The Fight for Religious Freedom

I recently came across two excellent articles on the federal lawsuit against the HHS mandate that I thought it was worth sharing.

Mary Ann Glendon, professor at Harvard Law School, wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal about the attack on religious organizations.

Here is an excerpt from her article:

Along with leaders of other faiths who have conscientious objections to all or part of the mandate, they hoped to persuade the government to bring its regulations into line with the First Amendment, and with federal laws such as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that provide exemptions to protect the conscience rights of religious institutions and individuals.

On Jan. 20, however, HHS announced it would not revise the mandate or expand its tight exemption, which covers only religious organizations that mainly hire and serve their co-religionists. Instead, the mandated coverage will continue to apply to hospitals, schools and social service providers run by groups whose religious beliefs require them to serve everyone in need.

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.

You can read the whole story here.

The second article I came across is written by George Weigel from the National Review Online. Mr. Weigel also argues that the HHS mandate violates the freedom of religion.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

This is not an argument about birth control, nor is it part of some “War on Women” waged by misogynistic clerics and their political allies from the fever swamps of the Right. The mandate is being legally challenged, in twelve different federal district courts, on the grounds that it violates the provisions of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment’s guarantee of the free exercise of religion. If those legal protections mean anything, they must mean that neither religious institutions nor individuals can be compelled to provide “services” that are readily available through means other than coercing religiously informed consciences. Contraceptives are more readily available in the United States in 2012 than either cigarettes or beer. There is no compelling public need to dragoon institutions and individuals who conscientiously object to providing them into doing so — with the threat of ruinous financial penalties if they do not.

This argument over the meaning of religious freedom was not initiated by the Catholic Church; it was initiated by an administration that seems to regard “religious freedom” as merely a privacy right to certain kinds of recreational activities (like worship). As in its international human-rights policy (which speaks exclusively of “freedom of worship”), the administration seems unwilling or unable to grasp an elementary truth: Religious convictions are community-forming, and those communities, like the individuals whose conscientious convictions form them, are the subject of genuine religious freedom.

Click here to read the whole article.

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10 Responses to “The Fight for Religious Freedom”

  1. John Runyon says:

    SORTJohn Runyon
    RANT OF THE DAY: The Obama administration reached a compromise in the New health care law that is currently the law in 28 states and the Catholic Church has not taken the position that those 28 states have infringed on their religious freedom. BUT they are now suing sayng their relgious freedom has been violated by the Obama compromise. SO what is now different. Nothing!!! Why don’t we just let… the Catholic Church run our government? I am getting tired of that Church trying to impose their arcane beliefs on the nation. We don’t see Methodist Bishops negotiating with Congress on new Laws. What is wrong with this picture??? The government has given the Catholic Church a pass on pedophilia. IF their Bishops were school officials they would be in jail for fostering an environment for molestors to thrive. I am not afraid of Sharia Law but have real concern about Canon Law.

  2. Dear Cardinal Dolan,
    I thought you would appreciate the following,
    it gets to the essence of the HHS mandate, and to
    liberal philosophy in relation to conservatism in general.
    The essay is superb and deserves much wider recognition.

    Quoting Aurel Kolnai, John Hittinger writes:
    “The liberal state must destroy the very thing that gives it balance and sanity; the “liberal conception of society” cannot support and sustain liberty “except in a precarious and self-contradictory fashion” because it must rely on conservative values “unofficially tolerated yet continually harassed, and eaten away, by the immanent dialectic, the law of evolution, of liberal democratic society as such”. From ‘Aurel Kolnai and the Metaphysics of Political Conservatism’, by John Hittinger, in his ‘Liberty, Wisdom, and Grace’ p. 181.

    Take care,
    Joseph Librizzi

  3. Lawrence Morton says:

    Shame on you!
    On May 21, 2012 I listened to Cardinal Dolan state that because of the birth control controversy you may stop providing help to the poor, I am horrified. There is no equivalency and no justification in scripture or common decency for this statement. Have you no shame?


    Lawrence Morton

  4. Floyd Gingrich says:

    “When they came for the Catholics . . . .”

  5. I am so very proud of my Church for these suits that have been filed. A stand was clearly called for to protect our liberty to practice our faith. I liken these mandates to the money changers and we know what happened to them.

  6. HH Ambrose says:

    It is great to see that Holy Mother Church will “not go gentle into that good night.” Deo Gratias for you Cardinal Dolan and all others who are working to preserve the good work of the Church.

    Kissing the Sacred Purple.

  7. Maureen says:

    Cardinal Dolan,
    Just heard your interview on CBS with Charlie Rose concerning this issue. Brilliant as always! God Bless You! Our family is praying for you, and the many brave bishops and leaders speaking out.

    Praying for your continued strength, wisdom and charity.

  8. Linda Dailey says:

    The True Prophet
    Madeleine L’Engle

    How do we tell the false prophet from the true prophet? The true prophet seldom predicts the future. The true prophet warns us of our present hardness of heart, our prideful presuming to know God’s mind. And the final test of the true prophet is love. God came to us as Jesus because of love….
    We must be careful in our right and proper protests…that we are protesting truly, that we are not being false prophets fearing only for our own selves, our own families, our own country. Our concern must be for everybody, for our entire fragile planet, and everybody on it…. Indeed, we must protest with loving concern for the entire universe. A mark of the true prophet in any age is humility, self-emptying so there is room for God’s Word.


    A Stone for a Pillow

  9. dan szymanski says:

    When is the Church going to stop being fashionable and call out these hypocritical Catholic politicians who openly support abortion and continue to receive communion. I think this is hypocritical of the Church by not defending these principles and weakens your position on the HHS mandate which by the way these politicians support.

  10. Patrius Americanus says:

    The HHS mandate is not just a Catholic, or religious freedom issue, it is a totalitarian abuse of power which usurps freedom of choice for ALL Americans, and interferes with our American free-enterprise system.

    It is merely one facet of a progressive socialist program which is carefully and deliberately designed to achieve its agenda to replace religion and faith in God with dependence upon big government.

    Once progressive agendas are achieved, churches will be under attack next.

    It is time for ecumenical cooperation to use the power of the pulpit to educate and unite religious, ethnic, and cultural groups against progressive tyranny before the Pied Piper of Pennsylvania Avenue uses his bully pulpit to unleash the full force of the federal government.

    They must do so now, before it is too late.

    The following article (by a non-Catholic!) is an appropriate description of the abuse of power by the present administration: