HHS mandate

Roman Catholic Archdiocese Wins Significant Ruling Against HHS Mandate

by Sara Noble

Source: Barbara Samuells [correction made to original introduction]

The Obama administration’s HHS Mandate met a significant defeat December 5, 2012, in a case brought by the NY Archdiocese.

The Obama administration’s HHS mandate requires all employers with over 50 employees to provide contraception and abortion inducing drugs as part of the health coverage for their employees.  Many religious institutions, schools, hospitals, and charities are suing the government because the mandate dictates that they violate their deeply held religious beliefs in direct denial of first amendment protection of religious freedom.

The government has given religious institutions one year delay so they must implement the mandate by Aug.1, 2013.

Those lawsuits were being denied hearing because the government claimed that the organizations had not yet been harmed by the mandate and, besides, the government, definitely, positively and absolutely promised to change the regulations before Aug. 1, 2013, when these organizations could possibly be harmed.

That’s equivalent to a man being executed on August 1st, 2013 but not being able to appeal until August 1st, 2013 because he’s not facing imminent injury. That man better hope the execution is scheduled for late in the day and not nine in the morning

A New York federal judge, Brian Cogan, is having none of the administration’s long winded assurances. Judge Cogan has ruled that the case by the NY Archdiocese could go forward because there is every certain expectation that the harm could happen since the rule is final and the HHS over many months has made none of the changes it has promised.

For Immediate Release: December 6, 2012 Media Contact: Emily Hardman, 202.349.7224 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            202.349.7224     end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Washington, D.C. — In a landmark ruling against the HHS Mandate, yesterday a federal judge ruled against the government holding that the government’s supposed “safe harbor” was inadequate to protect religious organizations from suffering imminent harm.

Read more here:


Is anti-Catholicism on the rise?

by Steven Kokx

As  of the writing of this column, 43 Catholic organizations, including Franciscan  University and Ave Maria University — two schools that stopped  offering health coverage because of the reforms included in the president’s  health care plan — have filed lawsuits  against the Obama administration for infringing on their religious freedom.  Even the University of Notre Dame, a school  that bestowed an honorary degree on the president in 2009, has joined its  Catholic brethren in their fight.

Similar  to the media’s decision to not  report on the half-million or so protesters who attended the March for Life  rally this past January, outlets like ABC, NBC, and CBS — all of whom spent  hours on end drooling over comments made by a 30-year-old law student — have  largely ignored  what has become the largest legal defense of religious liberty in American  history.

“Evidence  of big media’s bias against religion is beyond dispute,” writes  Cal Thomas, a Catholic commentator.  Noting the countless number of attacks  on Mitt Romney’s Mormonism, Thomas concludes that “any faith attached to a  conservative agenda is to be ridiculed, stereotyped and misrepresented [by the  media].  Islam is a notable exception.”

Case  in point: political commentator and comedian Jon Stewart, host of Comedy  Central’s The Daily Show, recently skewered the Catholic Church when he  showed a picture of the Virgin Mary between  the legs of a nude woman.  It’s not the first time he’s done something  offensive, and it certainly won’t be the last.  But according to the  Catholic League, a nonprofit organization who is demanding an apology for the  stunt, Mr. Stewart has a long  history of slamming Catholicism in particular.  In the past, he has  compared the pope to the grand wizard of the KKK, questioned whether or not Mary  and Joseph had oral sex, and claimed that a Norwegian gunman who killed over 70  innocent people was simply living out his Christian faith.

Not  everyone is offended by such words, though.  Sandi Villarreal, associate  web editor for the left-leaning Christian website Sojourners, thinks  Christians should simply turn  the other cheek when others mock the Church.  I don’t disagree with her  sentiments entirely; religious Americans should be lighthearted about certain  issues.  But there is a difference between self-deprecation and allowing  oneself to be persecuted.  When Catholics let others make fun of what they  believe on a regular basis, they act as enablers and become complicit in the  culture’s acceptance of values antithetical to the ones preached by Jesus  Christ.

Not  long ago, ABC decided to air a program originally entitled Good Christian  Bitches.  Though the show changed its name and was canceled  due to low ratings, it proved Cal Thomas’s point about the media’s double  standard when it comes to religion.  Could you imagine a sitcom entitled Angry Muslim Clerics or Cheap Jewish Rabbis?  Such  programs would be offensive, especially to members of the Islamic and Jewish  faiths.  The media, however, trashes the teachings of the  1.2-billion-member Catholic Church on a daily basis.

Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/06/is_anti-catholicism_on_the_rise.html#ixzz1wnXi6d00

Preserve Religious Liberty: Empowering Congregations

As the first of our Freedoms comes under direct attack by the HHS mandate Americans everywhere face losing the religious liberty our founders sought to protect.  Patriots across this nation have yet another challenge…to preserve that most basic Freedom of Religion as the rightful legacy of all generations of free Americans.

