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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We don’t need churches. We don’t need health care organizations. We don’t need corporations. All we need is more and bigger government.
That’s what Obama believes, and that is what he is working toward. He needs to be defeated in November or our once-great nation will be destroyed beyond repair.

GaltBlvnAtty on May 21, 2012 at 12:49 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

It’s pointed out on pretty much every thread involving Catholicism, but I’ll make the point again that people like Sibelius, Biden, Pelosi, Kerry, etc. are already excommunicated Catholics. The incurred excommunication latae sententiae simply by championing and voting for pro-abortion laws. There is no need for the Church to take any further official action to excommunicate them, they did it to themselves already. Should bishops and priests deny them Communion? Absolutely they should, but even if they don’t, the act of receiving Communion by an excommunicant is meaningless in God’s eyes, and in fact degrades and debases the Host, thereby committing another sin against God. Judgement day is not going to be pretty for these people.

Trafalgar on May 21, 2012 at 12:49 PM

that any limits are a violation of their ability to freely practice their religion.

And you would contend that this is NOT, an attack on their ability to exercise their religion?

JFKY on May 21, 2012 at 12:50 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

I’m not sure I understand what difference you’re making between religious freedom and religious expression?

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 12:50 PM

43 Catholic institutions file suits over HHS mandate

Excellent. We are all Catholics now.

petefrt on May 21, 2012 at 12:51 PM

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

The fire example only applies when there is not actually any fire. Thus, a dangerous lie. In this case the personal right to free exercise of religion is not a lie and doesn’t immediately threaten a riot. Thus, this scenario is clearly within the limits of the free exercise clause and no Court has ever ruled otherwise.

tommyboy on May 21, 2012 at 12:52 PM

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

No, I believe that there should be limits on the state. My point is that limits exist, and to say that there are no limits on religious freedom/expression isn’t true.

Is this limit one particular worth fighting for? No, I personally don’t think so. However, I understand that not fighting for it may allow a dangerous precedent.

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 12:52 PM

Remember, remember, the fifth of November …

OldEnglish on May 21, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Anybody know where you can find a list of the dioceses?

Little Boomer on May 21, 2012 at 12:53 PM

We’re all Catholics now

22044 on May 21, 2012 at 12:53 PM

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

Amendment 1: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

“Religious expression” doesn’t matter. If it is a religious organization, Congress is not allowed to pass a single law prohibiting the free exercise of that religion. And if “free exercise” of that religion is to bar paying for abortion and contraceptives, then so be it.

The Government does not protect that right (and so it has no claim on defining “religious expression”)… the people do, using the Constitution as a shield against Government. It is the Constitution protects Religion from the Government. Period.

dominigan on May 21, 2012 at 12:53 PM

And you would contend that this is NOT, an attack on their ability to exercise their religion?

JFKY on May 21, 2012 at 12:50 PM

Yes, this is not an attack on their ability to exercise their religion.

Government shouldn’t help Catholics be good Catholics.

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Obama has done more for the cause of liberty and freedom in this country than any other President. By trampling out the vintage where our grapes of wrath are stored, he hath loosed the fateful lightning of our terrible swift swords.

starboardhelm on May 21, 2012 at 12:54 PM

msdnc sure doesn’t like this lawsuit

and as predicted, they are tying this lawsuit to mitt

cmsinaz on May 21, 2012 at 12:54 PM

that hospital will close if the mandate stands.
Period.

annoyinglittletwerp on May 21, 2012 at 12:11 PM

Every Catholic religious hospital should erect a banner stating that if Øbamacare remains law, the hospital will close. The repudiation in November would make 2010 look like a minor rebuff…

Odysseus on May 21, 2012 at 12:54 PM

The fire example only applies when there is not actually any fire. Thus, a dangerous lie. In this case the personal right to free exercise of religion is not a lie and doesn’t immediately threaten a riot. Thus, this scenario is clearly within the limits of the free exercise clause and no Court has ever ruled otherwise.

The fire example is only used to illustrate that their are limits to the 1st Amendment.

There are no hard-set rules on what makes something protected by the 1st Amendment or not. Courts decide, and precedent is set.

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 12:57 PM

Yes, this is not an attack on their ability to exercise their religion.
Government shouldn’t help Catholics be good Catholics.

Compelling Catholics to break one of the Big Three policy issues, that define what it is to be Catholic, to turn their backs on a thousand or more years of teaching and action isn’t an attack on their ability to exercise their religion….I see you believe in the Cuba Model of Church Governance…the state, not the bible defines heresy and orthodoxy. I’m sorry you’re advancing a reasonably idiotic Constitutional argument. When Church and State or State and Individual Conscience clash the State does NOT automatically triumph. Were that to be the case it would not be a LIMITED GOVERNMENT.

