Skip to comments.New York Times: We also know better about religious fidelity than a bunch of nuns
Posted on 01/03/2014 10:14:52 AM PST by SeekAndFind
Everyone, it seems, knows better about how to live one’s faith in the public square than the nuns who have to facilitate contraception coverage for people who are sworn to celibacy. The New York Times editorial board followed the White House lead on arguing that the nuns aren’t really violating Catholic doctrine by facilitating access to contraception, despite what they themselves believe. And even if it did, the requirement doesn’t place a big burden on religious expression:
A careful review of the matter should persuade Justice Sotomayor and her Supreme Court colleagues, who may also become involved now, that the alleged threat to religious liberty is nonexistent and the stay should be lifted while litigation proceeds in the lower courts. …
The Colorado nuns group, the Little Sisters of the Poor, is a religiously affiliated organization that is exempt from the health laws requirement that employer insurance plans cover contraception without a co-pay. The audacious complaint in this case is against the requirement that such groups sign a short form certifying that they have religious objections to providing coverage for contraceptive services, a copy of which would go to their third-party insurance administrator. The nuns say that minor requirement infringes on religious exercise in violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Under that law, the federal government may not substantially burden a persons exercise of religion unless the government demonstrates that the burden is the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling interest. The certification requirement, an accommodation fashioned by the Obama administration to bolster the protection of religious exercise without depriving women of an important benefit, does not rise to a substantial burden. A federal trial court denied a preliminary injunction on that basis and a federal court of appeals declined to issue an injunction pending appeal, though decisions in some similar cases have come out differently.
This, however, has the burden issue backward — and always has. The question here is why the federal government has imposed this requirement at all, and why it meets a state interest so substantial that it forces other people to pay for contraception, including employers and schools. Despite the scare-mongering from the White House, there isn’t any difficulty for American women (or men) in accessing contraception. The CDC performed a long-range study of unplanned pregnancy, from 1982 to 2008, and found no evidence that access to contraception contributed to it at all. Contraceptive use in the United States is virtually universal among women of reproductive age: 99 percent of all women who had ever had intercourse had used at least one contraceptive method in their lifetime, the study concluded, and didn’t even bother to list lack of access as a contributing factor.
If the federal government wants to expand access to contraception, they can offer it directly — and in fact, they already do. Title X programs, which HHS has managed for decades, have routinely been funded with bipartisan support in Congress to ensure that poor women have access to reproductive choices. For most women, though, birth control is inexpensive and easily accessible, as the CDC found when it studied the issue of unplanned pregnancy. Just as with any other life choices — say, for instance, food — the assumption is that women and men will make responsible choices with the wages they earn for the lifestyle they wish to lead, and that the federal government won’t force their employers to directly subsidize those choices above the wages and benefits they offer in a free marketplace.
This demonstrates the absurdity of what happens when government mandates that the burden for lifestyle choices falls on those other than the individual him/herself. People who oppose those lifestyle choices object to having their pockets picked to fund them, and we end up telling nuns to cover contraception despite their celibacy. And then, when they object to facilitating access to contraception because of their intention to live their religious beliefs in their own actions, we get the New York Times and the White House insisting that the nuns don’t know how to do so. Had we just left things alone and acknowledged that birth control choices were only the business of the individual, this absurdity wouldn’t have arisen in the first place. Instead, the government decided to solve a non-problem by the most burdensome method possible.
The Department of Justice responded similarly today, but also brings up an issue of standing (which the NYT mentions as well) that is more responsive:
The employer-applicants here are eligible for religious accommodations set out in the regulations that exempt them from any requirement to contract, arrange, pay, or refer for contraceptive coverage, Verrilli wrote.
They need only self-certify that they are non-profit organizations that hold themselves out as religious and have religious objections to providing coverage for contraceptive services.
Religiously oriented nonprofits around the country have objected to the requirement and said it violates protections granted by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
They contend that if they sign the self-certification letters, that makes them complicit in the governments plan to provide contraceptive services, because the law provides that third-party insurers will still provide the coverage.
But Verrilli said the Little Sisters case provides a weak test case. Their third-party insurer is a church plan that the government contends cannot be required to provide contraceptive services.
