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Judge: federal grants to USCCB for human-trafficking victims are unconstitutional
Catholic Culture ^ | March 27, 2012 | Diogenes

Posted on 03/27/2012 1:19:45 PM PDT by NYer

Siding with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a federal judge has declared that grants made to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to assist human-trafficking victims are unconstitutional because the grants represent a government endorsement of Catholicism.

In 2005, the Department of Health and Human Services solicited grant applications to assist victims of human trafficking. In its application, the USCCB declared:

As we are a Catholic organization, we need to ensure that our victim services are not used to refer or fund activities that would be contrary to our moral convictions and religious beliefs … Specifically, subcontractors could not provide or refer for abortion services or contraceptive materials for our clients pursuant to this contract.

Between 2006 and 2011, the USCCB’s Migration and Refugee Services received $13.9 million in federal funds to assist human-trafficking victims, making clear to subcontractors that “funds shall not be used to provide referral for abortion services or contraceptive materials, pursuant to this contract.”

(In 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services declined to renew the grant to the USCCB. The Washington Post reported that the department’s leadership overruled its own staff members, who had wished to continue the grant.)

In 2009, the ACLU filed suit against the Department of Health and Human Services, arguing that federal officials “have violated and continue to violate the Establishment Clause ofthe First Amendment by permitting [the] USCCB to impose a religiously based restriction on the use of taxpayer funds.”

In his March 23 ruling, US District Court Judge Richard Stearns, whom President Bill Clinton appointed to the bench in 1993, declared that

the government defendants violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, insofar as they delegated authority to a religious organization to impose religiously based restrictions on the expenditure of taxpayer funds, and thereby impliedly endorsed the religious beliefs of the USCCB and the Catholic Church.

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TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events; Moral Issues; Religion & Politics
KEYWORDS: aclu; humantrafficking; usccb

1 posted on 03/27/2012 1:19:48 PM PDT by NYer
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To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; SumProVita; ...

Ping!


2 posted on 03/27/2012 1:21:01 PM PDT by NYer (He who hides in his heart the remembrance of wrongs is like a man who feeds a snake on his chest. St)
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To: NYer

The path around this is easy.

Just change “Catholic” to “Islam” and the ACLU and our idiot judges will look the other way.


3 posted on 03/27/2012 1:23:03 PM PDT by Da Coyote
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To: NYer

It is long past time for the Catholic Church and all of it’s related organizations to tell all levels of Government to go pee up a rope and that they’ll not accept another nickel for any reason or purpose.


4 posted on 03/27/2012 1:24:08 PM PDT by Lurker (The avalanche has begun. The pebbles no longer have a vote.)
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To: NYer

Good.


5 posted on 03/27/2012 1:27:03 PM PDT by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
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To: NYer
I don't think the grants represent a government endorsement of Catholicism.
That's like saying any company that works for a church cannot contract for the Government.

The Constitution has God inscribed on it, so
the Government cannot fund itself because it supports God as a Religion?
More activism from Atheists?

6 posted on 03/27/2012 1:29:38 PM PDT by MaxMax
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To: NYer

Wonder how many other faith-based charities receive gov aid?? Is it a problem for them, too, or just the Catholics? And, is not the fed finding of Planned Parenthood just as unconstitutional because 1. It’s an endorsement of secular humanism and 2. It violates the religious freedoms of tax-payers?


7 posted on 03/27/2012 1:31:27 PM PDT by surroundedbyblue (Live the message of Fatima - pray & do penance!)
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To: Lurker

“It is long past time for the Catholic Church and all of it’s related organizations to tell all levels of Government to go pee up a rope and that they’ll not accept another nickel for any reason or purpose.”

There you go. Agree totally. Kind of shocking since it is presumed all persons foreign are Obama voters, that they would come down against getting more of them into the country, no matter the pity of their condition.

Honestly, there seems to be a course correction coming upon the USCCB that was necessary, before they could see the error of their ways as related to dealing with democrats, turned socialists, turned Marxists, turned communists.

What a disaster for all their tolerance and silence. Surely they are AWAKE now!


8 posted on 03/27/2012 1:34:25 PM PDT by RitaOK (LET 'ER RIP, NEWT. Newt knows where all the bodies are buried, because he buried them.)
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To: RitaOK

It never ceases to amaze me that religious organizations can’t understand the concept of “Federal money, Federal rules”. It’s how the Feds took over higher ed in this country and why there are only two or three truly independent colleges in the US.

Hillsdale is one. They won’t take a nickel in Federal money in any way, shape, or form because they know once they do it won’t just be the nose of the camel in the tent, it’ll be the entire smelly beast.

Churches can serve God or they can serve Mamon. They can not do both.


9 posted on 03/27/2012 1:39:17 PM PDT by Lurker (The avalanche has begun. The pebbles no longer have a vote.)
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To: NYer

Good... Could be a great opportunity for the church to preach subsidiarity and the obvious need for tax cuts and tithing soothe church can more efficiently deliver services to the poor.


