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 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

+100 … nailed it.

Turtle317 on May 21, 2012 at 1:51 PM

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

And you’re supplying enough strawmen to build a barn. Fail.

22044 on May 21, 2012 at 1:52 PM

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

Well that won’t fly considering all the waivers issued. Perhaps if these were unions…

Deanna on May 21, 2012 at 1:52 PM

The bishops should send the word down that the case must be at least mentioned every couple of weeks in the homily (this might begin to address the catechetical problem) and ought to be in every weekly bulletin. It’s easy for folks to forget when it’s not part of lives and this will keep the political pressure on the Dog Eater.

edshepp on May 21, 2012 at 1:53 PM

Well that won’t fly considering all the waivers issued. Perhaps if these were unions…

Deanna on May 21, 2012 at 1:52 PM

Good point – the government is being hypocritical.

22044 on May 21, 2012 at 1:53 PM

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

you’re darn tootin

cmsinaz on May 21, 2012 at 1:54 PM

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 1:51 PM

This summation from the Archdiocese of DC explains perfectly what is being fought here. Take a second away from being a moronic jerk and learn something.

This lawsuit is about religious freedom and our ability to serve the public, not about contraception. The Church maintains that the First Amendment protects the Catholic Church’s ability to serve the public in accordance with its faith and to operate its religious institutions without government interference. The argument challenges the way the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) defines what is, and is not, a religious institution. By including an exemption at all, the government apparently agrees that, in keeping with decades of practice and precedent, religious institutions should not be compelled to purchase drugs or procedures that violate deeply held religious or moral beliefs.

But, the Administration’s HHS mandate defines religious ministry so narrowly that religious schools, hospitals, and social services don’t qualify as religious, and must therefore provide these drugs and procedures. This violates the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom. It forces religious organizations to sacrifice their beliefs in order to be able to continue their mission of serving the public.

Happy Nomad on May 21, 2012 at 1:54 PM

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 1:51 PM

We all know that human sacrifice cults are right off the table, Constitution-wise, but thanks for the straw man illustration.

Akzed on May 21, 2012 at 1:55 PM

Dude, they already came for me. With the help of the Cardinals and the nuns.
KorlaPundit on May 21, 2012 at 1:24 PM

When did the Conference of Bishops endorse Obama Care? Please do tell us.

And those nuns of which you speak are now facing a crackdown from Rome.

steebo77 on May 21, 2012 at 1:56 PM

And you’re supplying enough strawmen to build a barn. Fail.

22044 on May 21, 2012 at 1:52 PM

Where is the strawman? Each of those cases cited the 1st amendment, and each one lost.

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 1:56 PM

Happy Nomad on May 21, 2012 at 1:54 PM

As Kipling said, approximately: Take the danegeld and you’ll never be rid of the Dane.

Fenris on May 21, 2012 at 1:56 PM

We all know that human sacrifice cults are right off the table, Constitution-wise, but thanks for the straw man illustration.

Akzed on May 21, 2012 at 1:55 PM

Those were real cases.

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 1:57 PM

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

And that would be a great argument if citizens didn’t have access to healthcare or contraception. Nobody is calling for the banning of contraception merely the mandate that the church and not the slutty Sandra Fluke must offer and pay for Fluke’s sexual escapades.

Happy Nomad on May 21, 2012 at 1:57 PM

If Obama caves and gives the Catholics a waiver, in addition to all the other waivers that have been granted, shouldn’t this law be held unconstitutional simply due to unequal treatement under the law? I don’t see how a law that only applies to certain people who do not have a large enough coalition to demand a waiver can be constitutional.

Night Owl on May 21, 2012 at 1:57 PM

Where is the strawman? Each of those cases cited the 1st amendment, and each one lost.

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 1:56 PM

Well, I could reply, but you seem intent on being an ignoramus, so I would be casting pearls before swine. That is all.

22044 on May 21, 2012 at 2:00 PM

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

Better to be right, good plan….so again you are in a fight but you’re picky about you’re allies…good thing you didn’t advise FDR in 1941….And you hit on a point I made, you don’t think you can compel cross-state insurance, but that’s one of the big ideas to replace O-Care…so we have little agreement on what to replace it with, but you don’t want to help fight it in court…even if it ain’t the total repeal. Interesting, a Leninist, I see…”The Worse, the Better.”

JFKY on May 21, 2012 at 2:00 PM

Segasagez is an example of someone whose mind works differently than others. I’m not sure if it’s ignorance or a synaptic breach, but he or she clearly cannot understand the ability of the Constitution to trump federal laws and regulations or the meaning of the First Amendment. None of the articulate posts here are getting through to that person. I applaud the general tone of the responses which has been respectful and patient. Libs would not have done the same for a confused conservative.

