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Ave Maria University Files Lawsuit Against Obama Administration
Catholic Exchange ^
Posted on 03/09/2012 12:31:37 PM PST by SeekAndFind
Ave Maria University has joined Belmont Abbey College and the Eternal Word Television Network in the rising tide of lawsuits against the Obama administrations attempt to force contraception, sterilization, and abortion drugs into virtually every health insurance policy in America.
Ave Maria President Jim Towey, former head of the Bush administrations Office of Faith-Based & Community Initiatives, said, As an American Catholic, I am in disbelief that I have to choose between being a good Catholic and a good citizen. I will not, and the University will not, accept this false choice.
Towey said that the university will not allow any President to force conformance to his or her religious or secular orthodoxy through executive action.
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty filed the suit in federal court in Florida.
The federal mandate puts Ave Maria in a terrible bind, said Kyle Duncan, General Counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which filed suit this morning on behalf of the University. Either it betrays its faith and covers the drugs, or else it ends employee health benefits and pays hundreds of thousands in annual fines.
Towey said, he is prepared to discontinue the universitys health plan and pay the $2,000 per employee, per year fine rather than comply with an unjust, immoral mandate.
You can read President Toweys entire statement by clicking here.
TOPICS: Catholic; Moral Issues; Religion & Culture; Religion & Politics
KEYWORDS: avemaria; lawsuit; obamacare; university
Statement by Jim Towey, President of Ave Maria University
February 21, 2012
It is a sad day when an American citizen or organization has no choice but to sue its own government in order to exercise religious liberty rights guaranteed by our nations
Today Ave Maria University is seeking declaratory and injunctive relief from the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida, because the U.S. Department
of Health and Human Services is requiring the University to offer health plan services inconsistent with our firmly-held religious convictions. As an American Catholic, I am in disbelief that I have to choose between being a good Catholic and a good citizen.
I will not, and the University will not, accept this false choice. The federal government has no right to coerce the University into funding contraceptive services that include abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization, in the health plan we offer our employees.
Some will argue that this dilemma was resolved by a so-called accommodation by the Obama administration on February 10th, one that attempted to shift the provision of these services from the employer to the insurer. This sleight of hand maneuver by the government fooled no one. Ave Maria University pays 95 percent of the cost of the health plan we offer our employees. It is
absurd for the federal government to suggest that these new pharmaceuticals will be free because they arent free now.
In fact the administrations own argument for free contraceptive drugs is that they currently place a financial burden on women.
Under the federal mandate Ave Maria University would be paying for these drugs if we complied with the law. So we will not.
We are prepared to discontinue our health plan and pay the $2,000 per employee, per year fine rather than comply with an unjust, immoral mandate in violation of our rights of conscience.
Let me be clear: a womans right to contraception is not an issue in this case, nor is it at Ave Maria. Employees at Ave Maria and elsewhere are free to decide on their own whether to use birth control. Never before has the federal government bullied groups like ours into doctrinal conformance on an issue with such religious and moral gravity.
America has respected the right of individuals to have faith or no faith, and the right of faith-based groups to be in the public square without having to sell their souls. My experience working in the White House in the faith-based office as its director taught me the beauty of the interplay between the establishment and free exercise clauses of the First Amendment.
It is apparent that this administration does not want to strike a balance between its zeal to implement a new social policy and the rights of religiously-affiliated organizations like Ave Maria. The Chicago Tribunes editorial in response to President Obamas February 10th statement, entitled The bishops arent alone, said, Americans want government policy to protect religious liberty the first freedom guaranteed by our Constitutions First Amendment. Ave Maria agrees, and until the federal government backs down from requiring us to pay to practice our faith, we will fight it with all of our rights under the law. We will not violate the tenets of our faith and cower before our own governments threat of massive fines.
Allowing a U.S. president of any political party or religious affiliation to force conformance to his or her religious or secular orthodoxy through executive action, is a perilous precedent, and I hope all of my colleagues in academia, including Catholic higher education, awaken to this danger.
I want to thank the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty for representing Ave Maria University in this legal action. A university of our small size does not have the resources to fight the federal government and we are grateful to the Becket Fund for representing us without cost. In their good hands, and with the grace of God, I am confident the Ave Maria University v. Sebelius lawsuit will be successful.