In our churches and synagogues too many citizens don’t know the details or even the existence of this mandate.  They are unaware of the destruction to our religious liberty effected by forcing all employers to provide contraception, sterilization and abortion inducing drugs to their employees.  No exception is made for the conscientious objection of employers like the Catholic hospitals, charities and schools even though the well known  doctrines of the Catholic Church would be violated.

You can help to preserve religious liberty by working to initiate, in your own church or synagogue, a group whose purpose is to advocate for freedom of religion.  The group would advocate for no party or candidate but would be focused on educating and empowering your faith community about our first amendment rights, the details of the HHS mandate and its violation of America’s religious liberty.

Below are files of suggested materials to initiate this group. The files cover talking to your minister, pastor or rabbi about forming an advocacy group, the materials for an initial meeting, a handout for the meeting and talking points for Freedom of Religion.

Some groups have already been started and are planning second and third meetings. The concern, determination and resourcefulness of those attending is turning into actions to educate others and to determine what actions will best preserve this most basic constitutional right.

Patriots know that the attack on one church’s liberty is an attack on all.  If this mandate is allowed to stand no faith, no freedom will be secure.  As our soldier sons and daughters stand in harm’s way  for our freedoms we must stand here for America’s Freedom of Religion.

Download below these proven, simple instructions to start a group in your church. Also find a manual of these and additional resources to work within your congregation at:

Advocating for Religious Freedom KR Proposal to Initiate a Group

Advocating For Religious Freedom KR Initial Meeting Suggested Outline

Advocating For Religious Freedom KR Talking points

Advocating for Religious Freedom KR Handout








Rep. Ryan: ‘We Have Pursued Solidarity but Abused Subsidiarity’

by Charlotte Hays

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., chairman of the House Budget Committee, has said that  his cost-cutting federal budget was inspired by Catholic social teaching.

But this didn’t sit well with some Catholics.

Sixty Catholic theologians and activists issued a statement saying that  Ryan’s budget is “morally indefensible and betrays Catholic principles of  solidarity, just taxation and a commitment to the common good.” And nearly 90  Jesuit scholars and other faculty members and administrators at Georgetown  University sent Ryan a letter saying that his budget “appears to reflect the  values of your favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, rather than the Gospel of Jesus  Christ.”

In addition, a U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ committee sent a letter  to Congress critical of the Ryan budget.

But Ryan, 42, was relaxed, in shirtsleeves and in a good mood, when Register  correspondent Charlotte Hays spoke with him in his office in Washington a few  hours after he spoke April 26 at Georgetown.

Ryan earned a degree in economics and political science from Miami  University in Ohio and is serving his seventh term in the House. He and his  wife, Janna, live in Janesville, Wis., with their children.


You are being accused of “mangling” Catholic social teaching, or turning  centuries of Catholic social teaching on its ear. I wonder if what’s going on  here is a fight over who owns Catholic social teaching. Is there a monopoly on  it?

Right! And there isn’t a monopoly. That’s my point. I can no more claim  exclusive justification for my economic and political views than a liberal can  for theirs within the Church’s social teaching. This is a matter for prudential  judgment left to the laity to exercise their discretion. People of good will can  disagree on these things. You have these hits come at you — like that letter — but we should raise the tone of the debate. We shouldn’t just try to shoot the  messenger and try to nullify the notion that there are other ways in which to  implement Church teaching. That just does a disservice to the kind of debate we  need to have.

I don’t think liberals can claim exclusive jurisdiction to Church teaching  the way they interpret it. Nor can conservatives. There is plenty of room for  prudential judgment in between.


Which Catholic thinkers and documents have influenced you?

The magisterium, the Compendium [of the Social Doctrine of the Church], the  encyclicals — you know, the social magisterium is basically the encyclicals and  papal letters. People try to paste different epistemological views on me, but if  you are going to try to tell me what my philosophy is or what my motivating  philosopher is, it would be Thomas Aquinas.

I just finished one of George Weigel’s books that I really liked, but  instead of saying a particular theologian or writer, I’d say the magisterium  itself, the Compendium, my own prayers. And I believe that the founding  principles, the Founders, the American idea, created a society that is well  within the political expression of Catholic social teaching.


Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/rep.-ryan-we-have-pursued-solidarity-but-abused-subsidiarity#ixzz1u42nDF00

The Catholic Bishops Will Not Abandon Freedom of Religion for Tax Exemptions

by Sara Noble

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty

Our First, Most Cherished Liberty

A Statement on Religious Liberty

We are Catholics. We are Americans. We are proud to be both, grateful for the gift of faith which is ours as Christian disciples, and grateful for the gift of liberty which is ours as American citizens. To be Catholic and American should mean not having to choose one over the other. Our allegiances are distinct, but they need not be contradictory, and should instead be complementary. That is the teaching of our Catholic faith, which obliges us to work together with fellow citizens for the common good of all who live in this land. That is the vision of our founding and our Constitution, which guarantees citizens of all religious faiths the right to contribute to our common life together.