The main point to make is that neither the Congress, nor the Executive Branch, can tell any of us whether our religious institutions are religious “enough” and they certainly cannot force us to violate our religious beliefs without some compelling rationale for doing so. This is what the law says. Telling a Jehovah’s Witness that their kid must have a blood transfusion to save his life is a compelling rationale. Providing abortions and contraceptives which are abundantly available already throughout society is not a compelling reason to limit anyone’s right to freedom of expression.

One more point. The first amendment limitation on yelling “fire” in a crowded theater is a limit on freedom of speech, not freedom of religious expression.

Incredulous1 on May 21, 2012 at 2:00 PM

Those were real cases.

segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 1:57 PM

Yes those were real cases of cultist. They do not qualify as ESTABLISHED religions under the 1st Amendment of the Constitution. Those were dim-witted attempts to subvert the Constitution.

Turtle317 on May 21, 2012 at 2:01 PM

If Obama caves and gives the Catholics a waiver, in addition to all the other waivers that have been granted, shouldn’t this law be held unconstitutional simply due to unequal treatement under the law? I don’t see how a law that only applies to certain people who do not have a large enough coalition to demand a waiver can be constitutional.

Night Owl on May 21, 2012 at 1:57 PM

It should. Will the courts figure it out?

22044 on May 21, 2012 at 2:01 PM

Happy Nomad on May 21, 2012 at 1:54 PM

“This law isn’t against religions because, by the definition of religion that we cooked up, these ministries aren’t even religions, therefore aren’t protect by the 1st Amendment all the sudden after 223 years.”

Akzed on May 21, 2012 at 2:02 PM

Incredulous1 on May 21, 2012 at 2:00 PM

Well stated.

22044 on May 21, 2012 at 2:02 PM

When did the Conference of Bishops endorse Obama Care? Please do tell us.

And those nuns of which you speak are now facing a crackdown from Rome.

steebo77 on May 21, 2012 at 1:56 PM

Oh please, just google it. The USCCB endorsed it when they thought they could get the Stupak ammendment. The problem is not finessing a bill out of the politicians that will be exactly what you want. The problem is the whole idea in the first place.

Fenris on May 21, 2012 at 2:03 PM

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

Agreed, but in your formulation the limits don’t exist….there is NOTHING a government cannot compel you to do or refrain from doing. Your view is inherently UNCONSTITUTIONAL, the basis of which is a government LIMITED in its ability to act-in certain areas.

JFKY on May 21, 2012 at 2:03 PM

It might not have much difference to the rank’n’file Catholic vote (a couple percentage points at best). Catholics have been voting for radically pro-abortion amd pro-gay Democratic candidates for decades now…the health care thing isn’t all that much of a stretch from there

krome on May 21, 2012 at 2:04 PM

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

You’re completely missing the point in this discussion, either through ignorance or intentionally. The point here is that the government is trying to mandate that a religious organization do something which violates one of its core beliefs. And the exercise of that freedom of religion in this case harms nobody or steps on anyone elses rights. You’re buidling strawman upon strawman here. The Catholic Church in this case is not arguing for the use of illegal drugs, the denial of healthcare for children, or the slaughter of animals, protected or otherwise. They are simply arguing that their fundamental belief in the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death cannot be trampled by the federal government. And they’re right.

Trafalgar on May 21, 2012 at 2:07 PM

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.

@ BUCKEYE: no we don’t have latitude. We don’t just make up our rules to suit our convenience. We follow what Jesus Christ commanded in the Gospel and what God commanded in the Bible. We follow the Word of God, not human dictates. Clear?

chai on May 21, 2012 at 2:08 PM

Those were real cases. segasagez on May 21, 2012 at 1:57 PM

But we’re not talking about cults, but the standard and acceptable practice of churches for 2,012 years.

Here’s a real case: Yesterday church soup kitchens and homes for pregnant unweds etc were just fine, today they stand in the way of the consequence-free fornication of employees, and Obooba can’t have that.

Since you can’t be so stupid as to fail to grasp the essence of that process, you must simply enjoy seeing this attack on Christendom play out. We get it.

Akzed on May 21, 2012 at 2:09 PM

Better to be right, good plan….so again you are in a fight but you’re picky about you’re allies…good thing you didn’t advise FDR in 1941….

Yes it is better to be right. But to compare health care, which is already pretty good in the US to WWII is absurd.

And you hit on a point I made, you don’t think you can compel cross-state insurance, but that’s one of the big ideas to replace O-Care…so we have little agreement on what to replace it with, but you don’t want to help fight it in court…even if it ain’t the total repeal.

I said they could refrain from prohibiting it. Your response is dishonest.

Interesting, a Leninist, I see…”The Worse, the Better.”

JFKY on May 21, 2012 at 2:00 PM

Now you’re just being a moron. I oppose the expansion of socialism, therefore I’m a Leninist. Oh ya, that’s a winning argument. /sarcasm

Fenris on May 21, 2012 at 2:09 PM

Trafalgar on May 21, 2012 at 2:07 PM

Yes, but more than trying to make churches violate their beliefs, Obooba is redefining what constitutes a legitimate activity or ministry of a church.

It’s like saying, “Yeah, we agree that the 2nd Amendment protects your right to keep and bear guns, but by our definition, guns have barrels full of hardened cement: yours doesn’t, so hand it over.”

Akzed on May 21, 2012 at 2:13 PM

Serves the Catholic Church right for supporting Obamacare in the first place. You lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas.

Lawdawg86 on May 21, 2012 at 2:14 PM


The Catholic Church in this case is not arguing for … the denial of healthcare for children …

Trafalgar on May 21, 2012 at 2:07 PM

But they are, according to the left. Didn’t you know that contraception for children and abortions without parental notification is part of health care. That is only the tip of the iceberg.

Fenris on May 21, 2012 at 2:14 PM

Oh please, just google it. The USCCB endorsed it when they thought they could get the Stupak ammendment. The problem is not finessing a bill out of the politicians that will be exactly what you want. The problem is the whole idea in the first place.

Fenris on May 21, 2012 at 2:03 PM

March 14, 2010: Catholic bishops send message to faithful: We oppose ObamaCare

steebo77 on May 21, 2012 at 2:15 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.

Yes, but they WERE lobbying for Obamacare WITH AN EXEMPTION FOR THEMSELVES. That’s the whole point.

They didn’t care about what it subjected the rest of us to.

So the question is: do they still support Obamacare if they can get the exemption written into the law? If so, I will not support them. I will support a full repeal and nothing less. Otherwise, you make it PALATABLE to potential supporters of a repeal. We should all be in this together, and if you are fighting for an exemption and not a full repeal, then you are not on the team; you are only in this for your own selfish interests.

I am not in favor of religions getting special rights over and above the rights of an individual.

KorlaPundit on May 21, 2012 at 2:16 PM

Catholics have been voting for radically pro-abortion amd pro-gay Democratic candidates for decades now…the health care thing isn’t all that much of a stretch from there

krome on May 21, 2012 at 2:04 PM

To repeat from an earlier post on this. Catholics are not a monolithic Democrat-voting machine.

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

Trafalgar on May 21, 2012 at 2:17 PM

Let’s put this one to rest before it takes off again.

Be interesting to see the figures pre 2008.

The Church establishment has been overwhelmingly in favor of the kind of ‘social justice’ statism touted by the left since FDR and quite possibly before that. Obamacare was only their latest well intentioned and very stupid step along that road.

CorporatePiggy on May 21, 2012 at 2:18 PM

March 14, 2010: Catholic bishops send message to faithful: We oppose ObamaCare

steebo77 on May 21, 2012 at 2:15 PM

Do I have to quote John Kerry here? I guess so. They were for it before they were against it. They’re still for it if they can get themselves exempted. As your link states respecting abortion. Hence my reference to the Stupak thing.

Fenris on May 21, 2012 at 2:20 PM

Forcing Notre Dame to pay for contraception and abortion is not much different from forcing me, a non-Catholic, to pay for it through my taxes, some of which are then redirected toward Planned Parenthood. Because the scope of government has grown so much, I am forced to pay for all kinds of things that I despise.

jamesjtyler on May 21, 2012 at 2:22 PM

Interesting, a Leninist, I see…”The Worse, the Better.”
JFKY on May 21, 2012 at 2:00 PM
Now you’re just being a moron. I oppose the expansion of socialism, therefore I’m a Leninist. Oh ya, that’s a winning argument. /sarcasm

No that’s your strategy…the Worse the better….can’t help it if Lenin named it. PETA uses it all the time, improved animal welfare is NOT good, because it makes animal RIGHTS less likely, ergo the WORSE the better. Ditto you…anything, which in your opinion makes O-care MORE palatable is bad, even if it is achievable or constitutional. The worse the better. If you’re ashamed of it, that’s not my problem.

JFKY on May 21, 2012 at 2:27 PM

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

And that would be a great argument if citizens didn’t have access to healthcare or contraception. Nobody is calling for the banning of contraception merely the mandate that the church and not the slutty Sandra Fluke must offer and pay for Fluke’s sexual escapades.

Happy Nomad on May 21, 2012 at 1:57 PM

The liberal argument and the answer to it. There is a conscience exception to military service and has been stipulated to for years. Same thing here.

Vince on May 21, 2012 at 2:28 PM

As a lifelong Catholic, I applaud the Church’s decision on this lawsuit, but it is worth remembering the following:

1. Notre Dame should never allowed this monster to speak at ND; they were played for fools.

2. The Church is still peddling social justice nonsense in attacking Paul Ryan’s budget. This has the effect of confusing the electorate, and diminishes the purported assertion that “Life trumps all other public policy issues with the Church.”

3. The Church needs to stop using the term “the Administration” when attacking the Sebilius/HSS rule. After 48 hours of lies and distortion, the MSM will have the average ignorant voter convinced that Sarah Palin is somehow “the Administration.” Confront the truth and go on the attack. Label this monstrosity as from either “Obama” or the “Obama Administration.” Quit the niceties.

4. None of this would likely be happening if the Church had allowed the GOP House (then minority) to vote against the Stupak amendment in November 2009, because Pelosi did not have the votes to pass it. The GOP leadership begged the Church for a “pass,” and the Church turned them down, insisting they vote for Stupak, which has proven to be a worthless piece of paper. And without Stupak, Pelosi could never have gotten Obamacare through the House.

Bottom line: the Catholic Church has repeatedly been played for suckers by Obama.

matthew8787 on May 21, 2012 at 2:28 PM

Forcing Notre Dame to pay for contraception and abortion is not much different from forcing me, a non-Catholic, to pay for it through my taxes, some of which are then redirected toward Planned Parenthood. Because the scope of government has grown so much, I am forced to pay for all kinds of things that I despise.

jamesjtyler on May 21, 2012 at 2:22 PM

That’s why the individual mandate is also unconstitutional.

Vince on May 21, 2012 at 2:30 PM

Be interesting to see the figures pre 2008.

CorporatePiggy on May 21, 2012 at 2:18 PM

From what I’ve been able to piece together so far, in every presidential election since 1980 the Catholic vote has gone along exactly the same lines with a majority of Catholics voting for the candidate who has won the popular vote. So a majority of Catholics voted for Reagan (twice); Bush, Sr.; Clinton (twice); Gore (even though he lost the elctoral vote); Bush, Jr.in 2004; and Obama.

Trafalgar on May 21, 2012 at 2:32 PM

4. None of this would likely be happening if the Church had allowed the GOP House (then minority) to vote against the Stupak amendment in November 2009, because Pelosi did not have the votes to pass it.

The Church has no business “allowing” Congressmen to vote for things.

They should stay out of politics altogether or risk losing their status as a nonprofit. Remember, separation of church and state goes both ways.

In theory.

The church is more than happy to stick its nose in politics. It is disingenuous when they complain when laws they push start to affect them as well.

KorlaPundit on May 21, 2012 at 2:33 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

But government should be able to block Catholics from being good Catholics?

cptacek on May 21, 2012 at 2:37 PM

I am forced to pay for all kinds of things that I despise.

jamesjtyler on May 21, 2012 at 2:22 PM

There is a big difference from despising some ways your tax dollars are used and telling a church that they must commit a mortal sin for no other reason than Sandra Fluke burns through $1000 of contraception every year and a politician wants the slut vote. Especially since Obama thought he was being clever by “compromising” and making the insurance company and not the religious institution pay for it knowing full well that most of these organizations self-insure.

Let’s take it out of the RCC context and mention the Baptists which run large health systems object to the morning after pill which also must be covered under this mandate.

Happy Nomad on May 21, 2012 at 2:38 PM

The Church has no business “allowing” Congressmen to vote for things.
They should stay out of politics altogether or risk losing their status as a nonprofit. Remember, separation of church and state goes both ways.
In theory.
The church is more than happy to stick its nose in politics. It is disingenuous when they complain when laws they push start to affect them as well.

He’s not the kind you wind up on Sundays…Slavery was ended by the Religious….Civil Rights Movement…Religious. Churches stick their noses into “politics” all the time because public Policy intersects with Morality, a lot.

JFKY on May 21, 2012 at 2:38 PM

No that’s your strategy…the Worse the better….can’t help it if Lenin named it. PETA uses it all the time, improved animal welfare is NOT good, because it makes animal RIGHTS less likely, ergo the WORSE the better. Ditto you…anything, which in your opinion makes O-care MORE palatable is bad, even if it is achievable or constitutional. The worse the better. If you’re ashamed of it, that’s not my problem.

JFKY on May 21, 2012 at 2:27 PM

No it is not the same at all. Making it semi-workable is not equivalent to better. It is morally reprehensible. In some ways even more so. But as a practical matter it might function for several more years if Catholics get their special exemption, but everybody (including Catholics) still pays taxes for abortions.

Fenris on May 21, 2012 at 2:38 PM

The Church has no business “allowing” Congressmen to vote for things.

Poor choice of words on my part. I meant that the Church, like every other interest group, “scores” major congressional votes. The GOP asked that the Church not score the vote on Stupak. The Church stupidly refused. They were played again by Obama-Pelosi.

matthew8787 on May 21, 2012 at 2:39 PM

But government should be able to block Catholics from being good Catholics?

cptacek on May 21, 2012 at 2:37 PM

War on big Christiandom

Happy Nomad on May 21, 2012 at 2:39 PM

Do I have to quote John Kerry here? I guess so. They were for it before they were against it. They’re still for it if they can get themselves exempted. As your link states respecting abortion. Hence my reference to the Stupak thing.

Fenris on May 21, 2012 at 2:20 PM

Show me one instance where the USCCB officially endorsed either the House or Senate versions of the healthcare bill.

steebo77 on May 21, 2012 at 2:41 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

Couldn’t one of the reasons they lost was because was at the state level and the RFRA was overturned at the state level? It still applies at the federal level…
http://religiousfreedom.lib.virginia.edu/sacred/RFRA1993.html

cptacek on May 21, 2012 at 2:43 PM

I doubt it will be but, we can hope that the Church takes this lesson to heart…as PJ O’Rourke says, “A government big enough to give you everything, is big enough to take it all away.” Mayhap, chastened the Bishops will be more circumspect in their support for large-scale social engineering, sponsored by something other than the Church.

JFKY on May 21, 2012 at 2:45 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

Which amendment says:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of bottling, 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.

cptacek on May 21, 2012 at 2:46 PM

Slavery was ended by the Religious….Civil Rights Movement…Religious. Churches stick their noses into “politics” all the time because public Policy intersects with Morality, a lot.

JFKY on May 21, 2012 at 2:38 PM

Slavery in the US was ended by the Emancipation Proclamation. There was, no doubt, a religious aspect to the abolition movement but slavery ended with a political document not a religious awakening.

But you are right at least as far as Christians are concerned, we are told to be part of the world to do Christ’s work. A lot of times that bleeds over into involvement in social issues that smack of “politics.”

Happy Nomad on May 21, 2012 at 2:47 PM

“When the the Conference of Bishops endorse ObamaCare. Please do tell us.”

Steebo on May 21, 2012 at 1:56 PM

The Bishops have long sought free shit from the government, and endorsed ObamaCare repeatedly, minus abortion coverage.

Catholic leaders of all types endorsed the seizing of liberty, right up until the bell tolled for them too. Now we have outrage.

Fine and good; I’m glad they are in the fight. But they were one of the primary causes of this outrage passing in the first place, naively thinking that they would be able to finagle free money from taxpayers at no cost to their dignity. Wrong.

MTF on May 21, 2012 at 2:48 PM

Show me one instance where the USCCB officially endorsed either the House or Senate versions of the healthcare bill.

steebo77 on May 21, 2012 at 2:41 PM

He can’t because they didn’t. Having said that, a lot of people have confused the Church’s position on universal healthcare with an official endorsement of Obamacare specifically. As a Catholic I disagree with the Church on a lot of positions including some of it’s social justice stances, including universal healthcare. But, as a Catholic I’m free to disagree with the Church on a lot of things, just as long as I never deviate from its articles of faith, and belief in the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death is an article of faith. I think many non-Catholic tend to think that all Catholics are required to march in lock step with whatever any bishop opines on any topic. Not true!

Trafalgar on May 21, 2012 at 2:50 PM

Will this debacle finally convince Catholics to change their voting habits? Only time and elections will tell…

Dunedainn on May 21, 2012 at 2:53 PM

The Bishops have long sought free shit from the government, and endorsed ObamaCare repeatedly, minus abortion coverage.

MTF on May 21, 2012 at 2:48 PM

That letter endorses “health care reform,” not any specific proposal or bill, let alone Obamacare. Quit lying.

steebo77 on May 21, 2012 at 2:54 PM

Will this debacle finally convince Catholics to change their voting habits? Only time and elections will tell…

Dunedainn on May 21, 2012 at 2:53 PM

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

Trafalgar on May 21, 2012 at 2:17 PM

steebo77 on May 21, 2012 at 2:55 PM

I didn’t say that they endorsed the final versions. I quite clearly said they endorsed ObamaCare if they could get their pet exemptions. Your own link says the same! Here’s another

For the Catholic Church, health care is a basic human right and providing health care is an essential ministry. We pick up the pieces of this failing system in our emergency rooms, clinics, parishes and communities. This is why we strongly support Congressional action on health care reform which protects human life and dignity and serves the poor and vulnerable as a moral imperative and an urgent national priority.

Fenris on May 21, 2012 at 2:57 PM

The bishops should send the word down that the case must be at least mentioned every couple of weeks in the homily (this might begin to address the catechetical problem) and ought to be in every weekly bulletin. It’s easy for folks to forget when it’s not part of lives and this will keep the political pressure on the Dog Eater.

edshepp on May 21, 2012 at 1:53 PM

You don’t know how much I wished the Catholic Church would take your advice.

thuja on May 21, 2012 at 2:57 PM

The Obama mandate was never about contraception or access to health care.

Obama needed a distraction.
Obama needed probable cause so he could claim there was a Republican War on women.

Obama got the objections he was after from Rick Santorum and other Catholics. He then attempted to portray that as a war on women and then project that on Romney. Each of these was a stretch. Some more than others.

Now Obammmmbi is getting his butt sued.
He will lose this.
He will lose Obama Care in the SCOTUS next month.
He will look like a serial looser going into the fall.

Great strategy for the smartest man in the world. (NOT)

The Rock on May 21, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Show me one instance where the USCCB officially endorsed either the House or Senate versions of the healthcare bill.

steebo77 on May 21, 2012 at 2:41 PM

Forgot to quote ^^?
And as you say: quit lying.

Fenris on May 21, 2012 at 2:58 PM

That letter endorses “health care reform,” not any specific proposal or bill, let alone Obamacare. Quit lying.

steebo77 on May 21, 2012 at 2:54 PM

Now, you are just resorting to BS. That letter was written in the context of the ObamaCare legislative process, and clearly stated the Bishops support for the process and the resulting bill minus abortion coverage. Being intellectually dishonest, as you are, isn’t going to get us anywhere.

Catholic support for government money flowing to Catholic hospitals is “longstanding”, just ad the Bishops said. They were naive. Now they’ve discovered the cost of their naiveté, and are beginning to fight.

Well and good. But let’s not impute noble motives to their fundamental dishonesty: first they were in favor of it and now they are against it. The only thing that matters is that they are finally fighting, though I would appreciate some humility from them and some recognition that their willingness to seize others liberty is what got them into this mess.

MTF on May 21, 2012 at 3:03 PM

Excellent job, Ed. Thank you.

tuffy on May 21, 2012 at 3:07 PM

The bishops should send the word down that the case must be at least mentioned every couple of weeks in the homily (this might begin to address the catechetical problem) and ought to be in every weekly bulletin. It’s easy for folks to forget when it’s not part of lives and this will keep the political pressure on the Dog Eater.

edshepp on May 21, 2012 at 1:53 PM

You don’t know how much I wished the Catholic Church would take your advice.

thuja on May 21, 2012 at 2:57 PM

I can only speak for my parish, but we get this message loud and clear every week in the homily at Mass. Our priests are very strong in their denouncement of this attack on religious freedom. We’ve also had letters and recordings from the Bishop in the same vein read at Mass regularly.

Trafalgar on May 21, 2012 at 3:08 PM

Fenris on May 21, 2012 at 2:57 PM

Congressional action on health care reform which protects human life and dignity and serves the poor and vulnerable as a moral imperative and an urgent national priority.

Obamacare, or Obamacare less the abortion funding and mandates

steebo77 on May 21, 2012 at 3:13 PM

Obamacare, or Obamacare less the abortion funding and mandates

steebo77 on May 21, 2012 at 3:13 PM

Okay, so just what process were they referring to when they said “this entire process”?

The group goes on to say, “The Conference will remain vigilant and involved through this entire process to assure that these essential provisions are maintained and included in the final legislation…

You’re just being silly if you say it wasn’t ObamaCare. And you’re being naive if you think Obama didn’t intend it to pay for abortions all along.

Fenris on May 21, 2012 at 3:22 PM

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.

St. Thomas had to be killed – can’t have a lawyer with principles you know. It’s pretty much an oxymoron anymore.

woodNfish on May 21, 2012 at 3:23 PM

Historical Catholic vote.

Looks like things balanced out more or less in the 90′s. But for generations before, and in 2008 – well…you helped bring this mess on yourselves.

oldroy on May 21, 2012 at 3:24 PM

I didn’t say that they endorsed the final versions. I quite clearly said they endorsed ObamaCare if they could get their pet exemptions. Your own link says the same! Here’s another

Fenris on May 21, 2012 at 2:57 PM

That link says they endorsed the amendment, not the underlying bill.

steebo77 on May 21, 2012 at 3:25 PM

Okay, so just what process were they referring to when they said “this entire process”?

Fenris on May 21, 2012 at 3:22 PM

They didn’t say they endorsed the process. They said they would remain vigilant throughout the process.

remain vigilant throughout ≠ endorse

steebo77 on May 21, 2012 at 3:26 PM

Well and good. But let’s not impute noble motives to their fundamental dishonesty: first they were in favor of it and now they are against it

MTF on May 21, 2012 at 3:03 PM

Or, as long as someone else pays the bill, and they get to have their own way, they were OK with it.

oldroy on May 21, 2012 at 3:27 PM

Now, you are just resorting to BS. That letter was written in the context of the ObamaCare legislative process, and clearly stated the Bishops support for the process and the resulting bill minus abortion coverage. Being intellectually dishonest, as you are, isn’t going to get us anywhere.

MTF on May 21, 2012 at 3:03 PM

The letter did not state support for the process. It stated that the Bishops would remain vigilant throughout the entire process. The letter did not state support for the bill. The letter stated support for certain provisions of the bill.

steebo77 on May 21, 2012 at 3:29 PM

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

Your first claim isn’t true.

Use, possession, or transportation of peyote

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the use, possession, or transportation of peyote by an Indian for bona fide traditional ceremonial purposes in connection with the practice of a traditional Indian religion is lawful, and shall not be prohibited by the United States or any State. No Indian shall be penalized or discriminated against on the basis of such use, possession or transportation, including, but not limited to, denial of otherwise applicable benefits under public assistance programs.

—42 U.S.C. 1996A(b).

As for your second claim, several religions also frown on “traditional” healthcare for kids; the Christian Scientisrts are the most notable example but there are also some obscure smaller religions that do the same.

Del Dolemonte on May 21, 2012 at 3:29 PM

Obama cares more about religion in Guantanamo than in America.

sdbatboy on May 21, 2012 at 3:33 PM

Looks like things balanced out more or less in the 90′s. But for generations before, and in 2008 – well…you helped bring this mess on yourselves.

oldroy on May 21, 2012 at 3:24 PM

Interesting, although everything I’ve seen indicates that Bush Sr. won the Catholic vote over Dukakis in 1988. Back to my earlier post on this, Catholic voting patterns have reflected popular vote patterns consistently since 1980 and the majority of Catholics voted for Reagan twice, Bush Sr., and Bush Jr. in 2004.

Trafalgar on May 21, 2012 at 3:46 PM

The letter did not state support for the process. It stated that the Bishops would remain vigilant throughout the entire process. The letter did not state support for the bill. The letter stated support for certain provisions of the bill.

steebo77 on May 21, 2012 at 3:29 PM

Hey, since you’re working so hard to deny Catholic endorsement of ObamaCare, possibly there’s something we can agree on: The government takeover of healthcare is a horrible idea!

Fenris on May 21, 2012 at 3:50 PM

Muslims get a waiver is the executive branch of the government endorsing one religion over another religion for granting a waiver to one religion and not another?

ESTABLISHMENT CLAUSE.
Together with the Free Exercise Clause (“… or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”), these two clauses make up what are called the “religion clauses” of the First Amendment.[1]
The establishment clause has generally been interpreted to prohibit 1) the establishment of a national religion by Congress, or 2) the preference by the U.S. government of one religion over another. The first approach is called the “separation” or “no aid” interpretation, while the second approach is called the “non-preferential” or “accommodation” interpretation. The accommodation interpretation prohibits Congress from preferring one religion over another, but does not prohibit the government’s entry into religious domain to make accommodations in order to achieve the purposes of the Free Exercise Clause.

Dr Evil on May 21, 2012 at 3:51 PM

I’m a little nonplussed by the Catholic Hate, here..sure the Church has been very liberal on a host of social issues, possibly even wrongly so. But rather than saying, “Good, let this be a teachable moment.” Instead it’s like, “Good now go and rot, you scoundrels.”

As I said before, I hope this can be a moment when the Church (The Laity and Clergy) become aware of the dangers of Leviathan. Again, teach people…it’s what Jesus would do, He wouldn’t be saying, “Neener-neener”

JFKY on May 21, 2012 at 3:52 PM

I’m a little nonplussed by the Catholic Hate, here..sure the Church has been very liberal on a host of social issues, possibly even wrongly so. But rather than saying, “Good, let this be a teachable moment.” Instead it’s like, “Good now go and rot, you scoundrels.”

As I said before, I hope this can be a moment when the Church (The Laity and Clergy) become aware of the dangers of Leviathan. Again, teach people…it’s what Jesus would do, He wouldn’t be saying, “Neener-neener”

JFKY on May 21, 2012 at 3:52 PM

You call me a Leninist and have the temerity to complain about hate? I don’t hate Catholics, but how about you ally with me and advocate for true charity and limited government, rather than expect me to ally with socialists trying to tweak a fundamentally flawed and unbiblical system?

Fenris on May 21, 2012 at 3:58 PM

Hey, since you’re working so hard to deny Catholic endorsement of ObamaCare,

I still maintain that the USCCB never endorsed ObamaCare, but rather the vague, amorphous idea of “healthcare reform,” with some specific contours outlined. That’s not to say that certain bishops didn’t go further, that the USCCB hasn’t endorsed “universal healthcare,” or that the USCCB shouldn’t have opposed the various bills outright.

possibly there’s something we can agree on: The government takeover of healthcare is a horrible idea!

Fenris on May 21, 2012 at 3:50 PM

True dat.

steebo77 on May 21, 2012 at 4:00 PM

Go get’em!!!

I’m not a big fan of the Catholic Church, but I hope they win this one. And hopefully this issue will finally convince the masses of Catholics that the Democrats are NOT their friends.

dentarthurdent on May 21, 2012 at 4:00 PM

Catholics of America: the wolf is at your door… If you don’t take a hard stand now and VOTE in the primaries and in November, do not be surprised when your religious freedoms are constantly eroded away… YOU are the first target…

“What are you prepared to do?”

