Breaking: 43 Catholic institutions file suits over HHS mandate

posted at 12:01 pm on May 21, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Today’s Roman Catholic calendar lists May 21st as the feast day of St. Christopher Magallanes, a martyr killed for celebrating Mass during the Cristero War in Mexico. Perhaps Catholics today may want to recall St. Thomas More — the patron saint of lawyers, who was executed for refusing to agree to a mandate that gave Henry VIII the prerogative of defining religious expression in England.  Dozens of Catholic institutions filed lawsuits today against the Department of Health and Human Services over its mandate and its narrow definition of religious practice:

Catholic archdioceses and institutions filed suit in federal district courts across the country Monday against the so-called contraception mandate, claiming their “fundamental rights hang in the balance.”

The plaintiffs include a host of schools and organizations, including the University of Notre Dame and the Archdiocese of New York. The lawsuits, though related, were filed individually.

The schools are objecting to the requirement from the federal health care overhaul that employers provide access to contraceptive care. The Obama administration several months back softened its position on the mandate, but some religious organizations complained the administration did not go far enough to ensure the rule would not compel them to violate their religious beliefs.

Kathryn Jean Lopez posts a brief statement from Timothy Cardinal Dolan, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and one of the chief critics of the HHS mandate:

We have tried negotiation with the Administration and legislation with the Congress – and we’ll keep at it – but there’s still no fix. Time is running out, and our valuable ministries and fundamental rights hang in the balance, so we have to resort to the courts now. Though the Conference is not a party to the lawsuits, we applaud this courageous action by so many individual dioceses, charities, hospitals and schools across the nation, in coordination with the law firm of Jones Day. It is also a compelling display of the unity of the Church in defense of religious liberty. It’s also a great show of the diversity of the Church’s ministries that serve the common good and that are jeopardized by the mandate – ministries to the poor, the sick, and the uneducated, to people of any faith or no faith at all.

The institutions filing lawsuits don’t just comprise a few ultraconservative institutions, either.  The University of Notre Dame hosted a speech by President Barack Obama in 2009, but today insists that Obama and his administration are attacking religious freedom in their complaint:

This lawsuit is about one of America’s most cherished freedoms: the freedom to practice one’s religion without government interference. It is not about whether people have a right to abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception. Those services are, and will continue to be, freely available in the United States, and nothing prevents the Government itself from making them more widely available. But the right to such services does not authorize the Government to force the University of Notre Dame (“Notre Dame”) to violate its own conscience by making it provide, pay for, and/or facilitate those services to others, contrary to itssincerely held religious beliefs. …

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. Such an oppression  of religious freedom violates Notre Dame’s clearly established constitutional and statutory rights.

The First Amendment also prohibits the Government from becoming excessively entangled in religious affairs and from interfering with a religious institution’s internal decisions concerning the organization’s religious structure, ministers, or doctrine. The U.S. Government Mandate tramples all of these rights.

Franciscan University also filed suit, and its president Father Terence Henry published this video statement:

Noting that Franciscan University did not go looking for this battle, Father Henry said the University retained Jones Day, one of the world’s largest law firms, with whom the University has had a relationship for the past twenty years, “because it has the resources to fight the government as long as it takes, and we will settle for no less than a restoration of our First Amendment right to freedom of religion.”

Father Henry concluded, “Under no circumstances can Catholics be both in compliance with this new law and at the same time live the faith that we believe. Franciscan University will continue to stand with the Church in its opposition to this mandate. Our ancestors came to America because they knew that on these shores they would be free to faithfully live what they believed. This mandate is not only a grave infringement on religious liberty; it is a betrayal of those who sacrificed to make this country what it is today.”

All of this probably makes the New York Times’ analysis of how Obama will win Catholic votes little more than wishful thinking.  This oppressive move may well cast Catholics off from the Democratic Party for a generation.  This will be a “come to Jesus” moment for many Catholics, and a wake-up call to the USCCB about the nature of government mandates in general.

Update: The Anchoress links to the “strong editorial” of the publication Our Sunday Visitor:

It seems to us hardly a coincidence that this suit is taking place in our centennial year. Founded 100 years ago by then-Father John Noll, Our Sunday Visitor from its beginning sought to inform Catholics about the issues of the day, form them in the Faith, and defend that Faith from attack. It was Father John Noll who stood up to those who attacked Catholic immigrants as un-American and seditious. It was Father John Noll who faced down false preachers who spread slanders about the Church. It was Father John Noll who resisted the power of the Ku Klux Klan when it was such a powerful political force. And it is in his courageous spirit that we invoke as we engage in this great struggle today.

We know that many Americans — and even many Catholics — are confused about this debate. Politicians and elements of the news media have sought to make it a war against women or contraception, and they have portrayed the Church as seeking to impose its values on others or as being covertly political.

We also acknowledge that many Catholics do not understand the reasons for the Church’s moral opposition to contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs. This lack of understanding points to a significant catechetical need that the Church should address internally.

We reiterate, however, that this is not about the legality of such practices in society, nor is it about how many Catholics understand the Church’s position. It is about the Church’s right to practice what it preaches.

This is a critical moment for religious freedom in the US.  If the federal government can define religious expression, then it can control or even outlaw it.

Update II: LifeNews has a statement from Notre Dame’s president, Fr. John Jenkins, who extended the invitation to Obama in the first place:

Let me say very clearly what this lawsuit is not about:  it is not about preventing women from having access to contraception, nor even about preventing the Government from providing such services.  Many of our faculty, staff and students — both Catholic and non-Catholic — have made conscientious decisions to use contraceptives.  As we assert the right to follow our conscience, we respect their right to follow theirs.  And we believe that, if the Government wishes to provide such services, means are available that do not compel religious organizations to serve as its agents.  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. We have engaged in conversations to find a resolution that respects the consciences of all and we will continue to do so.

This filing is about the freedom of a religious organization to live its mission, and its significance goes well beyond any debate about contraceptives.  For if we concede that the Government can decide which religious organizations are sufficiently religious to be awarded the freedom to follow the principles that define their mission, then we have begun to walk down a path that ultimately leads to the undermining of those institutions.  For if one Presidential Administration can override our religious purpose and use religious organizations to advance policies that undercut our values, then surely another Administration will do the same for another very different set of policies, each time invoking some concept of popular will or the public good, with the result these religious organizations become mere tools for the exercise of government power, morally subservient to the state, and not free from its infringements.  If that happens, it will be the end of genuinely religious organizations in all but name.

Indeed.  And as some have suggested, the administration’s arrogance and obstinacy in dealing with this issue raises the question of whether that’s not their preferred outcome anyway.

Update III: Replaced “its” with “Notre Dame’s” in Update II to clarify reference.


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Onward Christian Soldiers.

Dr Evil on May 21, 2012 at 12:04 PM

Someone has to stop these people from destroying our constitution…

Ltlgeneral64 on May 21, 2012 at 12:05 PM

How will the calculating and craven campaigners of the corrupt and incompetent Obama “administration” thread this needle?

I predict they cave.

NoDonkey on May 21, 2012 at 12:05 PM

Good on them…the more holes poked in the ObamaCare boat, the better.

sage0925 on May 21, 2012 at 12:05 PM

Notre Dame? For real?

steebo77 on May 21, 2012 at 12:06 PM

Wow! This is going to piss off The Chosen One! Depending on public reaction, Barry might well be demanding someone’s head for ‘getting him into this mess’.

Popcorn anyone?

GarandFan on May 21, 2012 at 12:06 PM

Lay down with dogs, get up with fleas. These hypocrites deserve each other.

skanter on May 21, 2012 at 12:06 PM

GOOD for them. I wish the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod & the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Church would follow suit…

OmahaConservative on May 21, 2012 at 12:06 PM

I didn’t see this coming but wholeheartedly approve.

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.

This is a point that bears repeating time and time again, especially to Christian groups (like Catholics) who vote overwhelmingly for the increasingly statist totalitarian Democrat party.

CorporatePiggy on May 21, 2012 at 12:07 PM

It says right there on Page 2,538 of the Affordable Care Act – “The Secretary shall trample religious freedom on an as-needed basis, which shall be determined by the Secretary”.

http://www.fiscalwars.wordpress.com

stout77 on May 21, 2012 at 12:08 PM

Wow!

Will team Zero quadruple down? Will they relent? I’m inclined to think Zero and Sebelius will go to the mattresses on this and lose.

dogsoldier on May 21, 2012 at 12:08 PM

GOOD for them. I wish the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod & the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran

Church

Synod would follow suit…

OmahaConservative on May 21, 2012 at 12:06 PM

FIFM

OmahaConservative on May 21, 2012 at 12:08 PM

WHERE DO THE ATHIESTS GO????????????

Eph on May 21, 2012 at 12:08 PM

This is a critical moment for religious freedom in the US. If the federal government can define religious expression, then it can control or even outlaw it.

If it can’t define religious expression then it can’t protect it. Are you proposing that there be no criteria whatsoever?

OptionsTrader on May 21, 2012 at 12:08 PM

Good for them.

gophergirl on May 21, 2012 at 12:08 PM

How will the calculating and craven campaigners of the corrupt and incompetent Obama “administration” thread this needle?

I predict they cave.

NoDonkey on May 21, 2012 at 12:05 PM

I don’t think they can. They’re trying to cater to too many groups right now.

If they cave to the Church, then it will upset a lot of his coalition of groups who are either for “women’s rights” or just anti-Catholic in general.

teke184 on May 21, 2012 at 12:09 PM

Excuse me…

ATHEISTS…

Eph on May 21, 2012 at 12:09 PM

But Muslims were given a waiver, because they stated buying health insurance was a form of gambling and it was against their religion.

Dr Evil on May 21, 2012 at 12:09 PM

may the scales continue to fall from the eyes.

I think a “Road to Damascus” moment is the more appropos descriptor Ed. When we use “Come to Jesus” that just may be what the gov’t is thinking….IYKWIMAITTYD.

ted c on May 21, 2012 at 12:10 PM

Bammie needs votes. He’ll either modify the language or grant waivers.

fogw on May 21, 2012 at 12:10 PM

My ex, brother, and son were all born @ the same Catholic hospital(as was John Stossel) and that hospital will close if the mandate stands.
Period.

annoyinglittletwerp on May 21, 2012 at 12:11 PM

Let me say very clearly what this lawsuit is not about: it is not about preventing women from having access to contraception, nor even about preventing the Government from providing such services.

I think ND needs a new Fr. weak sauce equivocation is what got you here, homeboy.

ted c on May 21, 2012 at 12:11 PM

Let’s talk about bain and booker instead
-lsm

cmsinaz on May 21, 2012 at 12:12 PM

Agree OC

cmsinaz on May 21, 2012 at 12:14 PM

Notre Dame? For real?

steebo77 on May 21, 2012 at 12:06 PM

One would hope that Notre Dame is being Sheppard back into the Catholic fold…now as for Georgetown, it’s going to take more than shepherding, it’s going to take a electric cattle prod :)

Dr Evil on May 21, 2012 at 12:14 PM

It is about time for catholics to separate themselves from the KKK democrat party.

WhatNot on May 21, 2012 at 12:14 PM

WHERE DO THE ATHIESTS GO????????????

Eph on May 21, 2012 at 12:08 PM

San Francisco…

PatriotRider on May 21, 2012 at 12:15 PM

Go Jones Day!

LASue on May 21, 2012 at 12:15 PM

I heard from a mainland client (who sits on the board of a prominent Catholic institution) 2 weeks ago that his group was working with Jones Day to file a lawsuit…I had no idea how coordinated this effort would be. Bravo!

HawaiiLwyr on May 21, 2012 at 12:16 PM

Slutty law students hardest hit.

Happy Nomad on May 21, 2012 at 12:16 PM

I think ND needs a new Fr. weak sauce equivocation is what got you here, homeboy.

ted c on May 21, 2012 at 12:11 PM

Which is why the local bishop needs to strip ND of its Catholic identity. It’s not a Catholic university, and it hasn’t been one for years.

Ward Cleaver on May 21, 2012 at 12:17 PM

Politically speaking, I’m betting TFGP is wishing that he had not picked this fight.

antipc on May 21, 2012 at 12:17 PM

Does anybody have a link to a complete list of the plaintiffs? I haven’t seen one yet.

Ward Cleaver on May 21, 2012 at 12:18 PM

The argument that seems to be made is that there are no limits on religious expression, and that simply isn’t true. This is a losing argument to make, and despite the brouhaha, this case will ultimately fail.

There are limits on religious expression. Period. Since we, as a country, have already accepted this, the only point of contention is the agreed upon place to set those limits.

Ironically, I believe due to the Romney’s Mormon beliefs, making this an issue would only further a Democrat’s election.

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 12:18 PM

I’m sure that Gang Obama are already writing a speech for him railing against Big Church.

TXUS on May 21, 2012 at 12:18 PM

God bless them, every one.

rockmom on May 21, 2012 at 12:18 PM

I have very little sympathy for the Church.

They were more than happy to go along with the egregious assault on our basic civil rights and the theft of what little money we have left, as long as the Church got its exemptions. Sure, it’s fine to impose a fascist state on all YOU guys, as long as we are immune.

The Church has been Obama’s collaborator in all this, using the pulpit to tell its members to support the Socialist State.

They never heard the parable, I guess, of “First They Came for the ______, and I did nothing….”

As such, I vehemently oppose any such exemptions for religious organizations. Why should THEY enjoy liberty and freedom from the harassing brownshirts, while we then have to continue suffering them? A complete and absolute repeal of this abomination of a law is the ONLY solution.

If we have to live under Stalin, you do, too, Father. If not, then you must admit to being Satan’s handmaiden.

KorlaPundit on May 21, 2012 at 12:18 PM

We are all Catholic now!!

Marco on May 21, 2012 at 12:19 PM

The institutions filing lawsuits don’t just comprise a few ultraconservative institutions, either. The University of Notre Dame hosted a speech by President Barack Obama in 2009,

…and they bent over backwards for him… just for a JugEars photo op, making sure religious symbols wouldn’t be covered by the cameras…and now he is bending the Church over!
Hope & Crave.

KOOLAID2 on May 21, 2012 at 12:19 PM

On second thought,the lsm will get the message wrong and your the catholic war on women and tie Mitt to it somehow

cmsinaz on May 21, 2012 at 12:19 PM

All good, except the Jones Day part. No one better than the devil to rep you in court?

budfox on May 21, 2012 at 12:20 PM

Go to Vatican if you want a theocracy.

lester on May 21, 2012 at 12:20 PM

Bammie needs votes. He’ll either modify the language or grant waivers.

fogw on May 21, 2012 at 12:10 PM

Only if he discovers that bitter clingers offer more votes than the bitter feminists that this whole thing was designed to please. Keep in mind radical sluts like Sandra Fluke are not reasonable on the idea of contraception. It has to be universally available for free. Giving even one waiver would get the nags into a full-blown snit.

Happy Nomad on May 21, 2012 at 12:20 PM

Hmmmm I wonder what the Supreme Court thinks of the Church being forced to sue the Federal Government to protect her religious liberty.

msmveritas on May 21, 2012 at 12:21 PM

Didn’t Sebelius(D-Obama HHS) just tell these Catholics to shove it up their collective rear-ends at Georgetown? Aren’t these Catholics trying to take over America by refusing to accept ObamaCare interpretations of their faith?

I’m guessing Catholic voters will fall short of 60% support for the Abortion President this time around.

DANEgerus on May 21, 2012 at 12:22 PM

Go to Vatican if you want a theocracy.

lester on May 21, 2012 at 12:20 PM

Defeat of this mandate should be supported by all, including the Christ haters. It’s about respecting the Constitution which you would think that even atheists and agnostics could support even if they don’t respect others beliefs and make snarky moronic comments about theocracies.

Happy Nomad on May 21, 2012 at 12:22 PM

This is the sort of thing it takes to get people like my dear mother-in-law to wake up to the fact that government health care is NOT What Jesus Would Do. She has always been convinced that the only possible Catholic position was socialism because there is no reason at all the our massive governmental resources should be used to “take care of the poorest among us”. She really and truly felt that government programs were looking out for the downtrodden and that only mean and unchristian people would be against using tax dollars to help people. And she is a wonderful caring person who is very earnest about helping people who need it.

She is starting to see what the ramifications are of turning charity over to government control.

Lily on May 21, 2012 at 12:23 PM

If Obama grants Catholics waivers now, he’s going to anger a lot of his far left base so what happens, do they stay home and don’t vote for him November?

Obama is has the Sword of Damocles hanging over him.

Dr Evil on May 21, 2012 at 12:24 PM

I’m sure that Gang Obama are already writing a speech for him railing against Big Church.

TXUS on May 21, 2012 at 12:18 PM

I pray that he tells them that “My legacy, obambicare, is more important than your little religion.”

I pray that he says that.

VegasRick on May 21, 2012 at 12:25 PM

Will the LSM broadly report on this?

OmahaConservative on May 21, 2012 at 12:25 PM

This is a good first step. The next step would be — next time Biden, Pelosi, Kerry, etc. step forward for Holy Communion — for the priest to refuse to allow them to partake.

(Of course, if that could be followed by a lightning bolt from the Heavens, all the better effect, but…)

VastRightWingConspirator on May 21, 2012 at 12:26 PM

Go to Vatican if you want a theocracy.

lester on May 21, 2012 at 12:20 PM

This country was founded on religious freedom, and that includes Catholics freedom to worship.

Dr Evil on May 21, 2012 at 12:26 PM

The argument that seems to be made is that there are no limits on religious expression, and that simply isn’t true. This is a losing argument to make, and despite the brouhaha, this case will ultimately fail.

There are limits on religious expression. Period. Since we, as a country, have already accepted this, the only point of contention is the agreed upon place to set those limits.

Ironically, I believe due to the Romney’s Mormon beliefs, making this an issue would only further a Democrat’s election.

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 12:18 PM

Please give us an example where government limits religious expression. And don’t use the outlawing of polygamy. What this case is about is the government redefining religious expression as only what takes place in a house of worship. Catholic doctrine defines provision of health care, education and other services to the poor and to other Catholics as an essential part of the expression of Catholic belief.

The Obama Administration has already lost one religious freedom case 9-0 in the Supreme Court. That case involved the definition of a minister in a church, and the Court ruled that the Government has no right whatsoever to overrule a Church’s definition of its own ministers. This case will be a similar slam-dunk; the Government has no right to narrow the definition of a religious institution from what that Church has defined for itself.

There is a reason why the first freedom in the Bill of Rights is freedom of religion; and there is a reason why the First Amendment says “freedom of religion,” and not “freedom of worship.”

rockmom on May 21, 2012 at 12:26 PM

Go to Vatican if you want a theocracy.
lester on May 21, 2012 at 12:20 PM

Go to Iran if you don’t believe in civil rights.

tommyboy on May 21, 2012 at 12:26 PM

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 12:18 PM

Its fairly simple. The Govt cannot force religions to pay for things they are against. This has nothing to do with limits on religious expression.

Spliff Menendez on May 21, 2012 at 12:27 PM

No worries, Pres. E. Volver will just open up his map to political victory and decide what route he wants to take…unfortunately, it always dead ends at a cliff…

hillsoftx on May 21, 2012 at 12:28 PM

Hmmmm I wonder what the Supreme Court thinks of the Church being forced to sue the Federal Government to protect her religious liberty.

msmveritas on May 21, 2012 at 12:21 PM

Don’t forget there are six Catholics on the Court now.

rockmom on May 21, 2012 at 12:28 PM

Wow!

Will team Zero quadruple down? Will they relent? I’m inclined to think Zero and Sebelius will go to the mattresses on this and lose.

dogsoldier on May 21, 2012 at 12:08 PM

That is a given. One of the long term goals of the left has been to make Christianity subservient to government. IE: Christian institutions will have to seek government sanction for everything from who they hire (tried and failed) what they preach (this is the objective of the gay “anti byllying” agenda) and what their morals are (ie: obamacare requiring subsidizing abortion).

wildcat72 on May 21, 2012 at 12:28 PM

There are limits on religious expression. Period. Since we, as a country, have already accepted this, the only point of contention is the agreed upon place to set those limits.

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 12:18 PM

This isn’t about “religious expression.” What part of Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; are you unclear about?

Happy Nomad on May 21, 2012 at 12:29 PM

Its a great day to be a Catholic!

Kraken on May 21, 2012 at 12:29 PM

Hey look over there – you know, Romney used to strap his dog on top of his car.

