The first amendment was never meant to stop religion from influencing government. The founding fathers wanted to ensure that the federal government wouldn’t have undue influence/pressure on religion. Especially at the state level where 6 of the 13 states had and maintained a state religion.
Now the courts are about to rule on the validity of the first amendment. At issue is Obamacare and the ruling HHS ruling that people of faith who object to certain practices such as day-after abortion pills, sterilization and contraception can be forced to purchase insurance that provides those services for free.
Today a mother-lode of lawsuits were filed against the Obama administration and some of its officials.
The archdiocese of New York, headed by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archdiocese of Washington, D.C., headed by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the University of Notre Dame, and 40 other Catholic dioceses and organizations around the country announced on Monday that they are suing the Obama administration for violating their freedom of religion, which is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution.
The dioceses and organizations, in different combinations, are filing 12 different lawsuits filed in federal courts around the country.
The Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. has established a special website–preservereligiousfreedom.org–to explain it lawsuit and present news and development concerning it.
“This lawsuit is about an unprecedented attack by the federal government on one of America’s most cherished freedoms: the freedom to practice one’s religion without government interference,” the archdiocese says on the website. “It is not about whether people have access to certain services; it is about whether the government may force religious institutions and individuals to facilitate and fund services which violate their religious beliefs.”
The suits filed by the Catholic organizations focus on the regulation that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced last August and finalized in January that requires virtually all health-care plans in the United States to cover sterilizations and all Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptives, including those that can cause abortions.
The progressives will claim that this lawsuit is an attempt to destroy women’s rights. Nothing can be further from the truth. These Catholic institutions are not trying to stop the practices such as day-after abortion pills, sterilization and contraception, they just don’t want to be forced to pay for services that run contra to their religious teachings. This is exactly what the first amendment is about.
Cardinal Dolan’s New York Archdiocese filed suit today in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of New York. Joining the archdiocese as plaintiffs in the suit are the Catholic Health Care Sytem, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre, Catholic Charities of Rockville Centre, and Catholic Health Services of Long Island.
In their suit, these groups name HHS Secretary Sebelius, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and their departments as defendants.
The archdiocese of Washington, D.C., is being joined in its lawsuit by Catholic Charities of the Washington Archdiocese, the Consortium of Catholic Academies of the Archdiocese of Washington (which includes four parochial schools), Archbishop Carroll High School, and the Catholic University of America.
“This morning, the Archdiocese of Washington filed a lawsuit to challenge the mandate, recently issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, that fundamentally redefines the nation’s long-standing definition of religious ministry and requires our religious organizations to provide their employees with coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization, even if doing so violates their religious beliefs,” Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington said in an open letter posted online this morning. “Just as our faith compels us to uphold the liberty and dignity of others, so too, we must defend our own.”
People of all faiths should be supporting the Catholic Church on this issue. If the federal government can force the church to pay for services abhorrent to their practices, what’s next? Will they ban circumcision as they tried in San Fransisco last year? Will they ban Kosher slaughter so Jews cannot get Kosher meat. If Catholics are denied the ability to practice their religion without interference from the government…we all are in all in danger.