Freedom is not only for Americans, but we think of it as something of our special inheritance, fought for at a great price, and a heritage to be guarded now. We are stewards of this gift, not only for ourselves but for all nations and peoples who yearn to be free. Catholics in America have discharged this duty of guarding freedom admirably for many generations.

In 1887, when the archbishop of Baltimore, James Gibbons, was made the second American cardinal, he defended the American heritage of religious liberty during his visit to Rome to receive the red hat. Speaking of the great progress the Catholic Church had made in the United States, he attributed it to the “civil liberty we enjoy in our enlightened republic.” Indeed, he made a bolder claim, namely that “in the genial atmosphere of liberty [the Church] blossoms like a rose.”1

From well before Cardinal Gibbons, Catholics in America have been advocates for religious liberty, and the landmark teaching of the Second Vatican Council on religious liberty was influenced by the American experience. It is among the proudest boasts of the Church on these shores. We have been staunch defenders of religious liberty in the past. We have a solemn duty to discharge that duty today.

We need, therefore, to speak frankly with each other when our freedoms are threatened. Now is such a time. As Catholic bishops and American citizens, we address an urgent summons to our fellow Catholics and fellow Americans to be on guard, for religious liberty is under attack, both at home and abroad.

This has been noticed both near and far. Pope Benedict XVI recently spoke about his worry that religious liberty in the United States is being weakened. He called it the “most cherished of American freedoms”—and indeed it is. All the more reason to heed the warning of the Holy Father, a friend of America and an ally in the defense of freedom, in his recent address to American bishops:

Of particular concern are certain attempts being made to limit that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion. Many of you have pointed out that concerted efforts have been made to deny the right of conscientious objection on the part of Catholic individuals and institutions with regard to cooperation in intrinsically evil practices. Others have spoken to me of a worrying tendency to reduce religious freedom to mere freedom of worship without guarantees of respect for freedom of conscience.

Here once more we see the need for an engaged, articulate and well-formed Catholic laity endowed with a strong critical sense vis-à-vis the dominant culture and with the courage to counter a reductive secularism which would delegitimize the Church’s participation in public debate about the issues which are determining the future of American society.

Religious Liberty Under Attack—Concrete Examples

Is our most cherished freedom truly under threat? Sadly, it is. This is not a theological or legal dispute without real world consequences. Consider the following:

HHS mandate for contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs. The mandate of the Department of Health and Human Services has received wide attention and has been met with our vigorous and united opposition. In an unprecedented way, the federal government will both force religious institutions to facilitate and fund a product contrary to their own moral teaching and purport to define which religious institutions are “religious enough” to merit protection of their religious liberty. These features of the “preventive services” mandate amount to an unjust law. As Archbishop-designate

William Lori of Baltimore, Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, testified to Congress: “This is not a matter of whether contraception may be prohibited by the government. This is not even a matter of whether contraception may be supported by the government. Instead, it is a matter of whether religious people and institutions may be forced by the government to provide coverage for contraception or sterilization, even if that violates their religious beliefs.”3

State immigration laws. Several states have recently passed laws that forbid what the government deems “harboring” of undocumented immigrants—and what the Church deems Christian charity and pastoral care to those immigrants. Perhaps the most egregious of these is in Alabama, where the Catholic bishops, in cooperation with the Episcopal and Methodist bishops of Alabama, filed suit against the law:

Read more here:


Cardinal Dolan: Obama Admin Lectured Bishops to Listen to ‘Enlightened’ Voices in Private Mtg.

by Billy Hallowell

Over the past week, the media firestorm surrounding Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke and Rush Limbaugh has eclipsed the larger issue of religious liberty that stands at the forefront of the contraception mandate.

With the distracting debate raging, Fluke has received the majority of the media attention surrounding the subject. New developments in the faith world, unfortunately, have gone unnoticed. Of particular note is a public letter that was penned on March 2 by Cardinal Timothy Dolan (also president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops).

The letter recaps a bizarre conversation U.S. Conference staff recently had with White House officials regarding the mandate. In fact, Dolan seems to allege that government officials lectured Catholic leaders about church teaching, writing:

At a recent meeting between staff of the bishops’ conference and the White House staff, our staff members asked directly whether the broader concerns of religious freedom—that is, revisiting the straight-jacketing mandates, or broadening the maligned exemption—are all off the table. They were informed that they are.  So much for “working out the wrinkles.”  Instead, they advised the bishops’ conference that we should listen to the “enlightened” voices of accommodation, such as the recent, hardly surprising yet terribly unfortunate editorial in America.  The White House seems to think we bishops simply do not know or understand Catholic teaching and so, taking a cue from its own definition of religious freedom, now has nominated its own handpicked official Catholic teachers.
Dolan went on to explain that this situation is “hardly partisan” and that church officials will continue to meet with Republicans and Democrats, alike, to address the issue of religious freedom.
Read more here:
Cardinal Dolan Pens Letter Alleging Obama Admin Lectured on Church Teaching
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