JFKY on May 21, 2012 at 12:58 PM

So how much time and money is 0bama going to force the whole country to waste, fighting a law which is obviously unconstitutional?

Wasting everyone’s time and productivity, except the lawyers, who are ecstatic, and preventing an actual solution to affordable health care in this country.

cane_loader on May 21, 2012 at 12:58 PM

Compelling Catholics to break one of the Big Three policy issues, that define what it is to be Catholic, to turn their backs on a thousand or more years of teaching and action isn’t an attack on their ability to exercise their religion

What is the government compelling Catholics to break though?

When Church and State or State and Individual Conscience clash the State does NOT automatically triumph

I didn’t mean to say that they automatically triumph. It’s just that for the most part, they have so far.

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 1:00 PM

Catholic institutions were absolutely in favor of depriving other citizens of liberty when they supported ObamaCare in it’s corrupt path through Congress, all in the name of “social justice”. My liberty and yours didn’t matter then. The bill might not have passed if Catholic leaders stood up and were counted in the face of the assault on liberty, then, and we would probably not be fighting this rear-guard action in the Courts today.

But that was then and now Catholic leaders have suddenly got religion, which is well and good. Welcome to the battle, Cardinal Dolan. All I ask is that you not be so foolish in the future as you have been in this instance. Rethink your ridiculous devotion to “social justice” when the obvious implication of your stand is, as here, curtailing freedom.

MTF on May 21, 2012 at 1:01 PM

Government shouldn’t help Catholics be good Catholics.

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 12:53 PM

No, I think the point here is that government may not prevent Catholics from practicing their religion and being good Catholics.

Trafalgar on May 21, 2012 at 1:01 PM

Yes, this is not an attack on their ability to exercise their religion.

Government shouldn’t help Catholics be good Catholics.

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 12:53 PM

You’ve got it backwards.
Government shall not hinder Catholics from being good Catholics.

22044 on May 21, 2012 at 1:01 PM

Grrrrr!

Government shouldn’t help Catholics be good Catholics.

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 12:53 PM

No, I think the point here is that government may not prevent Catholics from practicing their religion and being good Catholics.

Trafalgar on May 21, 2012 at 1:02 PM

I love that they filed this on the feast day of a martyr for religious freedom and I love Ed’s reference to St. Thomas More. His story has always inspired me. I believed from the start of this that the administration totally underestimated their ability to successfully attack religious freedom in America. We are NOT Europe.

txmomof6 on May 21, 2012 at 1:03 PM

The fire example is only used to illustrate that their are limits to the 1st Amendment.

Nobody ever suggested otherwise. They just pointed out the obvious, that those limits have not been reached here and you have offered nothing to suggest they have. And all of our religious freedom is clearly “worth fighting for” as is every single natural right we have.

tommyboy on May 21, 2012 at 1:04 PM

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 12:57 PM

I’ve been following you in this thread.

Your arguments are simpleminded and unpersuasive.

Religious liberty under the first amendment may not be absolute, but until Catholics are engaged in sacrificing children at their altars, they have a pretty wide latitude concerning what constitutes elements of their faith.

I’m going to make a prediction that a two-year-old federal law, filled with provisions instructing the Secretary of HHS to issue regulations, is going to get slapped down in the shadow of a long-held tenet of the Catholic Church. And it’s going to be a 9-0 decision.

So quit wasting your time.

BuckeyeSam on May 21, 2012 at 1:04 PM

“Religious expression” doesn’t matter. If it is a religious organization, Congress is not allowed to pass a single law prohibiting the free exercise of that religion. And if “free exercise” of that religion is to bar paying for abortion and contraceptives, then so be it.

dominigan on May 21, 2012 at 12:53 PM

The question will be whether a hospital is a religious institution or a secular one. If you want to claim that a hospital is a religious business because its ownership is religious then that same claim could be made for corporations in other industries. The criteria has been tied to the business function not the religious beliefs of the ownership, which is why the RCC has lost the contraceptive case at the state level in NY and CA for its hospitals but received government exemptions for its churches.

OptionsTrader on May 21, 2012 at 1:04 PM

I’m not sure I understand what difference you’re making between religious freedom and religious expression?

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 12:50 PM

“Religious freedom” is the freedom defined in the Constitution to engage in “religious expression”. “Religious expressions” are the actions taken by a Religion, in the name of their religion, that matches with their beliefs in Scripture.

Since the Government is PROHIBITED from limiting “religious expression” IN ANY WAY, the rest of your argument doesn’t matter.

