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Religious Liberty at Grave Risk — “We’re All Catholics Now”

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Religious Liberty at Grave Risk — “We’re All Catholics Now”

May 23rd, 2012 2:46 amAuthor: Vic Lundquist

How often have you heard of a church bringing a lawsuit against the President of the United States? It has happened, but certainly not often. This week it was not just any church that brought suit against the Obama administration — it was the Roman Catholic Church no less! I honestly believe that Mr. Obama couldn’t care less if his signature health plan seriously erodes religious liberty in extraordinary ways. I doubt that Mr. Obama wanted to energize religious voters against him, but he has done it.

Photo: Associated Press

Fascinating it is to observe the Obama administration’s trampling of centuries honored religious liberty under the guise of “women’s rights.” The Wall Street Journal carried three excellent articles on this unprecedented move by the Catholic church; one was on the front page of the printed version yesterday — Catholics Sue Over Health Mandate:

The University of Notre Dame, the Archdiocese of New York and 41 other Roman Catholic institutions sued the Obama administration in federal court Monday, the latest push against a requirement in the health-care-overhaul law that employers cover contraception in workers’ health plans.

The lawsuits were brought in a dozen different jurisdictions in the U.S., and plaintiffs included the Catholic University of America and archdioceses serving Dallas, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Washington, D.C.

“The government…cannot justify its decision to force Notre Dame to provide, pay for, and/or facilitate access to these services in violation of its sincerely held religious beliefs,” Notre Dame’s lawsuit argues. “If the government can force religious institutions to violate their beliefs in such a manner, there is no apparent limit to the government’s power.”

Consider the centuries old traditions of Catholics and their families.

The plaintiffs object to a provision that requires most employers to cover all preventive health services including contraception as part of their insurance policies, without out-of-pocket costs for consumers. Sterilization was one of the methods of birth control included, as was the so-called morning-after pill.
“We have tried negotiation with the administration and legislation with the Congress—and we’ll keep at it—but there’s still no fix,” said Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “Time is running out, and our valuable ministries and fundamental rights hang in the balance, so we have to resort to the courts now.”
“We do not seek to impose our religious beliefs on others; we simply ask that the government not impose its values on the university when those values conflict with our religious teachings,” he said.
That law says the government can “substantially burden” people in practicing their religion only if it can show that there is a “compelling governmental interest” and that its policy is “the least restrictive means of furthering” that interest.

An Op-Ed piece appeared in yesterday’s Journal as well: Why the Bishops Are Suing the U.S. Government:

Like most Americans, the bishops have long taken for granted the religious freedom that has enabled this nation’s diverse religions to flourish in relative harmony. But over the past year they have become increasingly concerned about the erosion of conscience protections for church-related individuals and institutions. Their top-rated program for assistance to human trafficking victims was denied funding for refusing to provide “the full range of reproductive services,” including abortion. For a time, Catholic Relief Services faced a similar threat to its international relief programs.The bishops fear religious liberty is becoming a second-class right.
Continued attempts to solve the problem by negotiation produced only an announcement by the Obama administration in February that insurance providers would pay for the contested services. Since many Catholic entities are self-insured and the others pay the premiums, the bishops’ concerns were not alleviated.
The main goal of the mandate is not, as HHS claimed, to protect women’s health. It is rather a move to conscript religious organizations into a political agenda, forcing them to facilitate and fund services that violate their beliefs, within their own institutions.

The media have implied all along that the dispute is mainly of concern to a Catholic minority with peculiar views about human sexuality. But religious leaders of all faiths have been quick to see that what is involved is a flagrant violation of religious freedom. That’s why former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Baptist minister, declared, “We’re all Catholics now.”

More is at stake here than the mission of all churches, including the Catholic Church, to provide social services like health care and education to everyone regardless of creed, and to do so without compromising their beliefs. At the deepest level, we are witnessing an attack on the institutions of civil society that are essential to limited government and are important buffers between the citizen and the all-powerful state.

If religious providers of education, health care and social services are closed down or forced to become tools of administration policy, the government consolidates a monopoly over those essential services. As Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, put it, we are witnessing an effort to reduce religion to a private activity. “Never before,” he said, “have we faced this kind of challenge to our ability to engage in the public square as people of faith.”

With this week’s lawsuits, the bishops join a growing army of other plaintiffs around the country, Catholic and non-Catholic, who are asking the courts to repel an unprecedented governmental assault on the ability of religious persons and groups to practice their religion without being forced to violate their deepest moral convictions.

