Why would President Barack Obama choose to infuriate both America’s Catholics and Southern Baptists during an election year?

“It seems that Obama, in a classic act of hubris, has created the means of his own destruction,” writes conservative commentator J.R. Dunn in the American Thinker.

President Obama

“Chris Matthews on MSNBC recalled the other night that we Catholics grew up watching A Man for All Seasons in which Thomas More refuses to violate his conscience and is beheaded for it by Henry VIII,” writes liberal columnist Michael Sean Winters in the Daily Beast. “Obama has struck a deep chord in our culture, one he may not have recognized, which is damning in itself.”

Across America on Sunday, Feb. 12, Catholic church bulletins included statements from theU.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website alerting the 77.7 million members of America’s largest denomination – which makes up an estimated 22 percent of voters – that “Never before has federal law forced citizens to purchase what violates their deeply held beliefs and ethical convictions.

“But now the Administration is forcing us to act as if pregnancy were a disease to be prevented at all costs. For many Americans, that means choosing between violating our consciences and forgoing health care — literally an unconscionable dilemma.”

During Sunday’s services, parish priests nationwide included in their prayers for the sick and shut-ins an extra line that the Lord would cause President Obama to change his mind.

What had their passions so inflamed?

The Obama  administration has ordained that all health insurance

plans in the United States must cover sterilizations and all FDA-approved contraceptives, including those that cause abortions. The response surely was not anticipated by Administration officials.

“We need more than rule-making, we need a law,” reads thenational bishops’ website — quoted in many inserts in U.S. church bulletins and explained to parishioners at the end of Sunday’s services. “Our country’s longstanding laws protecting conscience rights must now apply fully to the implementation of health care reform.”

And it’s not just Catholics who are alarmed.

Dr. Richard Land, one of the most influential evangelical leaders in the United States, says “Christians should go to jail rather than comply with the Obama administration’s mandate to provide all contraception, including abortion-inducing drugs, in their health care plans,” reports Ben Johnson writing for LifeSiteNews.

Dr. Richard Land

Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, told Johnson, “we will not comply” with the Dept. of Health and Human Services’ mandate requiring religious institutions to cover abortion products such as Plan B, Ella, and the IUD.

“We want the law changed, or else we’re going to write our letters from the Nashville jail, just like Dr. King wrote his from the Birmingham jail,” Dr. Land said.

Dr. Land, writing an opinion piece on the Baptist Press website with Southern Baptist leader Barrett Duke, called on his fellow Southern

Baptists and evangelical Christians throughout America to oppose the Obama rules.

The Southern Baptists are the nation’s second-largest denomination with 16 million members.

“The Obama administration has declared war on religion and freedom of conscience,” Land and Duke wrote. “We consider this callous requirement by the Obama administration to be a clear violation of our nation’s commitment to liberty of conscience and a flagrant violation of our constitutional protection to freedom of religion.”

Land told LifeSiteNews he hopes Baptist ministers will “preach from the pulpit just how serious and dangerous this initiative by the Obama administration is,” and “encourage their parishioners to contact their congressmen and their senators and the president and let them know how deeply unhappy they are with this decision, and they want … legislation guaranteeing that it won’t happen again.