Just sayin’ :)

ICanSeeNovFromMyHouse on May 21, 2012 at 12:29 PM

The Catholics are suing Obama. Doesn’t the Bible prohibit Christians suing Christians…..never mind, that wouldn’t apply here.

tommyboy on May 21, 2012 at 12:30 PM

I have very little sympathy for the Church.
[snip...]
If we have to live under Stalin, you do, too, Father. If not, then you must admit to being Satan’s handmaiden.

KorlaPundit on May 21, 2012 at 12:18 PM

I have to reluctantly agree. The Catholic Church does do a lot of real charity, but this government imposed pseudo-charity is antithetical to any reasonable interpretation of scripture. These are the inevitable consequences of putting your faith in human bureacracies.

Fenris on May 21, 2012 at 12:31 PM

Defeat of this mandate should be supported by all, including the Christ haters. It’s about respecting the Constitution which you would think that even atheists and agnostics could support even if they don’t respect others beliefs and make snarky moronic comments about theocracies.

Happy Nomad on May 21, 2012 at 12:22 PM

He’ll come back crying when Warmism is finally declared a religion by the courts.

slickwillie2001 on May 21, 2012 at 12:31 PM

Go to Vatican if you want a theocracy.

lester on May 21, 2012 at 12:20 PM

We don’t live in a theocracy now, do we?

rockmom on May 21, 2012 at 12:31 PM

Until they start handing out excommunications like Halloween candy, I will continue to believe that Catholic Church is a pathetic liberal shadow of its former self.

Archivarix on May 21, 2012 at 12:31 PM

Go to Vatican if you want a theocracy.
lester on May 21, 2012 at 12:20 PM

Go to Iran if you don’t believe in civil rights.

tommyboy on May 21, 2012 at 12:26 PM

You are going to set off the briliant “I know you are, but what am I response” from this troll.

VegasRick on May 21, 2012 at 12:31 PM

Don’t forget there are six Catholics on the Court now.

rockmom on May 21, 2012 at 12:28 PM

Somebody told me Pelosi is a Catholic too. Funny that.

Fenris on May 21, 2012 at 12:32 PM

St. Thomas More, pray for us.

Greek Fire on May 21, 2012 at 12:32 PM

Obama may have to evolve….again.

Electrongod on May 21, 2012 at 12:33 PM

Its fairly simple. The Govt cannot force religions to pay for things they are against. This has nothing to do with limits on religious expression.

Spliff Menendez on May 21, 2012 at 12:27 PM

I agree that it’s simple. They clearly can.

If there are standards for a service, and the government sets the standards for that service, they can force the institutions that provide that service to do so in the approved manner.

There is an argument to be made that government shouldn’t be setting standards for services, but that’s separate then the one being offered that somehow religious institution are exempt.

Religious institutions have to follow the minimum wage and other standards around employment rights.

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 12:33 PM

Anyone want to start a betting pool on how many comments before a lame- brained lefty troll breaks out the priest-pedophilia blast as an ‘argument’.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on May 21, 2012 at 12:34 PM

This is a critical moment for religious freedom in the US. If the federal government can define religious expression, then it can control or even outlaw it.

If it can’t define religious expression then it can’t protect it. Are you proposing that there be no criteria whatsoever?

OptionsTrader on May 21, 2012 at 12:08 PM

What???? What?????

The argument that seems to be made is that there are no limits on religious expression, and that simply isn’t true. This is a losing argument to make, and despite the brouhaha, this case will ultimately fail.

There are limits on religious expression. Period. Since we, as a country, have already accepted this, the only point of contention is the agreed upon place to set those limits.
segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 12:18 PM

What are those limits oh wise one? Religious FREEDOM is the issue. Why do you say expression? You are trying to muddy the issue by linking this to the beliefs all religions.

Vince on May 21, 2012 at 12:34 PM

This is a point that bears repeating time and time again, especially to Christian groups (like Catholics) who vote overwhelmingly for the increasingly statist totalitarian Democrat party.

CorporatePiggy on May 21, 2012 at 12:07 PM

Let’s put this one to rest before it takes off again. Catholics are not some monolithic Democrat-voting block.

2008: Catholic vote: 55% Dem, 42% Republican
2010: Catholic vote: 44% Dem, 54% Republican

Trafalgar on May 21, 2012 at 12:34 PM

And when they come for the Catholics….

I did nothing because I was not Catholic….

Who is next?