You are trying to describe why a law passed by Congress should be upheld in forcing Catholics to pay for something against their doctrine in support of a “right” that is not found anywhere in the Constitution. When the Constitution, the Law of the Land, states that Congress is not allowed to pass such a law. And since even the IRS (a dept. of the Federal Government) recognizes the Catholic Church as a religious organization, you have no argument to stand on.

dominigan on May 21, 2012 at 1:04 PM

Romney needs to ask the country what is Obama’s obsession with interfering with religious liberty.

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.

BuckeyeSam on May 21, 2012 at 12:39 PM

As to your first point, Romney or any candidate won’t win debating religious freedom. Plus, it is a distractor from jobs and the economy which should be the main message. You really want to get back to the war on women meme again?

As to your second point, the question is sound but it also leads back to the war on women nonsense. Specifically, Romney asks why Obama is squandering resources on defending the mandate and Obama responds by becoming morally indignant as he lectures that working for “women’s health” is not a waste of resources.

Happy Nomad on May 21, 2012 at 1:04 PM

I am absolutely confident that Notre Dame wanted no part of this lawsuit, but they are probably getting blowback from Catholic families wondering why they should send their offspring and their money to a secular craphole like that. For them, it’s all about the optics, not the principle. You have to have principles before you can stand on them.

Extrafishy on May 21, 2012 at 1:04 PM

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.

Define helpful. The church is NOT on my team. They don’t want a full repeal. They were in full support of this stupid and bankrupting law, until they realized that Obama’s promises have a very short shelf-life.

They only want an exemption, same as before, and are quite willing to sell your soul and mine to Obamacare as the price of keeping their own little kingdom intact.

If these and a few other small bits and pieces of Obamacare are stricken, but the majority of it stands, then we are screwed, and once the hypocritical church gets is exemptions, they will abandon any pretense of “standing with us.”

It’s all or nothing. Full repeal or full speed ahead off the cliff.

KorlaPundit on May 21, 2012 at 1:05 PM

Notre Dame, my alma mater, awarded Obama with an honorary doctor in laws degree.

And they wondered why so many were outraged when they invited him to speak!

bearpaw on May 21, 2012 at 1:06 PM

Speaking of precedents, hopefully this ruling provides a good one.

Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC

22044 on May 21, 2012 at 1:06 PM

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

There’s some truth to what you say. But why try to build a coalition with people whose interest in this case is an exemption for themselves? Whose goal is more and more government? When they come to realize that government imposed social services are not actual charity, then coalition building can begin.

True you can’t count on how individual Catholics will particularly when faith is an inconvenient impediment to political ideology. …
Knowing the Court was loaded with Catholics makes it all the more arrogant and ignorant.

msmveritas on May 21, 2012 at 12:45 PM

No disagreement on Obama’s hubris. But sometimes it works, even if it may not in this particular. That drip drip drip you hear? It’s our private institutions and freedoms slowly going down the drain one at a time.

Fenris on May 21, 2012 at 1:07 PM

The question will be whether a hospital is a religious institution or a secular one.

OptionsTrader on May 21, 2012 at 1:04 PM

When the founding of a hospital by a religious institution is an obvious “religious expression” of the beliefs of that institution, and it continues to be directed by that organization… then Congress can make no laws regarding it.

Stop ignoring the Constitution.

dominigan on May 21, 2012 at 1:07 PM

No, I think the point here is that government may not prevent Catholics from practicing their religion and being good Catholics.

Trafalgar on May 21, 2012 at 1:02 PM

22044 on May 21, 2012 at 1:01 PM

I still fail to see how this prevents Catholics from practicing their religion and being good Catholics.

Health care insurance generally covers blood transfusions, which goes against Jehovah witness’s beliefs. Does covering that go against their freedom to practice their religion?

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 1:08 PM

These people we have in office hate everything about America. That is what the ‘change’ is all about.

Axion on May 21, 2012 at 1:09 PM

Thank God the Church has moved from the days of liberal leaders like Dearden and Bernadin to leaders like Cardinal Dolan, who are willing to battle.

bw222 on May 21, 2012 at 1:11 PM

Nobody ever suggested otherwise. They just pointed out the obvious, that those limits have not been reached here and you have offered nothing to suggest they have. And all of our religious freedom is clearly “worth fighting for” as is every single natural right we have.

What limits have not been reached here? People continue to argue that there shouldn’t be (or aren’t) any limits on religious freedom/expression(? Still not seeing the distinction), but there are. It’s a simple fact that there are. Plenty of people are stating otherwise.

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 1:12 PM

Health care insurance generally covers blood transfusions, which goes against Jehovah witness’s beliefs. Does covering that go against their freedom to practice their religion?