Mr. Towey was appointed President of Ave Maria University in 2011. He previously served as Assistant to the President of theUnited States and Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives from 2002-2006. He was legal counsel to Mother Teresa of Calcutta from 1985-1997 and traveled with her in the United States and Mexico.
posted on 03/09/2012 12:35:46 PM PST
Soon, Catholics and some Protestants may have to take to the streets in peaceful protest.
A march on Washington is in order for this fall...hopefully sometime before the election. Such an undertaking should be in the works. Millions would come.
The media, of course would not cover it.
posted on 03/09/2012 12:46:31 PM PST
"The media, of course would not cover it."
They would cover if the march surrounded major media headquarters and bureaus.
posted on 03/09/2012 12:53:45 PM PST
(Conservative patriots, Rise up!)
I don't quite see what's gained by saying "We'll drop the employer-covered insurance and pay the fines" ($2000 per employee per year.)
Somebody do the math for me. How much would an organization like Ave Maria be paying per employee right now for insurance? (I'm betting it's over $2,000.) And if they discontinue the insurance, aren't all the employees then forced to buy private insurance policies, which would also entail paying for the contraception-sterilization-abortion mandate?
posted on 03/09/2012 12:55:28 PM PST
by Mrs. Don-o
(Honest to God.)
This guy is great. He was on with Arroyo last night. He said we’ve only just begun this fight.
posted on 03/09/2012 12:56:51 PM PST
(The Stepford Media should be sued for malpractice)
Even if the people marched on the media...I doubt they would do more than point to it as an example of those crazy tea-baggers.
The media is going to give the right no quarter in this election...everyday in everyway they are campaigning for Obama.
Andrew Breitbart is dead and Rush is fighting for his commercial life...these are not coincidences. If I were Hannity or Levin, I’d be bucking up my security and looking over my shoulder.
Soros and Co...want conservative media GONE. Meanwhile shows like The View and TODAY are openly campaigning for Obama...that’s where the motherload of women voters are...and they are being told over and over that the GOP hates women.
It’s not fair but the Republicans better figure out how to counter...and there’s not much time.
posted on 03/09/2012 1:04:20 PM PST
I’m waiting for the Bishops to join in the fight. So far they just talk. Don’t get me wrong, I like what Dolan is saying, but so far, people like AMU and others are shouldering the load.
posted on 03/09/2012 1:10:12 PM PST
To: kjo; All
“A march on Washington is in order for this fall...hopefully sometime before the election. Such an undertaking should be in the works. Millions would come.”
Such a rally is scheduled, right now, for March 24 from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., sponsored by the Tea Party Patriots and others, and will take place between the Capitol and the Supreme Court building. For full information, see, along with its links:
To: Mrs. Don-o
Could they offer everyone Health Savings Accounts with some level of employer matching? Some of the employees would spend their money on contraceptives, sterilization, and abortion ... but some are probably spend it their salaries on cocaine, prostitutes, or the Seminole Casino, too.
posted on 03/09/2012 2:13:24 PM PST
(Maybe it IS about contraception. Read "Planned Parenthood v. Casey" decision, 1992.)
Good. Obama can do whatever he wants unless someone challenges him in the legal system or in Congress. Guess it’s up to the legal system — Congress is too worried about what Soledad might think.
posted on 03/09/2012 3:19:30 PM PST
(The final outcome of the credit expansion is general impoverishment.)
That might have been the case historically as well. The bishops don’t lead very often, the people do. The entire rejection of the post-Vatican II agenda was from the bottom up. The Holy Spirit works that way, apparently.
posted on 03/09/2012 6:05:01 PM PST
Cardinal Dolan said the Church has attornies that are helping it, pro bono. It sounded like a court battle was not off the table. It also sounded like the Church is prepared for the long haul... that it will fight to the end.
posted on 03/09/2012 6:13:02 PM PST
by Pan_Yans Wife
("For the sake of our party we must stand united, whoever our nominee is."-Sarah Palin)
The Catholic Church had to deal with the Medicis...the American HSS should be chump change for them. My money is on the Church.
To: Mrs. Don-o
its a matter of principles...
I fully understand and support the Bishops in principle, that religious institutions should not be forced to purchase insurance thart covers contraception-sterilization-abortion drugs. Absolutely.
The problem, though, is that the employees are then dumped into the INDIVIDUAL mandate to purchase insurance that still covers these things.
I think the USCCB should take the position that the whole damn Obamacare program needs to be thrown out. Seriously, the whole thing is a violation of Catholic principles in healthare.
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