What will you do when they come for you?

redguy on May 21, 2012 at 12:35 PM

There is an argument to be made that government shouldn’t be setting standards for services, but that’s separate then the one being offered that somehow religious institution are exempt.
segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 12:33 PM

The arguments are one and the same – it’s a violation of the Constitution guarantee of free exercise of religion. Govt. cannot set “standards” which violate the bill of rights. That’s Con law 101.

tommyboy on May 21, 2012 at 12:37 PM

Religious institutions have to follow the minimum wage and other standards around employment rights.

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 12:33 PM

What does that have to do with abortifacients, sterilization and contraceptives. Looks like the limits on government are being argued here.

Vince on May 21, 2012 at 12:37 PM

Romney may not like the idea of wading into this, but I think he should for two reasons.

First, this is the second recent instance in which the Obama administration has tried to interfere with religious liberty. Rockmom points out that late last year, SCOTUS ruled 9-0–9-0–against the Obama administration, and this case will yield the same result. Romney needs to ask the country what is Obama’s obsession with interfering with religious liberty. Does Obama think it’s one of those rights that have outlasted their usefulness?

Second, Romney needs to ask why Obama is exhausting federal resources on these exercises in futility when the economy is faltering and we have so many other problems. The Obama administrations likes to say that they can walk and chew gum at the same time. Fine. But why are they walking and urinating all over the Constitution at the same time?

BuckeyeSam on May 21, 2012 at 12:39 PM

Go to Vatican if you want a theocracy.

lester on May 21, 2012 at 12:20 PM

Um, no.

My collie says:

BTW, you’ll be under a theocracy sooner than you think — when all the fairness that you have been clamoring for finally arrives.

CyberCipher on May 21, 2012 at 12:39 PM

I agree with other here, good for them! It is about time people stand up to bho and his whole blooming anti-American team!

Something tells me, bho will need to have all those who filed suit come to the wh to say he will see to it they get waivers as he has passed out to thousands of other companies?

I just wonder what the SC Justices are thinking about this action today? I can’t wait for their ruling in late June!
L

letget on May 21, 2012 at 12:40 PM

Please give us an example where government limits religious expression. And don’t use the outlawing of polygamy. What this case is about is the government redefining religious expression as only what takes place in a house of worship. Catholic doctrine defines provision of health care, education and other services to the poor and to other Catholics as an essential part of the expression of Catholic belief.

What’s wrong the the polygamy example? How can you just exclude something that completely demonstrates the principle?

And yes, Catholic doctrine defines plenty of things. As long as those things are independent of government regulation, there’s no problem. However, when government and religious doctrines overlap, government wins. Are you saying that things should be different, or things are different?

This case will be a similar slam-dunk; the Government has no right

to narrow the definition of a religious institution from what that Church has defined for itself.

Religious institutions have to work within the laws of the country. It is a slam dunk for that reason. Yes, the government can’t define what a minister is, as the term itself is completely religious, but government can define what a health care plan is(if it can define what a health care plan is, if that makes sense).

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 12:40 PM

I am not the least bit optimistic that local parrishioners will support these law suits. These institutions may file all the suits they want, but too many Catholic parrishioners will vote Democrat in the fall. The Church itself has created these hard-core Democrats by insisting that the Church and the Democrat Party share the same goal — social justice. Yes, there are parrishioners who will either vote Republican or sit home because of this issue, but for the most part, these people are less affluent and elderly, and have little voice in their dioceses. The young, hip, cool people living in pricy suburbs are the dominant voice. While the “cool” may pay lip service to Church teachings, they will vote for “social justice” because that is what they were taught in Catholic schools. They will tell themselves that having Catholic institutions be forced to pay for abortion and birth control is out-weighed by the Democrats’ promises of “social justice”.

catsandbooks on May 21, 2012 at 12:40 PM

Go to Vatican if you want a theocracy.

lester on May 21, 2012 at 12:20 PM

But come to America where the government tells religious institutions how it must spend it’s money and how it must define it’s morality?

gwelf on May 21, 2012 at 12:41 PM

It’s about time people like Sebelius, Pelosi, Kerry, Biden, etc. stopped pretending to be Catholic. Better yet, how about the Church excommunicates them?

bw222 on May 21, 2012 at 12:41 PM

Until they start handing out excommunications like Halloween candy, I will continue to believe that Catholic Church is a pathetic liberal shadow of its former self.