10 posted on 03/27/2012 1:47:22 PM PDT by rwilson99 (Please tell me how the words "shall not perish and have everlasting life" would NOT apply to Mary.)
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To: NYer
So grants made available to organizations which would help human-trafficking victims were denied to one organization, not because of their inability to do the job, but because of their religion.

Yeah, I see a problem here.

Unless it's better to let these people suffer.

11 posted on 03/27/2012 2:16:06 PM PDT by Tanniker Smith (I didn't know she was a liberal when I married her.)
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To: Lurker

” It’s how the Feds took over higher ed in this country and why there are only two or three......” ——

Can you elaborate on that history some? The astounding fact tht we are half Marxist populated now is not something that came out of thin air, but was perpetrated with great patience.

Our history proclaims that the universities were all Catholic, or religious in their founding, so it was incumbant early on that all religious influence conjoined with education be neutralized, ever so patiently and methodically, and slowly over time.

The war on religion is legendary, old and alive and well from nearly the beginning of our founding.


12 posted on 03/27/2012 2:21:14 PM PDT by RitaOK (LET 'ER RIP, NEWT. Newt knows where all the bodies are buried, because he buried them.)
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To: NYer

I haven’t seen the ACLU filing any suits against Obamacare and the way Obama is attacking the catholic faith by forcing them to pay for abortion and contraceptives.

Not on their agenda I guess.

They came to destroy catholics not to help them.


13 posted on 03/27/2012 2:23:34 PM PDT by Venturer
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To: Venturer

Behind every double standard lies an unconfessed single standard.


14 posted on 03/27/2012 2:38:43 PM PDT by A.A. Cunningham (Barry Soetoro is a Kenyan communist)
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To: NYer

Religion will be outlawed, Christianity will be the most oppressed, and Catholics will be forced underground - it won’t last long, though.


15 posted on 03/27/2012 3:10:07 PM PDT by jacknhoo (Luke 12:51. Think ye, that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, no; but separation.)
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To: Venturer
I haven’t seen the ACLU filing any suits against Obamacare and the way Obama is attacking the catholic faith by forcing them to pay for abortion and contraceptives.

Astute observations! Thank you for the post and ping.

16 posted on 03/27/2012 3:33:35 PM PDT by NYer (He who hides in his heart the remembrance of wrongs is like a man who feeds a snake on his chest. St)
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To: NYer

No vouchers or medical care either? How about nursing homes, AIDs respite/shelters, all senior and orphanage centers/housing, unIversity grants, adoption/foster care centers? No more religious holidays and God off money? No burial next?

So this means the ACLU can’t impose secularism re: gay marriage, fed BC, abortion, sterilization, conscience/Catholic med personnel?

Quid pro quo.

Yet this govt gives to Islamic sharia countries and the Muslim brotherhood?

Enjoy that hand basket America.

Defund the CCHD ASAP.

I miss Cardinal O’Connor.

Maranatha!


17 posted on 03/27/2012 6:49:07 PM PDT by AliVeritas (God's will be done. Pray, Pray, Pray, Penance, Penance, Penance.)
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To: NYer; narses

You might want to make this another thread

A Very Bad Religious-Freedom Opinion in Massachusetts
By Richard Garnett
March 27, 2012 10:44 A.M.
Even during a week when the attention of the Whole World is fixed on a certain Big Case in the Supreme Court of the United States, it would be a mistake to overlook a ruling — handed down late last Friday night by a federal trial-court judge in Massachusetts — that surely ranks among the worst manglings of the First Amendment ever to emanate from a judge’s chambers. The case is ACLU v. Sebelius, and the opinion is available here.
In a nutshell, Judge Richard Stearns ruled that it would violate the Establishment Clause for the federal government to cooperate with the nation’s Catholic bishops in the fight against human trafficking, because the bishops require that those with whom they sub-contract in this effort not to use any of the federal monies to pay for counseling or referrals for abortion and contraception. So, here’s the argument: Because the bishops’ requirement reflects their “religious” opposition to abortion and contraception, it amounts to an “establishment” of religion — and an unconstitutional delegation of secular authority to religious institutions — for the government to fund their anti-trafficking efforts. According to Judge Stearns, the policy of the bishops becomes, by virtue of their (generous, humane, and useful) cooperation with the government, the policy of the government, and the Constitution does not permit the government to have such a policy of imposing “religious” requirements as conditions of receiving government aid.
This is the wooliest of wooly-headed reasoning. For starters, it would not violate the Establishment Clause for the government to decide its human-trafficking funds should not be used, by anyone, to pay for abortion- and contraception-related counseling. To understate the matter, the government is not required to subsidize or support abortions, and opposition to abortion is no more suspect because many religious believers oppose it than opposition to human trafficking is suspect because many religious believers oppose it.
Next, it is not the case that the religion-inspired policies and practices of institutions that receive public funds somehow become, for constitutional purposes, the government’s own policies. If Judge Stearns were right (and he certainly is not), then it is unconstitutional for a Catholic school that receives some special-education-related or school-lunch funding for low-income students to have morning chapel or First Communion classes. If Judge Stearns were right (and, again, he isn’t), the federal government would be required to forbid any religious institutions that participate in “charitable choice” and “faith-based initiative” programs from taking religious-mission into account when hiring.
People at places like Mother Jones are, no surprise, crowing. For some, any loss for the bishops is a win, which explains the headline, “Catholic Bishops Lose a Big Battle Over Contraception.” Actually, the loss here is by those victims of human trafficking whom the bishops and other religious institutions help, but — it appears — symbolic thumpings of Catholic prelates count for more than alleviating the very non-symbolic suffering of real, vulnerable people.
In recent days, many bien-pensant commentators have embraced the unattractive tactic of asserting that the challenges to the health-insurance mandate are, of course, frivolous, and that the only explanation for a Court decision striking it down would be low politics. These commentators know better, but are merely and transparently trying to condition the environment to receive their outraged denunciations of a ruling — if one comes — limiting the Affordable Care Act. The loopy ruling in ACLU v. Sebelius, however, shows us what inexplicably erroneous rulings and frivolous arguments actually look like, and they are not pretty.
— Richard Garnett is professor of law and associate dean at Notre Dame Law School.