A third article in the WSJ was published yesterday as well — Catholics in Court — The religious-liberty lawsuit against ObamaCare is historic:

[...]The nation’s most prominent Catholic institutions are saying that the same federal government they have viewed for decades as an ally in their fight for social justice is now a threat to their religious liberty.

This can’t have been an easy decision, especially because the plaintiffs are hardly founding members of the tea party. They include the Archdioceses of New York and Washington but also Catholic University in Washington, D.C., and even the University of Notre Dame.
So much for that. The lawsuit signals that far from engaging with “those who disagree,” Mr. Obama has rebuffed Catholic leaders in their attempt to work out a compromise over the Administration’s mandate that all insurance plans offer contraception and sterilization services, including abortifacients. . . .
The Department of Health and Human Services offered a fig leaf in February, foisting the mandate onto insurance companies rather than religious employers. [...] As Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York put it, this so-called “safe habor” effectively gives religious institutions “a year to figure out how to violate [their] consciences.”

The suit charges that the mandate violates the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause, as well as the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which requires that the federal government meet a higher legal standard for any law that interferes with religious liberty.
The real and startling question at issue is whether the entitlement state can pound everything, including religious belief, to its political will. Few previous Administrations would have dared such a high-stakes Constitutional battle, but Mr. Obama’s willfulness reveals the change that is taking place in liberal politics.

Once upon a time the political left viewed Catholics and especially the bishops as their allies in using government to create more equal opportunity and redistribute income. But today’s Democratic Party puts a higher cultural value on sexual politics and expanded reproductive freedom. We trust the courts will instruct the Administration that the Constitution still puts religious liberty first.

“Religious freedom is too sacred a right to be restricted or prohibited in any degree without convincing proof that a legitimate interest of the state is in grave danger.” ~ Frank Murphy

by on May. 23, 2012 at 4:57 PM
Replies (111-117):
by Ruby Member on May. 25, 2012 at 6:31 PM


Quoting mehamil1:


Quoting blondekosmic15:


Quoting rccmom:


Quoting blondekosmic15:


Quoting rccmom:

I still don't understand. The govt is not forcing any church to offer birth control. The Catholic Church is still exempt. Here in TX, our couple of local Catholic Colleges already offer birth control because they are colleges, NOT churches.

You are incorrect. The exemption fails to protect Catholic Institutions from being forced to offer contraception, sterilization procedures and abortifacients. If Catholic Colleges are providing bc than they are disobedient to Church teaching. A very grave sin!


No, I'm not incorrect, Catholic Churches are not being forced to offer birth control. I did not say Catholic Institutions. I am sure the colleges here that offer bc to their people are more than capable of reasoning out their behavior, along with the majority of Catholic women who all actually use birth control. My denomination does not feel it is a sin, so I don't worry about it. I don't consider it a sin, nor do I consider what the govt is doing as an assualt on the freedom of religion.   

You are incorrect. The moral conscience of the Catholic Church does not change according to personal opinion and the current times we are living in. The Church's teaching concerning contraception and abortion has been the same for more than 2000 yrs. Millions of Catholic women do not use bc nor do they support abortion which is vehemently against the Catholic Church's teachings. You mention your denomination, than you practice the teachings of your own Church. It's called religious freedom. If your particular Church embraces certain teachings and I was employed by one of their institutions, I would not try to tell them what to do. Arrogance on your part!

This made me chuckle. 

Since you left the Church I think I'll pass concerning your judgment. You may find morals and doctrines humorous but those who love and admire the Church would beg to differ with you. 1000's of martyrs thru out the Centuries have willingly given their life for Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. Do a lil' research. I have read & studied the CC since 1978. I was baptized Catholic and raised by 2 devout Catholic parents. A close friend of mine, a Priest, is my spiritual adviser.

I was raised Catholic. I was raised by Jesuits, the scholars of the Catholic Church. They don't take a vow of poverty. 

The vow of poverty in the Priesthood is deeply respected in the Church today. I have met many new young Priests coming out of the seminaries. They are more devout and strong in their faith and love for God.

The total prohibition of artificial birth control methods by the Roman Catholic church, declared by Pope Pius XI in his 1930 encyclical, Casi Connubii, was maintained by the 1968 Humanae vitae (the encyclical of Pope Paul VI), and constitutes the present day policy of the church. The Catholic position on contraception is highly influenced by the natural law theory of Aristotle, Augustine and Aquinas, which deems that sexuality has as its end purpose, procreation; to interfere in this end would be a violation of the natural law, and thus, a sin. This view is maintained by some Anglicans, Evangelicals, and Christian fundamentalist denominations as well. 

