control.
It doesn't take a philosopher to understand you cannot "compromise" with people you haven't negotiated with, and the president, of course, hadn't consulted, much less bargained, with the bishops.
Even more to the point, the Roman Catholic Church doesn't "compromise" on its core teachings, and the Constitution protects the church and all other churches in this "first freedom."
Every member of the Thomas Aquinas community I spoke with on air and off -- faculty, staff, students and a trustee -- was certain that the college could not and would not comply with the "new new" rule put forward by the president.
They all instantly recognized the college would be subsidizing the practices its entire community views as "intrinsically evil."
The founders of the institution did not sacrifice to build, nor the faculty to teach at nor the student to attend, an institution that would bend to the state because a hard-left president decreed that it must.
It would be useful for the Manhattan-Beltway media elites so fundamentally confused by intensity of opposition to the president's double-down-diktat to decamp to Thomas Aquinas College or one of the hundreds or even thousands of similar institutions -- Catholic and Protestant -- across the land that live by eternal truths and not Gallup or the editorial pages of the New York Times.
Then they might have a clue why the president has forfeited the election.
Examiner Columnist Hugh Hewitt is a law professor at Chapman University Law School and a nationally syndicated radio talk show host who blogs daily at HughHewitt.com.