Why the Bishops’ Lawsuits Are Necessary

Posted by John Jansen (May 22, 2012 at 3:51 pm)

Participants at the March 23 Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally in PhiladelphiaYesterday, 43 Catholic institutions filed suit against the Obama Administration over the HHS Mandate.

News of these lawsuits shouldn’t come as a surprise. Since early March, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has been all but guaranteeing that lawsuits would be filed.

A few weeks later, Dolan, appearing on CBS’ Face the Nation, said, “We didn’t ask for this fight, but we won’t back away from it.”

Harvard Law Professor Mary Ann Glendon points out in the Wall Street Journal how it’s come to this in an op-ed appropriately titled, “Why the Bishops Are Suing the U.S. Government” that is accompanied by a picture of some of the 2,300 participants at the Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally in Philadelphia on March 23 (see above, right).

Professor Glendon writes:

The main goal of the mandate is not, as HHS claimed, to protect women’s health. It is rather a move to conscript religious organizations into a political agenda, forcing them to facilitate and fund services that violate their beliefs, within their own institutions.

The media have implied all along that the dispute is mainly of concern to a Catholic minority with peculiar views about human sexuality. But religious leaders of all faiths have been quick to see that what is involved is a flagrant violation of religious freedom. That’s why former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Baptist minister, declared, “We’re all Catholics now.”

More is at stake here than the mission of all churches, including the Catholic Church, to provide social services like health care and education to everyone regardless of creed, and to do so without compromising their beliefs. At the deepest level, we are witnessing an attack on the institutions of civil society that are essential to limited government and are important buffers between the citizen and the all-powerful state.

If religious providers of education, health care and social services are closed down or forced to become tools of administration policy, the government consolidates a monopoly over those essential services.

Professor Glendon’s piece can be read in its entirety here.

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2 Responses to “Why the Bishops’ Lawsuits Are Necessary”

  1. Christa says:

    I was glad to hear about the pending lawsuit against the HHS mandate. I feel that, if this is allowed to happen, it would not only violate our religious freedoms but essentially throw away the very principles that our country was founded. Lets all pray that God will touch the hearts of those hearing this case and make them realize that what the Obama administration is doing is wrong.

    May 22nd, 2012 at 5:28 pm
  2. Michael J. Lennon says:

    I pray that this be aswift and purposeful victory for all people of faith and I thank our fellows for coming forward in union with us for the protection of our constitutional freedoms.

    May 22nd, 2012 at 8:52 pm