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 1:08 PM

Of course not. Just like health care insurance convering contraception doesn’t violate Catholic institutions freedom of religion.

I think you are unable to understand the issue hence you find yourself arguing a strawman.

joana on May 21, 2012 at 1:13 PM

Obama is at war with our country. Has anybody else noticed that?

Axion on May 21, 2012 at 1:13 PM

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 1:08 PM

Wanna explain why it’s fair for Muslims to not be included under ObamaCare? Didn’t think so.

bw222 on May 21, 2012 at 1:14 PM

So quit wasting your time.
BuckeyeSam

Welcome to the internet.

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 1:14 PM

Obama: the Constitution “expert” who repeatedly has shown that he is not aware of nor does he care about the Constitution, even though his oath of office is tied to protecting our Constitutional rights.

This “man” is a tyrant in the making (if he’s not already there). And the Lefty bobbleheads keep on bobbling.

RobertMN on May 21, 2012 at 1:14 PM

I think every religious organization forced to close because of the Fluke Mandate should put up a giant countdown clock listing exactly how many more days they will be in operation.

Happy Nomad on May 21, 2012 at 1:14 PM

The Constitution is a shield against government intrusion, not a sword for government usurpation. Leftists do not know this, it baffles me why any conservatives would fail to understand this concept. Religious believers and institutions predicated on religious mission should be free to do or not to do whatever they define as their mission, up to the point they violate individual rights.

Refusing to pay for or administer someone else’s abortion, contraception, or even blood transfusion (since JW is so often brought up) is not such a violation, and in the last case can easily be handled by providing a referral or arranging a transfer in accordance with the patient’s wishes.

If government can force you to violate your conscience, it cannot in any way be called a limited government.

BKennedy on May 21, 2012 at 1:15 PM

What limits have not been reached here? People continue to argue that there shouldn’t be (or aren’t) any limits on religious freedom/expression(? Still not seeing the distinction), but there are. It’s a simple fact that there are. Plenty of people are stating otherwise.

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 1:12 PM

You’re not really paying attention. The mandate requires Catholic health centers to provide funds &/or services that go against their freedom of conscience, which is protected by the First Amendment’s freedom of religion.
Of course our Constitutional freedoms are not absolute, but they are intended to integrated together and protected as much as reasonable. This suit looks like it’s got legs.

22044 on May 21, 2012 at 1:15 PM

Of course not. Just like health care insurance convering contraception doesn’t violate Catholic institutions freedom of religion.

I think you are unable to understand the issue hence you find yourself arguing a strawman.

I think you’re agreeing with me.

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 1:15 PM

I still fail to see how this prevents Catholics from practicing their religion and being good Catholics.

Health care insurance generally covers blood transfusions, which goes against Jehovah witness’s beliefs. Does covering that go against their freedom to practice their religion?

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 1:08 PM

Because the absolute sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death is a fundamental tenet of the Catholic faith. Forcing Catholics or Catholic institutions to provide contraceptives, sterilization, and abortifacients forces the Catholic Church to do something which utterly violates one of its core beliefs. And the government may not do that. It’s really that simple.

Trafalgar on May 21, 2012 at 1:16 PM

Every Catholic religious hospital should erect a banner stating that if Øbamacare remains law, the hospital will close. The repudiation in November would make 2010 look like a minor rebuff…

Odysseus on May 21, 2012 at 12:54 PM

I wouldn’t be surprised if this is what Obama wants to happen. Although not too soon. The physical facilities aren’t going to disappear in a magic puff of smoke, and neither will the staff. Put ‘em through bankruptcy proceedings and poof! A compliant citizenry.

Fenris on May 21, 2012 at 1:16 PM

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

The Soviets had “freedom of worship” in their constitution, but not “freedom of religion”. Under the Soviets you could go to perhaps the only church in a city and attend, but if you spoke about faith outside of those walls, even to teach your children… off to the gulag.

Our freedom of religion has meant faith can be expressed OUTSIDE of a church. In schools, soup kitchens, hospices, and hospitals. It has always meant that from the nation’s founding. The Obama administration wants a more Soviet-style of government… the rest of us will have to fight if we want to avoid that.

theCork on May 21, 2012 at 1:17 PM

What is the government compelling Catholics to break though?

To provide birth control, abortifax materials, and abortions….

As to those who point out that the Church wants an exemption for itself, realize this, IF thye win you can too, if they lose there is no limit to what the government can compel your church to do…so you might want to be glad that the Bishops are in opposition.

JFKY on May 21, 2012 at 1:18 PM

I think you’re agreeing with me.