Archivarix on May 21, 2012 at 12:31 PM

Your comment shows a complete ignorance of how excommunication works.

Ward Cleaver on May 21, 2012 at 12:42 PM

I have very little sympathy for the Church.
They were more than happy to go along with the egregious assault on our basic civil rights and the theft of what little money we have left, as long as the Church got its exemptions. Sure, it’s fine to impose a fascist state on all YOU guys, as long as we are immune./////
///If we have to live under Stalin, you do, too, Father. If not, then you must admit to being Satan’s handmaiden.

Not a particularly helpful attitude. When someone walks into the dug-out and wants to join the team, if only for this game, ask about their qualifications not their history. I see the appeal, but “I told you so” doesn’t really work as a coalition-building tool.

JFKY on May 21, 2012 at 12:42 PM

Its a great day to be a Catholic!

Kraken on May 21, 2012 at 12:29 PM

It’s always a great day to be a Catholic :)

Trafalgar on May 21, 2012 at 12:42 PM

St. Thomas More, pray for us.

Greek Fire on May 21, 2012 at 12:32 PM

Amen.

Ward Cleaver on May 21, 2012 at 12:43 PM

The arguments are one and the same – it’s a violation of the Constitution guarantee of free exercise of religion. Govt. cannot set “standards” which violate the bill of rights. That’s Con law 101.

There are limitations to the Bill of Rights. They exist. They’re here. We uphold them all the time. The “yelling Fire in a movie theater” is a popular example of one.

The free exercise of religion is not unlimited.

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 12:44 PM

I tried a few links but I could not find a list of the 43 institutions that filed suit. The article shows what Notre Dame filed.

My main point: is Fluke’s school, Georgetown one of them?

TerryW on May 21, 2012 at 12:45 PM

As long as those things are independent of government regulation, there’s no problem. However, when government and religious doctrines overlap, government wins. Are you saying that things should be different, or things are different?

So it would be your contention that the US Congress or HHS could pass the Nurnburg Laws, and compel churches to adopt them? Even Jewish Synagogues? Is there NO limit on the ability of the state to act?

JFKY on May 21, 2012 at 12:45 PM

Don’t forget there are six Catholics on the Court now.

rockmom on May 21, 2012 at 12:28 PM

Somebody told me Pelosi is a Catholic too. Funny that.

Fenris on May 21, 2012 at 12:32 PM

True you can’t count on how individual Catholics will particularly when faith is an inconvenient impediment to political ideology. Nevertheless, it does really underscore how arrogant Team Obama was to issue this mandate before the case was even heard in court. IMO, using the ACCA to compel religious institutions to provide birth control was about as an egregious overreach of power as you’ll find particularly when they knew the case was due to have its day in Court. Knowing the Court was loaded with Catholics makes it all the more arrogant and ignorant.

msmveritas on May 21, 2012 at 12:45 PM

Notre Dame? Really??? Now we hide and watch to see if Joe Donnelly straddles this one craftily. Go on, Joe. What are your thoughts? Are you gonna hack off the lefty ladies or your home constituency when you run against that brassy young pro-life upstart, Mourdock?

hoosiermama on May 21, 2012 at 12:47 PM

What???? What?????

Vince on May 21, 2012 at 12:34 PM

The courts first have to define religious expression before they can start to overturn laws of congress based on that Constitutional claim.

OptionsTrader on May 21, 2012 at 12:47 PM

Yet he’s still leading in the polls. Something is out of whack here, and I think I know what it is.

SouthernGent on May 21, 2012 at 12:47 PM

What does that have to do with abortifacients, sterilization and contraceptives. Looks like the limits on government are being argued here.

I agree that the limits of government should be argued. But that’s not what’s being argued. My understanding is that they’re arguing that any limits are a violation of their ability to freely practice their religion.

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 12:47 PM

Dear God, please rid the US of this arrogant, evil group of people who are governing and ruining this country. That is a fervent prayer, and many of us Catholics are praying a Rosary for you to stop this ongoing pestilence.

chai on May 21, 2012 at 12:48 PM

HELL YEAH! GO CATHOLICS!

Crefonso on May 21, 2012 at 12:48 PM

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