Unless you've been living under a rock the last few weeks you're probably aware that President Barack Obama, once again displaying a stunning lack of insight, has picked a fight with the Catholic Church.

His secretary of Health and Human Services, our former un-esteemed governor Kathleen Sibelius, told the church a few weeks ago they had one year to get ready to start providing birth control, sterilization procedures (such as a vasectomy) and the morning after pill RU486 - which many regard as an abortion pill - to all their employees for free, as part of the so-called health care "reform" he shoved down our throats a couple of years ago.

That this violated any number of the Catholic Church's basic tenants was neither here nor there so far as the administration was concerned - the law says they have to do it.

Apparently they underestimated the explosion this would cause as the hue and cry has been all but non-stop, not just from Catholics, but from other denominations as well.

So last week the president offered a "compromise." Churches wouldn't have to offer the services to their employees, but they would have to pick an insurance company which would.

Which is a distinction without a difference.

Apparently in the alternate universe in which most liberals live this actually made some sort of sense. I have noticed over the years appearance is all that seems to matter to most liberals. In their minds churches could say "well, we're not the ones actually providing the pills so it doesn't matter."

The problem here is that to people who stand on actual, you know, principles, appearance isn't what matters - reality does.

Imagine Obama's surprise when he discovered the church wasn't about to back down and is threatening legal action if he doesn't back down himself.

What's really amazing here, to me, is that the administration is so out of touch, that in what promises to be a tough election year, he picks a fight with the single largest Christian denomination in the world - and has managed to unite Catholics and Evangelical Christians.

I hate to say Obama is anti-religion, but one starts to wonder. There has been a relentless assault on people of faith in this country for decades - and this is just the latest affront.

What's frightening here, is that the president and his cronies really don't seem to understand they are challenging our basic freedoms.

This is bedrock part of the First Amendment "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ..."

Forcing Catholics to do something which is strictly forbidden by their faith would seem to violate the free exercise clause. Not that it matters, I suppose, as this administration doesn't really seem to care about any of the Constitution.

Recall that Obama famously said "Generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can't do to you. Says what the Federal government can't do to you, but doesn't say what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf."

It would seem to me that federal and state governments already have plenty of power to do unto us, and Obama here was literally speaking about what a tragedy it is the Constitution limits the power of government. This attempt to force churches to violate their consciences is just one more power grab in a presidency replete with them.

All IMHO, of course.

(Patrick Richardson is the managing editor of the Cherokee County News-Advocate. He can be emailed at pat.richardson@sekvoice.com. Comment on this and other articles at www.sekvoice.com.)