Most of the nonprofits challenging the new requirement have received injunctions while they pursue their litigation. No appeals court has yet ruled on the merits of their arguments.
That is the ERISA legislation, which exempts church groups from various requirements. However, the HHS definition of a church group in relation to the “compromise” is also at issue. That definition required the groups to primarily employ members of their own faith, and to primarily serve members of their own faith. The Little Sisters of the Poor do not discriminate in their service to the community, which is another issue that courts will have to decide. We’ll see if Sonia Sotomayor buys the DoJ explanation and lifts the injunction, or decides to put the whole mess on hold until all of the issues reach the Supreme Court.
Update: Kathryn Jean Lopez wonders: “What does the administration have against the Little Sisters of the Poor?”
I’d like to turn some of the nuns I grew up with loose on the NYT editorial staff.....they were deadly with those rulers!
He is helping the Muslims, again ?
All we’re asking you Christians to do is burn a little pinch of incense in front of the Emperor’s statue. You don’t even have to believe he’s a god. Now how hard is that?
>> NYT: the alleged threat to religious liberty is nonexistent
Is this a NYT quote from the late 1930s concerning German Jews?
The Obama justice department’s acknowledgment of a non-profit religious entity’s right to get an exemption is a red herring to distract us from the fact that businesses will still be forced to pay for abortion and contraception even if the owners object to the practice on religious grounds.
Let’s keep the focus of this fight where it belongs — on the religious freedom of individuals.
Can you believe this?
It’s not like the nuns banning contraceptives - they just don’t want to pay for them.
1) Users should pay for their own contraceptives
2) With all the cr*p this govt pays for, they can pay for contraceptives if they think it’s so important.
3) But it isn’t the cost to the govt, it’s the govt wanting to control religions (other than the political party islam masquerading as a religion of course), especially the most powerful of the Christian denominations.
Who cares about the religious freedom yadda yadda law? How about the Supreme Law, the Constitution?
A Penguin with a ruler is a deadly combination!
The bigger question is why does someone have to be a nun or a priest to even be considered for an “allowance” for religious freedom?
These Leftists are fascists.
“Leftists are fascists”
When they try to round us up for the camps, they’ll probably want to sew Yellow Crosses on the tunics to identify us as dangerous Christians......
Muslims, Christian Scientists, American Indians, Amish plus a few other minor sects are exempt. However, each INDIVIDUAL belonging to these groups has to INDIVIDUALLY apply for his/her own exemption. He/she has to jump through a lot of government hoops....verifications, affidavits, bureaucratic red tape and the like....in order to qualify. But it can and will be accomplished depending on the tenacity and cleverness of the applicant.
What about Christians obtaining exemptions due to, for instance, a moral or religious conflict with publicly-funded abortions?
Ha, not likely at all. Christian consciences obviously are not on a superior par with Muslim consciences.
However, successful pleadings before the highest courts in the land on constitutional grounds may throw this whole train wreck into the junk yard of history.. Eventually, the Supremes will decide this exemption issue which reeks of favoritism, discrimination and illegality.
But one has to ask oneself...."what will John Roberts do?"....... hmmm?
Whatever he's told, if he knows what's good for him...
Okay now tell me how many times as Chief Justice Roberts agreed with the liberals?
Its not about birth control, its about control.
These are the same people, I’ll remind you, that start doing Linda Blair head spins every time they’re subpoenaed to talk about their work in court.
I no longer have any confidence in the SCOTUS. I suspect that people of moral conscience are going to have to risk jail - as they face in all totalitarian countries. If the 'church' is unwilling to do that then it is the basic end of religious freedom and the Christian faith in the U.S.
What we have to recognize is that this will not affect Muslims or other religious sectors. This is aimed at Christians and signals the beginning of establishment of persecution of the Christian faith in this country.
This persecution has been adequately predicted and the pieces are all in place. The fed govt is now designed to exercise favoritism in the prosecution of its laws - and there appears to be no real opposition to this injustice [IRS, DOJ, DHS, EPA, etc., etc., etc.]