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 1:15 PM

Sure. Up to the point that the existence of health insurance covering contraception or blood transfusions isn’t a violation of freedom of religion. Then again, I suspect 99.9% of the people here would agree with in that instance.

joana on May 21, 2012 at 1:18 PM

List of Catholic Dioseses in the U.S.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_Catholic_dioceses_of_the_United_States

bw222 on May 21, 2012 at 1:19 PM

Liberals believe in Separation of Church and State to toss Religious Faith out of Government. They conveniently oppose Separation of Church and State so as to toss Gornment mandates on Religious Faith.

Varchild on May 21, 2012 at 1:19 PM

You’re not really paying attention. The mandate requires Catholic health centers to provide funds &/or services that go against their freedom of conscience, which is protected by the First Amendment’s freedom of religion.

The mandates sets a minimum requirement for a service and applies it equally to everyone that offers such service. It defines what the service is. If an organization is providing health care, the organization is providing X, Y, and Z.

I believe it’s a losing argument to say that everyone else has to provide X, Y, and Z but any religious organization can choose which aspects of the law it wants to follow.

The Church should be saying that mandating the requirement on anyone is unconstitutional. They are not, which is why they will lose.

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 1:19 PM

The “yelling Fire in a movie theater” is a popular example of one.

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 12:44 PM

Actually this is a badly misused one. You can’t yell fire in a movie theater if there is no fire but if there is a fire you certainly can warn the people.

chemman on May 21, 2012 at 1:19 PM

I still fail to see how this prevents Catholics from practicing their religion and being good Catholics.

Health care insurance generally covers blood transfusions, which goes against Jehovah witness’s beliefs. Does covering that go against their freedom to practice their religion?

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 1:08 PM

You are missing the point. Before Obamacare and this mandate, various institutions could choose what coverage to obtain and exclude. So, if Jehova’s witnesses chose to buy a policy that covered transfusions, that was their choice.

Obama and these regulations take away that choice and order religious institutions to do things that they do not want to do.

Monkeytoe on May 21, 2012 at 1:20 PM

To the current adiminstration: Knocking on head, “Helloooo, is anybody home? Hellooooo!”.

jake49 on May 21, 2012 at 1:21 PM

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 1:19 PM

Others on this thread have pointed out well why the Church has Constitutional backing for its stand against the law. It looks like you haven’t read any of them.
Perhaps you should go back & read them again. Also look at the link I posted.

22044 on May 21, 2012 at 1:22 PM

To provide birth control, abortifax materials, and abortions….

As to those who point out that the Church wants an exemption for itself, realize this, IF thye win you can too, if they lose there is no limit to what the government can compel your church to do…so you might want to be glad that the Bishops are in opposition.

JFKY on May 21, 2012 at 1:18 PM

If ObamaCare is held constitutional, then there already is no limit to what the government can force you to do. The solution is not fiddling with the details, but is getting government out of the business of being up in everybody’s business. Until the Catholic hierarchy sees this, there is no point in supporting them long term.

Fenris on May 21, 2012 at 1:23 PM

I believe it’s a losing argument to say that everyone else has to provide X, Y, and Z but any religious organization can choose which aspects of the law it wants to follow.

The Church should be saying that mandating the requirement on anyone is unconstitutional. They are not, which is why they will lose.

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 1:19 PM

It is clear you have little understanding of the issue. Many laws are passed with a religious exemption precisely because if applied to a religious entity it would violate the first amendment and the entire law would be unconstitutional. The way congress gets around that is by explicitly providing, in the law, an exemption for churches and the like.

Following your reasoning, as long as a law is applied equally to everyone, then a church can be forced to do it also, even if it violates the church’s religion. That is not the law as it stands.

What the churches are arguing is that the law as applied to the church violates freedom of religion and is therefore unconstitutional. Had congress exempted the churches, that argument would not exist.

Monkeytoe on May 21, 2012 at 1:24 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?

Dude, they already came for me. With the help of the Cardinals and the nuns.

I will not support partial rollbacks.

This hydra needs all its heads cut off and cauterized.

It’s not something that can be “fixed.” It needs to die.

Can the Church get behind that? If not, then screw ‘em. If they can, then WELCOME ABOARD, and what kept you?!

KorlaPundit on May 21, 2012 at 1:24 PM

Destroy the church. Destroy charity. Destroy the energy sector. Destroy healthcare.

John the Libertarian on May 21, 2012 at 1:24 PM

The Church should be saying that mandating the requirement on anyone is unconstitutional. They are not, which is why they will lose.

