The White House today announced that President Obama is planning on buying Catholics a present to make them feel better in the aftermath of a an administration decision to require Catholic institutions to provide employees with free birth control.
“It will be a beautiful gift,” said Obama in an interview with Diane Sawyer, who looked on lovingly at the president as he described searching Amazon for something “meaningful and expensive.” Said the president: “I mean, it will be at least $25 so I can get the free shipping, but probably much, much more.”
Obama refused to reveal any details about the gift itself, even declining to say which Amazon category he will ordering from. “I want it to be a surprise,” he said.
Obama acknowledged he had underestimated how much Catholics care about their religion.
“My political adviser, David Plouffe, told me his polling had shown that people stopped clinging to their bibles in 2010,” Obama said. “I mean, I thought the small people had advanced in their thinking by now, after three years of listening to me. But I believe everybody has a right to live in the Dark Ages, and just to show I love them anyway, I’m getting them a gift.”
Obama apparently will not select the button on Amazon that would have the gift wrapped. A lucky Associated Press photographer photographed Michelle Obama Thursday shopping at Target for wrapping paper.
Meanwhile, an unusual coalition of Jewish, Muslim, Evangelical, gay and lesbian, transgender, Native American, and women’s groups vehemently condemned Obama’s plan to purchase a present of Catholics.
“Oh, so we don’t get a gift, is that it?” said the group’s spokeswoman, Arlene Quibblesworth. “Nothing for us? Can you imagine how we’re all going to feel when the Catholics are opening their gift and we’re just sitting there without anything? This is clearly establishment of religion, by the way.”
The White House signalled it was also ready to potentially relax some of the requirements of the new rule, or at least to give Catholic organizations a way to pretend they are not supporting birth control.
“We’re going to work out an arrangement with Catholics where they won’t have to compromise all of their principles – just some of them,” Obama told Sawyer.
In a conference call with reporters, a senior White House aide denied the arrangement would have any impact on the president’s determination that nothing should impede free love.
“The president is firm in his conviction that people must be allowed to have all the sex they want at the lowest cost possible,” he said. “This is an important Constitutional principle that was established in the 1960s by The Beatles. It supersedes nebulous concepts like the free exercise of religion, especially after a couple of drinks.”
The official, who declined to be named but who claimed to be supine while on the phone, added that the issue wasn’t just about the rights of women, but the rights of men as well.
“How can we tell all these studs who want to sleep with dozens of women that they should have to risk knocking one of them up?” he said.
A spokesman for the Vatican described White House efforts to placate Catholics as unsatisfactory.
“While we of course are looking forward to our gift, we continue to believe Catholic institutions should not be forced to pay for birth control,” he said.