OBAMA DESPISES THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AS MUCH AS HE REVERES ISLAM
NOTRE DAME PROFESSOR ON OBAMACARE
THE CHRISTIAN POST ^ | 11/20/2013 | Laura Hollis
Obamacare Should Remind Us We Are Not Subjects, We Are People Laura Hollis is a professor at the University of Notre Dame November 20, 2013
Laura Hollis is a professor at the University of Notre Dame
The unveiling of the dictatorial debacle that is Obamacare absolutely flabbergasts me. It is stunning on so many levels, but the most shocking aspect of it for me is watching millions of free Americans stand idly by while this man, his minions in Congress and his cheerleaders in the press systematically dismantle our Constitution, steal our money, and crush our freedoms.
The President, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid (with no small help from Justice John Roberts) take away our health care, and we allow it.
They take away our insurance, and we allow it.
They take away our doctors, and we allow it.
They charge us thousands of dollars more a year, and we allow it.
They make legal products illegal, and we allow it.
They cripple our businesses, and we allow it. They announce by fiat that we must ignore our most deeply held beliefs and we allow it.
Where is your spine, America ? Yes, I know people are complaining. I read the news on the internet. I read blogs.
I have a Twitter feed. So what? People in the Soviet Union complained. People in Cuba complain. People in China complain (quietly). Complaining isnt the same thing as doing anything about it. In fact, much of the complaining that we hear sounds like resignation: Wow. This sucks. Oh well, this is the way things are. Too bad. Perhaps you need reminding of a few important facts. Here goes:
1. The President is not a king. Barack Obama does not behave like a President, an elected official, someone who realizes that he works for us. He behaves like a king, a dictator someone who believes that his own pronouncements have the force of law, and who thinks he can dispense with the laws enforcement when he deigns to do so. And those of us who object? How dare we? Racists!
And while he moves steadily forward with his plans to fundamentally transform the greatest country in human history, he distracts people with cheap, meaningless trivialities, like free birth control pills! (In fact, lets face it: this administrations odd obsession with sex in general - Birth control! Abortion! Sterilization! Gay guys who play basketball! is just plain weird. Since when did the leader of the free world care so much about how people have sex, who they have it with, and what meds they use when they have it? Does he have nothing more important to concern himself with?)
2. It isnt just a failed software program; it is a failed philosophy. People are marveling that Healthcare.gov was such a spectacular failure. Well, if one is only interested in it as a product launch, Ive explained some of the reasons for that here. But the larger point is that it isnt a software failure, or even a product failure; it is a philosophy failure.
I have said this before: Obama is not a centrist; he is a central planner. And this all of it: the disastrous computer program, the hundreds of millions of dollars wasted, the lies, the manipulation of public opinion, the theft of the publics money and property, and freedom (read insurance, and premiums, and doctors) IS what central planning looks like. The central premise of central planning is that a handful of wunderkinds with your best interests at heart (yeah, right) know better than you whats good for you. The failure of such a premise and the misery it causes have been clear from the dawn of humanity.
Kings and congressmen, dictators and Dear Leaders, potentates, princes and presidents can all fall prey to the same imperial impulses: we know what is good the the people. And they are always wrong.
There is a reason that the only times communism has really been tried have been after wars, revolutions, or coups détat. You have to have complete chaos for people to be willing to accept the garbage that centralized planning produces. Take the Soviet Union , for example. After two wars, famine, and the collapse of the Romanov dynasty, why wouldnt people wait in line for hours to buy size 10 shoes? Or settle for the gray matter that passed for meat in the grocery stores?
But communisms watered-down cousin, socialism, isnt much better. Ask the Venezuelans who cannot get toilet paper.
Toilet paper. ¡Viva la Revolución! Contrary to what so many who believe in a living Constitution say, the Founding Fathers absolutely understood this. That is why the Constitution was set up to limit government power. (Memo to the President: the drafters of the Constitution deliberately didnt say what government had to do on your behalf.) They understood that that was the path to folly, fear, and famine.)
3. Obama is deceitful. Just as the collapse of the computer program should not surprise anyone, neither should we be shocked that the President lied about his healthcare plan. Have any of you been paying attention over the past few years? Obama has made no secret of his motivations or his methods.
The philosophies which inspire him espouse deceit and other vicious tactics. (Dont take my word for it: read Saul Alinsky.) Obama infamously told reporter Richard Wolffe, You know, I actually believe my own bullshit.
He has refused to be forthcoming about his past (where are his academic records?). His own pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, told author Ed Klein, that Obama said to him, You know what your problem is? You have to tell the truth. Did Obama lie when he said dozens of times, If you like you plan, you can keep it. Period!? Of course he did. Thats what he does.
4. The media is responsible. And had the media been doing their jobs, we would have known a lot of this much, much earlier. The press is charged with the sacred responsibility of protecting the people from the excesses of government.
Our press has been complicit, incompetent, or corrupt. Had they vetted this man in 2008, as they would have a Republican candidate, we would have known far more about him than we do, even now.
Had they pressed for more details about Obamacare, Congress feet would have been held to the fire. Had they done their jobs about Eric Holder, Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the IRS scandal, NSA spying - or any of the other myriad betrayals of the public trust that this administration has committed, Obama would likely have lost his 2012 reelection campaign. (A fact that even The Washington Post has tacitly acknowledged. Well done, fellas! Happy now?) Instead, they turned a blind eye, even when they knew he was lying, abusing power, disregarding the limits of the Constitution. It was only when he began to spy on them, and when the lies were so blatant that the lowest of low-information voters could figure it out that they realized they had to report on it. (Even in the face of blatant, deliberate and repeated lies, The New York Times has the audacity to tell us that the President misspoke.) They have betrayed us, abandoned us, and deceived us.
5. Ted Cruz was right. So was Sarah Palin. The computer program is a disaster. The insurance exchanges are a disaster. Whats left? The healthcare system itself. And this, of necessity, will be a disaster, too. Millions of people have lost their individual insurance plans. In 2015, millions more will lose their employer-provided coverage (a fact which the Obama administration also knew, and admitted elsewhere).
The exorbitant additional costs that Obamacare has foisted on unsuspecting Americans are all part of a plan of wealth confiscation and redistribution. That is bad enough. But it will not end there. When the numbers of people into the system and the corresponding demand for care vastly exceed the cost projections (and they will, make no mistake), then the rationing will start. Not only choice at that point, but quality and care itself will go down the tubes. And then will come the decisions made by the Independent Payment Advisory Board about what care will be covered (read paid for) and what will not.
Thats just a death panel, put politely. In fact, progressives are already greasing the wheels for acceptance of that miserable reality as well. Theyre spreading the lie that it will be about the ability of the dying to refuse unwanted or unhelpful care. Dont fall for that one, either. It will be about the deaths that inevitably result from decisions made by people other than the patients, their families, and their physicians. (Perhaps its helpful to think of their assurances this way: If you like your end-of-life care, you can keep your end-of-life-care.)
6. We are not SUBJECTS. (or, Nice Try, the Tea Party Isnt Going Away). We have tolerated these incursions into our lives and livelihoods too long already. There is no end to the insatiable demand progressives have to remake us in their image. Today it is our insurance, our businesses, our doctors, our health care. Tomorrow some new crusade will be announced that enables them to take over other aspects of our formerly free lives.
I will say it again: WE ARE NOT SUBJECTS. Not only is the Tea Party right on the fiscal issues, but it appears that they are more relevant than ever. We fought a war once to prove we did not want to be the subjects of a king, and the Boston Tea Party was just a taste of the larger conflict to come. If some people missed that lesson in history class, we can give them a refresher. The 2014 elections are a good place to start. Call your representative, your senator, your candidate and tell them: We are not subjects. You work for us. And if the word REPEAL isnt front and center in your campaign, we wont vote for you. Period.
Laura Hollis is an attorney and teaches entrepreneurship and business law at the University of Notre Dame . She resides in Indiana with her husband and two children.
Finally, someone who thinks like me In this country many people have always talked about the banana republics (referring mostly to Central and South American countries), their revolutions, their coup detats, etc. But when the governments act like they have in those countries, usually that is the ONLY way to get rid of them.
In this country, up to 2008, that was not the case but since then it is rapidly going that route and the natives are not used to it nor prepared to fight it effectively. Most of those natives (and sadly quite a few natives of those banana republics) naively believe in the checks and balances which the usurper is quietly but swiftly doing away with.
I repeat Professor Hollis words: Where is your spine, America ?
In case someone wants to write, her address is firstname.lastname@example.org