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 1:19 PM

You’re really not getting what this is about, are you? The Catholic Church brought these law suits under the “free exercise of religion” guaranteed in the 1st Amendment, not under the Commerce Clause. They’re not arguing that imposing mandates on anyone is unconstitutional (although that’s also a very good argument on its own). They’re saying our freedom to practice our religion is being violated, so that doesn’t apply to “anyone”, only those whose religious freedom is being affected.

Trafalgar on May 21, 2012 at 1:24 PM

Until the Catholic hierarchy sees this, there is no point in supporting them long term.

Who cares, as Keynes is reputed have quipped, “In the LONG Run, everyone dies….” You take your victories and your allies when and where they present themselves, would be my suggestion…but if you want an island of “pure opposition” at least set the parameters of this “pure opposition?” Can the Federal Government COMPEL the sale of cross-border insurance, in the face of state’s rights? What would be an adequate replacement for Obama Care? Because I bet, your idea of pure opposition is just that OPPOSITION, not agreement on the nature of the future.

So, my advice is take the allies you can today and worry about new allies TOMORROW when it becomes necessary to replace Obama Care.

JFKY on May 21, 2012 at 1:28 PM

Obama and these regulations take away that choice and order religious institutions to do things that they do not want to do.

Monkeytoe on May 21, 2012 at 1:20 PM

I agree with you entirely, I’d just be a bit more emphatic that it’s not just things “that they don’t want to do”, it’s things that they absolutely cannot do on pain of casting their souls into eternal damnation.

Trafalgar on May 21, 2012 at 1:29 PM

So if the Church gets its exemption reinstated (at least temporarily, since Obama’s promises have short expiration dates), will they go back to supporting the law?

Or have they had a “come to Jesus” moment, where they realize that swimming in a shark-proof cage is not very wise when you give control of the cage door to the sharks?

Are they now in favor of full repeal? If not, I don’t give a damn about their religious expression. They’ve brought it on themselves by selling out the rest of us.

KorlaPundit on May 21, 2012 at 1:29 PM

This is the first of many…who’s next?

d1carter on May 21, 2012 at 1:31 PM

If ObamaCare is held constitutional, then there already is no limit to what the government can force you to do. The solution is not fiddling with the details, but is getting government out of the business of being up in everybody’s business. Until the Catholic hierarchy sees this, there is no point in supporting them long term.

Fenris on May 21, 2012 at 1:23 PM

I think this really sums things up pretty well.

If government can force a secular, bottling company insurer to provide contraception, the 1st amendment will not protect religious institution insurers from being required to do so as well.

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 1:32 PM

So if the Church gets its exemption reinstated (at least temporarily, since Obama’s promises have short expiration dates), will they go back to supporting the law?

KorlaPundit on May 21, 2012 at 1:29 PM

Let’s be clear on this. The US Conference of Catholic Bisops did not endorse Obamacare as written. The offer of a conscience exemption in an Executive Order to be issued after passage of the law was a lure for wavering Democrats like Bart Stupak, who fell for it. The USCCB did not fall for it and never endorsed Obamacare.

Trafalgar on May 21, 2012 at 1:33 PM

The Church should be saying that mandating the requirement on anyone is unconstitutional. They are not, which is why they will lose.
segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 1:19 PM

It is not the Church’s role to determine Constitutionality for anything/anyone other than a religious organization. Their role is to support the tenents of the RCC as a religious institution with Constitutional rights.

katiejane on May 21, 2012 at 1:33 PM

They’re saying our freedom to practice our religion is being violated, so that doesn’t apply to “anyone”, only those whose religious freedom is being affected.

Trafalgar on May 21, 2012 at 1:24 PM

That’s exactly why they brought it, and it’s exactly why they’ll fail. The government will argue that it has a vested interest in the health of its citizens, and religious freedom does not trump that interest.

This cannot be compared to the Minister’s case because being a minister is strictly a religious creation, while being healthy is not.

I really don’t think there’s a case here, but we’ll see.

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 1:35 PM

Sibelius, Biden, Pelosi, Kerry, etc…. Judgement day is not going to be pretty for these people.

Trafalgar on May 21, 2012 at 12:49 PM

They don’t think there is going to be a judgement day, they are in for a big surprise.

Axion on May 21, 2012 at 1:35 PM

The Church should be saying that mandating the requirement on anyone is unconstitutional. They are not, which is why they will lose.

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 1:19 PM

This is actually false, multiple statements from the USCCB have argued that the mandate imposes itself not only on religious organizations, but also on inidividuals of faith who only wish to provide their employees with insurance coverage that does not violate their moral beliefs.

