Skip to comments.Defending Duquesne: The University Must Fend off Another Assault on Religious Liberty
Posted on 06/22/2012 7:00:21 AM PDT by marshmallow
In the new Andy Garcia movie "For Greater Glory," based on a true story of 1920s Mexico, Catholics rebel against a national government determined to suppress their church. Their battle cry is "Viva Cristo Rey!" ("Long live Christ the King").
In the United States, our cherished freedom of religion means that we need not fear government interference in the practice of our faith. It's enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution and the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
But as of Monday, Duquesne University is facing a threat to its religious liberty, just one more example of our federal government's increasing tendency to erode protections for religious organizations.
A regional director of the National Labor Relations Board ruled Monday that the university must accept board jurisdiction over personnel matters, even though Duquesne is a Catholic institution and the federal courts have instructed the NLRB to exempt religious universities from its oversight. Duquesne appears to be prepared for an appeal to the full NLRB in Washington, and then possibly a court showdown.
Duquesne is not alone. Two other Catholic institutions -- Manhattan College in New York and St. Xavier University in Chicago -- are appealing similar NLRB regional rulings issued last year. Indeed, disputes between the NLRB and Catholic colleges and universities have gone on for decades without long-term resolution.
Pittsburgh's NLRB director has needlessly put Duquesne in a bad spot. Adjunct faculty members want to organize and won't be happy waiting for a protracted legal battle over First Amendment rights. The United Steelworkers are desperate for new members. Their usual course of action is to ask the NLRB to oversee union elections and collective bargaining.
(Excerpt) Read more at post-gazette.com ...
From the article:
In 1979, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in NLRB v. The Catholic Bishop of Chicago, et al., that the NLRB had violated the Constitution by asserting jurisdiction over Catholic schools. In 2002 and again in 2008, the D.C. Circuit Court firmly instructed the NLRB to stop interfering with any college or university that “holds itself out to students, faculty and community as providing a religious educational environment.” That certainly applies to Duquesne.
If the NLRB continues to declare jurisdiction over Catholic colleges and universities, the only resolution may be another Supreme Court decision. A university that appeals its case to the D.C. Circuit Court will almost certainly win on precedent, but the NLRB seems intent on continuing to harass Catholic institutions despite the federal court’s instructions.
Catholics have another recourse: prayer. During the bishops’ “Fortnight for Freedom” which begins today, there might be a lot of prayer going on at Duquesne University. Catholics across the country will have one more thing to pray for, too.
I don’t know much about the labor dispute, but the movie (The Greater Glory) is a must see for Catholics, Hispanics, and anyone who values history. It is very well done, and I hope to see it a 2nd time.
I have no problem with colleges having speakers who hold contrary positions, but it should be made clear that these positions are NOT those of the Church, and let the students know WHY the Church teaches what she does. Kids who attend Catholic colleges will be going out into the world, and need to be able to argue Church teaching effectively. They can't do this without knowing the ideas held by others.