So much for 2000 years. 

Again I will pass considering your judgment and opinion. Obviously you do not respect the teachings and doctrines of the Church. This reflects in your comments and misguided assertions. Reproductive rights is a term used by pro-abortion advocates. The Church did not embrace certain moral teachings according to time in history. The Catholic Church has been consistent since the beginning. If you are not fond of her teachings, fine. Free will, but do not pretend you know better than the Church or God. I do not believe in Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam or many other religions but I'm certainly not goin' to bash them and distort their teachings. I may state my reasons why but I will not be disrespectful as you are. I chose Christianity and I love my faith. I will always defend this beautiful gift! I took a World Religions class in College. It was very interesting and awarded me a better understanding of the various Religions thru out the world.

Regardless of what the menfolk thought, women have been creative in limiting pregnancies since we figured out how to. These ideas were written out by men in order to control women. Women did not bring this about. Women in that time were little more than property and the children they had were also property of their fathers. That is the actual tradition of marriage. 

Words of a feminist who has lil' regard for men!? You confuse humility and love with suppression and control. The Virgin Mary was submissive and loyal to her spouse St Joseph because she trusted him and God. The Sacred Scriptures remind us....husbands be good to your wives, respect and love them. Wives be obedient and faithful to your husbands. The Holy Spirit works interiorly within the Church esp when faith and morals are concerned. Your perception of the Church and traditional marriage leaves the reader to believe you do not understand the intimate beauty of marriage, a partnership of love and respect between a man & a woman.

I don't know, I really don't care what this church or any church thinks or says is Gods law. They can shove it where the sun doesn't shine. I have one child and I refuse to have another. People have the right to control their own reproduction and it shouldn't be so stupidly expensive to do so. Religion can take it's opinions and throw them in the garbage. They have no say in this. 

With your attitude you will never understand the Truth about the Catholic Church or the moral precepts she has embraced for Centuries. God loves humility. What displeases him most is pride. Your opinions are your own...NOT the Church's.


by Gold Member on May. 25, 2012 at 6:42 PM

If for-profit Catholic run businesses who hire non-Catholic employees are forced to provide insurance that covers birth control etc (as many do now), what is the prediction?

Will Catholosicm just slide off the face of the planet?

I wasn't aware it was at that much risk.

by on May. 25, 2012 at 9:33 PM

You have a lot of issues..I don't even know where to begin. I don't really want to. 

I was raised Catholic, I do not consider myself anything now. 

All that you stated is weird. I wonder if you really believe it. My aunt is a Catholic nun and I don't think even she is that brainwashed. 

by Bronze Member on May. 26, 2012 at 9:23 AM

Does it not strike anyone as funny, in the non-haha sense, that this not only is a debate in a public forum, but that it's an issue that will go before the supreme court to be debated, people are out en masse demonstrating over it, articles like the OP have been written and circulated, and yet people are screaming "Religious oppression!".  Um...yeah.  There are real places in the world where people don't have the freedom to openly practice their religion.  This is not one of those places.  People challenging relgious ideas does not oppression make.

by Platinum Member on May. 28, 2012 at 5:32 AM
Quoting rachelrothchild:
Quoting sweet-a-kins:

The church thinks they are above the law 

Religion is above the law in some cases.  No church should be forced to obey a law that goes against its fundamental beliefs.

Reply in new thread:

Should Religion be above the law in some cases? spin-off

by on Jun. 5, 2012 at 12:11 PM

Fair point, but religion never actually does stay out of the government so it seems fair that the government be in religion. This entire thing is nuts in my opinion.

Quoting Mommy_of_Riley:

I think Notre Dame has a point...

Separation of Church and State. People want it all the time to keep religion out of government and now they want the government to stay out of religion...

by on Jun. 5, 2012 at 12:18 PM

My grandmother hates this lol. The catholic church speaking on behalf of al religions. She is Anglican and says the catholic church has started coming back into her conjuration. They now have communion and have to kiss their ministers ring. They are also encouraged to support the aforementioned catholicism against the government stance as their clergy now tells them they are holly catholic as opposed to roman catholic.  I am an atheist and thing this entire thing is insane.

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