Your interpretation basically makes “health care” a magic bullet for government intrusion. If a former president of the NRA became President of the United States, his HHS Secretary could mandate your insurance covers the purchase a gun, ammunition, and training courses as long as his statement said “the ability to protect yourself from illegal entry and invasion is the greatest guarantee on your continued good health you could ever have.” – and under your logic that would be fine, because all it’d be doing is defining the “health care” that all insurance has to cover.

BKennedy on May 21, 2012 at 1:35 PM

If government can force a secular, bottling company insurer to provide contraception, the 1st amendment will not protect religious institution insurers from being required to do so as well.

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 1:32 PM

You really are an idiot. That bottling company doesn’t consider it a mortal sin to provide contraception. Obama and Sebelius are compelling religious organizations to not only offer sluts like Fluke free contraception against the tenets of faith, they are demanding that the church pay for the slut’s contraception.

Put another way, Obama is demanding that these institutions abandon their values and adopt Obamas and radicals of the left like the slutty Sandra Fluke.

Happy Nomad on May 21, 2012 at 1:37 PM

That’s exactly why they brought it, and it’s exactly why they’ll fail. The government will argue that it has a vested interest in the health of its citizens, and religious freedom does not trump that interest.

This cannot be compared to the Minister’s case because being a minister is strictly a religious creation, while being healthy is not.

I really don’t think there’s a case here, but we’ll see.

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 1:35 PM

…now that’s a stretch. Mind trying to explain how “being healthy” is a Constitutional right that is to be enforced by the government? I seem to have missed that one….

Turtle317 on May 21, 2012 at 1:37 PM

If government can force a secular, bottling company insurer to provide contraception, the 1st amendment will not protect religious institution insurers from being required to do so as well.

No, because Coca-Cola/PepsiCo have not proclaimed, for a thousand years abortion is a sin….again the 1St Amendment Free Exercise Clause is in play, here….now when Coke or Pepsi become RELIGIONS they can make the same argument.

JFKY on May 21, 2012 at 1:38 PM

Let me say very clearly what this lawsuit is not about: it is not about preventing women from having access to contraception…

But you know that is what the DNC, MSNBC, CNN, Debbie Whatshername Schultz, Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, Sandra Fluke, and even Barack Obummer will flat-out say it’s about.

KS Rex on May 21, 2012 at 1:39 PM

The Church should be saying that mandating the requirement on anyone is unconstitutional. They are not, which is why they will lose.

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 1:19 PM

Not so. When you appear to the court you have to show how the law is offending YOUR rights. And including anyone else is irrelevant at best and a distraction at worst.

Axion on May 21, 2012 at 1:40 PM

That’s exactly why they brought it, and it’s exactly why they’ll fail. The government will argue that it has a vested interest in the health of its citizens, and religious freedom does not trump that interest.

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 1:35 PM

Wow! Have you ever actually read the Constitution, let alone understood it? For the government to even attempt to argue that it can trump religious freedom whenever it chooses “for the greater good” would be ridiculous and they know the’td get laughed out of every court in the country. This is why religious freedom is in the very first amendment to the Constitution, it is that important and that unassailable.

And while we’re at it, could you please explain what contraceptives and abortion have to do with a woman’s “health”?

Trafalgar on May 21, 2012 at 1:40 PM

I want to see Sebelius on the witness stand…

d1carter on May 21, 2012 at 1:41 PM

Anybody know where you can find a list of the dioceses?

Little Boomer on May 21, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Here you go… It covers the whole world but you can drill down to the US. Catholic Hierarchy

catquilt on May 21, 2012 at 1:42 PM

oops..

http://www.catholic-hierarchy.org

catquilt on May 21, 2012 at 1:43 PM

You really are an idiot. That bottling company doesn’t consider it a mortal sin to provide contraception. Obama and Sebelius are compelling religious organizations to not only offer sluts like Fluke free contraception against the tenets of faith, they are demanding that the church pay for the slut’s contraception.

Put another way, Obama is demanding that these institutions abandon their values and adopt Obamas and radicals of the left like the slutty Sandra Fluke.

Happy Nomad on May 21, 2012 at 1:37 PM

Taking that example of a bottling company, say for instance the powers that run it are religious Catholics or otherwise pro-life. They have the same Constitutional rights. If the law dictates that they provide health insurance to cover procedures that violate their conscience, the Constitution trumps the law there as well.

22044 on May 21, 2012 at 1:43 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

Unfortunately a lot of truth to your comments. I listened to our Pastor in his homily yesterday state that health care is a right and that we shouldn’t have the obscenely wealthy while others are destitute. This on top of the poster in the narthex for “Social Justice” with an African mother and child imposed on a footprint and the question “who are you crushing with your carbon footprint”.
Health care should be accessible to all, but not required by law to be purchased. Who determines what is obscene when it comes to wealth? How is my carbon footprint trampling that mother and child in Africa?
That very same Pastor has no problem looking for a sizeable donation from my husband and I when he needs a new church built, renovations on the rectory, etc. My wealth cannot be both evil and good!