18 posted on 03/27/2012 8:08:01 PM PDT by BonRad (Ut Roma cadit, sic omnis terra -As Rome falls, so the entire world)
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To: BonRad; lilycicero; MaryLou1; glock rocks; JPG; Monkey Face; RIghtwardHo; pieces of time; ...
+

Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic List:

Add me / Remove me

Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of general interest.


19 posted on 03/27/2012 8:13:35 PM PDT by narses
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To: NYer

Black turned the First Amendment into a mare’s nest and no part of constitutional law is so obscure, so resistant to real-life situations. I suspect that this reasoning simply comes out of the judge’s a—. That his premises do not flow from precedent but from his personal prejudices.


20 posted on 03/27/2012 11:19:25 PM PDT by RobbyS (Christus rex.)
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To: Lurker
religious organizations can’t understand the concept of “Federal money, Federal rules”.

It's not that we don't understand; the newsworthy aspect here is not that the Federal government can decide who to grant money, but the cut-off-my-nose-to-spit-my-face mentality of the said government.

Here is the problem simplified:

-- "Mine is a Catholic organization that works to eliminate (murder, theft, fraud, poverty, child obesity, -- insert your own) because (murder, theft, fraud, poverty, child obesity) violate the Catholic principles."

-- "Ah, Catholic? Grant denied"

Ship of fools.

21 posted on 03/28/2012 5:45:08 AM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: RobbyS

When a Catholic pharmacist refuses to sell contraception, he can’t claim a Catholic conscience objection because he is employed as a pharmacist, but when that same pharmacist wants to volunteer time to help a refugee, he all of a sudden is too Catholic to ask for government money.

It’s in the First Amendment, ya know.


22 posted on 03/28/2012 5:49:33 AM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: holdonnow

Ping


23 posted on 03/28/2012 6:54:27 AM PDT by AliVeritas (God's will be done. Pray, Pray, Pray, Penance, Penance, Penance.)
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To: NYer

No vouchers or medical care either? How about nursing homes, AIDs respite/shelters, all senior and orphanage centers/housing, unIversity grants, adoption/foster care centers? No more religious holidays and God off money? No burial next?

So this means the ACLU can’t impose secularism re: gay marriage, fed BC, abortion, sterilization, conscience/Catholic med personnel?

Quid pro quo.

Yet this govt gives to Islamic sharia countries and the Muslim brotherhood?

Enjoy that hand basket America.

Defund the CCHD ASAP.

I miss Cardinal O’Connor.

Maranatha!

Why don’t we cut the bull and disband WH faith based initiatives; They’re only for infiltrating, selling out the souls of Christians and churches via dissenters/those who think they’re God and big shots and votes.

Way past time to sweep our houses clean.


24 posted on 03/28/2012 7:08:08 AM PDT by AliVeritas (God's will be done. Pray, Pray, Pray, Penance, Penance, Penance.)
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To: MaxMax

“I don’t think the grants represent a government endorsement of Catholicism.”

Doesn’t matter if it is. The Constitution forbids “establishment,” not “endorsement.” All that means is that congress is not allowed to establish a state religion, in the same way that the Anglican Church is the official religion of England.


25 posted on 03/29/2012 7:50:23 PM PDT by dsc (Any attempt to move a government to the left is a crime against humanity.)
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