Khun Joe on May 21, 2012 at 4:04 PM

You call me a Leninist and have the temerity to complain about hate? I don’t hate Catholics, but how about you ally with me and advocate for true charity and limited government, rather than expect me to ally with socialists trying to tweak a fundamentally flawed and unbiblical system

I said you’re using a LENINIST STRATEGY, not that you’re a Leninist…you don’t like it, too bad. It is called The Worse the Better and it’s the approach you advocate. Further I am perfectly happy with repeal or the over-turning of ObamaCare, HOWEVER. It might not be over-turned, and until it’s repealed the Church has to put up with these intolerable infringements. So until then, I support the idea of a church any church opposing the HHS Mandate and winning.

JFKY on May 21, 2012 at 4:07 PM

Ooh, the comments are ugly at HuffPo. Web comments aren’t the most accurate thing to go on, but if I were a Catholic Democrat reading those comments, I would dump the Dem party right now. They are showing a lot of hate towards religion in general too over there.

I’m not sure that this helps them electorally. That coalition Obama is trying to cobble together is looking smaller and smaller.

juliesa on May 21, 2012 at 4:11 PM

What you say you said:

I said you’re using a LENINIST STRATEGY, not that you’re a Leninist…you don’t like it, too bad..

JFKY on May 21, 2012 at 4:07 PM

What you actually said:

… Interesting, a Leninist, I see…

JFKY on May 21, 2012 at 2:00 PM

Fenris on May 21, 2012 at 4:13 PM

This is monumental! The ramifications will be felt for years. I predict Obama will lose .017% of the Catholic vote and the Dems in general will lose .013%.

mankai on May 21, 2012 at 4:23 PM

What you actually said:

… Interesting, a Leninist, I see…
JFKY on May 21, 2012 at 2:00 PM

All you had to say was, “Whaddya mean? I’m no Leninist.” And my response would have been simply to say, you espouse his strategy….and as far as STRATEGY goes you ARE a Leninist, aren’t you? The worse the better…you don’t have to be a supporter of the Unitary Party State Vanguard Socialist Party to be a Leninist.

JFKY on May 21, 2012 at 4:23 PM

Perhaps Catholics today may want to recall St. Thomas More — the patron saint of lawyers, who… tortured people in his home and had countless others imprisoned without charge as he chased Tyndale to the flames.

mankai on May 21, 2012 at 4:24 PM

You’re problem with being a “Leninist” is:
1) On a Conservative website it’s not a popular moniker; and
2) It might force you to realize that yours is an compromising position, advocated by another uncompromising person, and geeeeee wouldn’t want to have to rethink our general strategy.

JFKY on May 21, 2012 at 4:26 PM

All you had to say was, “Whaddya mean? I’m no Leninist.” And my response would have been simply to say, you espouse his strategy….and as far as STRATEGY goes you ARE a Leninist, aren’t you? The worse the better…you don’t have to be a supporter of the Unitary Party State Vanguard Socialist Party to be a Leninist.

JFKY on May 21, 2012 at 4:23 PM

So you admit you’re wrong, but in the most offensive way you can think of. And I already answered your argument above, no need to repeat it when you didn’t respond the first time. Anyway, I’ve got to go.

Fenris on May 21, 2012 at 4:30 PM

do their plans cover viagra? if so, why?
why do these institutions continue to accept federal funds?

Pragmatic on May 21, 2012 at 4:30 PM

As an ND alum[67 BC],,I think Jenkins is all posture. They were glad to bring O to speak and Jenkins was all falling all over himself to kiss O’s ring instead of the Bishop that advised against it. I really do not think that the CC has the stones to go through keeping hospitals , schools, soup kitchens, etc, and people going to jail in defiance of O and Seb. The concept of going to the streets and maybe fighting for our rights is anathema to most people today. “It can’t happen here” is the mantra. Why not?? It most certainly can,,,might,, and maybe should. The admin is pushing for some type of violence,,why let it happen on their terms. I think we are sitting on a powder keg and this summer may just help it to blow.

retiredeagle on May 21, 2012 at 4:33 PM

Perhaps Catholics today may want to recall St. Thomas More — the patron saint of lawyers, who… tortured people in his home and had countless others imprisoned without charge as he chased Tyndale to the flames.

mankai on May 21, 2012 at 4:24 PM

No propaganda like old, discredited propaganda. The claims of torture were made-up during his trial. He denied them and no proof was offered.

And of the prosecution of the followers of Tyndale: That was ordered by King Henry VIII. He disliked the radically edited scripture that Tyndale produced.

theCork on May 21, 2012 at 4:33 PM

Ooh, the comments are ugly at HuffPo. Web comments aren’t the most accurate thing to go on, but if I were a Catholic Democrat reading those comments, I would dump the Dem party right now. They are showing a lot of hate towards religion in general too over there.

juliesa on May 21, 2012 at 4:11 PM

It is important to differentiate between Catholics and practicing Catholics. The former, in particular, have shown that they have the ability to forgive the Democrat Party for virtually anything.

Happy Nomad on May 21, 2012 at 4:35 PM

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