LynnB74 on May 21, 2012 at 1:44 PM

and under your logic that would be fine, because all it’d be doing is defining the “health care” that all insurance has to cover.

BKennedy on May 21, 2012 at 1:35 PM

I never said it was right, i said it was legal.

And if mandating this is legal, scenarios exist where ridiculous things could be mandated. However, our elected officials are ultimately responsible to the people that elected them. If those people disagree with the decisions our officials have made, we can put into power new ones.

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 1:45 PM

I’d very much like to see Kagan explain herself how her previous vote for religious freedom was part of that 9-0 decision, yet not so for the HHS mandate. While I still don’t think the HHS will stand up under scrutiny under the 1st amendment, I don’t think Kagan and other leftie judges are going to go down that easy.

It may look more like the 5-4 decision that’s coming in June….

Turtle317 on May 21, 2012 at 1:45 PM

Archdiocese of DC set up this website. Catholic University filed suit, apparently Sandra Fluke is free to be a slut at Georgetown as they are not listed.

Happy Nomad on May 21, 2012 at 1:46 PM

Who cares, as Keynes is reputed have quipped, “In the LONG Run, everyone dies….” You take your victories and your allies when and where they present themselves, would be my suggestion…

I have no common ground with The Catholic Church on this issue. More government involvment in social services is not my preference. Therefore the Catholic Church is not a potential ally.

but if you want an island of “pure opposition” at least set the parameters of this “pure opposition?” Can the Federal Government COMPEL the sale of cross-border insurance, in the face of state’s rights?

Not in my opinion, but they could refrain from prohibiting it.

What would be an adequate replacement for Obama Care? Because I bet, your idea of pure opposition is just that OPPOSITION, not agreement on the nature of the future.

Don’t be silly. Of course I don’t agree with the Catholic Church’s vision for an increased role in government fake charity. There are plenty of market based alternatives, and legal reforms, that would improve health care in this country. And it’s not like it’s a complete disaster in the first place.

So, my advice is take the allies you can today and worry about new allies TOMORROW when it becomes necessary to replace Obama Care.

JFKY on May 21, 2012 at 1:28 PM

Sure, work to make ObamaCare semi-workable, so that it’s even harder to get rid of. Not a good idea.

Fenris on May 21, 2012 at 1:46 PM

I never said it was right, i said it was legal.

And if mandating this is legal, scenarios exist where ridiculous things could be mandated. However, our elected officials are ultimately responsible to the people that elected them. If those people disagree with the decisions our officials have made, we can put into power new ones.

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 1:45 PM

You still haven’t worked it out. Expressions of freedom of religion are not “mandated”. That’s what happens when you, like most ignorant folks, take our laws as the beginning of what’s OK instead of the Constitution.
You need some more education, and it should be proper, not the junk people are getting in public schools & universities.

22044 on May 21, 2012 at 1:49 PM

I want to see Sebelius on the witness stand…

d1carter on May 21, 2012 at 1:41 PM

I want to see Sebelius frog marched out of her office but to each his own!

Happy Nomad on May 21, 2012 at 1:49 PM

The Federal court system is already so packed with cases to deal with this won’t help with the backlog. Heck, two years ago I had to testify in a Federal Tax Court case. The judge has not issued his ruling, yet.

SC.Charlie on May 21, 2012 at 1:49 PM

Yes, this is not an attack on their ability to exercise their religion. Government shouldn’t help Catholics be good Catholics. segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Oh, but they can be persecuted by the govt with impunity. I see.

We await the Obooba edict requiring mosques to provide pork products to their employees free of charge.

Akzed on May 21, 2012 at 1:49 PM

Regarding my past comment, forgot to quote the other poster. My oops…

22044 on May 21, 2012 at 1:50 PM

Wow! Have you ever actually read the Constitution, let alone understood it? For the government to even attempt to argue that it can trump religious freedom whenever it chooses “for the greater good” would be ridiculous and they know the’td get laughed out of every court in the country. This is why religious freedom is in the very first amendment to the Constitution, it is that important and that unassailable.

You’re arguing against the way you wish things were rather than what they are.

Religions can’t freely use illegal drugs. Religions can’t refuse healthcare for children. Religions can’t kill protected animals, without approval from the government.

There are limits on religious freedoms. Denying them gets you nowhere.

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 1:51 PM

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