If President Obama didn't already see a sea of red flags, a thunderbolt from Chris Matthews this morning should surely inform him that he has badly misstepped with his decision to force Catholic institutions to provide services that violate their religious principles
Appearing on Morning Joe, Matthews said that "even liberal Catholics are going to be proud" of Catholic leaders who stand up to Obama, and indeed that the Catholic response "may come to civil disobedience." Video after the jump.
Watch Matthews make a statement that, instead of a thrill up the leg, should send a shiver up the Obama spine.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: We've all been trained for this since the time we were kids, with the stories of Thomas Beckett and Thomas More and even the Maccabees. There will come a time when power will come to the Church and test us and say who are you with, your God, or the powers around you, the mundane powers of the earth? And whether it's King Henry VIII or King Henry II or the bad kings in the Old Testament who would force you to eat pork or you're going to be fried, or whatever. You have to make that choice.
We've all been trained for this and a lot of Catholics are going to rally to the Church and say good for those bishops; this is the first time I think they're standing up for something that I believe. That they have a right to tell us what's right and wrong. Not that we have to do it. We will disagree. We will practice our own American version of Catholicism, if you will. But we want them to have that right to say what they believe is right. This issue of birth control, and abortion, which they see here is an abortion issue, with IUDs and morning-after pills, because it has to do with what happens after conception--they believe they have a right, and they do, to tell us what they believe.
And the government is now saying you must put your imprimatur, you must take your hand to something you have told us forever is wrong. And they can't do it. And I tell you, as much strength as they show in this, the more I think even liberal Catholics are going to be proud of them. And this may come to civil disobedience. If they round up all the bishops and all the cardinals and put them in prison, I tell you, a lot of Catholics will say, you know what? I understand this issue. I get it why they're fighting.