BREAKING: 43 Catholic Institutions Sue Obama Administration over HHS Mandate

Posted by John Jansen (May 21, 2012 at 1:11 pm)

U.S. CapitolLawsuits were filed by 43 Catholic institutions in federal court today against the Obama Administration over the HHS Mandate.

Among the plaintiffs, the University of Notre Dame is the most significant.

In announcing its lawsuit, Notre Dame’s president, Father John Jenkins, CSC, sent an email to university employees in which he wrote:

Today the University of Notre Dame filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana regarding a recent mandate from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). That mandate requires Notre Dame and similar religious organizations to provide in their insurance plans abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives and sterilization procedures, which are contrary to Catholic teaching. The decision to file this lawsuit came after much deliberation, discussion and efforts to find a solution acceptable to the various parties.

Let me say very clearly what this lawsuit is not about: it is not about preventing women from having access to contraception, nor even about preventing the Government from providing such services. Many of our faculty, staff and students — both Catholic and non-Catholic — have made conscientious decisions to use contraceptives. As we assert the right to follow our conscience, we respect their right to follow theirs. And we believe that, if the Government wishes to provide such services, means are available that do not compel religious organizations to serve as its agents. We do not seek to impose our religious beliefs on others; we simply ask that the Government not impose its values on the University when those values conflict with our religious teachings. We have engaged in conversations to find a resolution that respects the consciences of all and we will continue to do so. [emphasis added]

Note in particular the sentence in bold, above, and contrast it with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ utterly nonsensical interpretation of JFK’s words regarding religious freedom that she quoted in her address to Georgetown’s Public Policy Institute graduates last week.

Father Jenkins continues:

This filing is about the freedom of a religious organization to live its mission, and its significance goes well beyond any debate about contraceptives. For if we concede that the Government can decide which religious organizations are sufficiently religious to be awarded the freedom to follow the principles that define their mission, then we have begun to walk down a path that ultimately leads to the undermining of those institutions. For if one Presidential Administration can override our religious purpose and use religious organizations to advance policies that undercut our values, then surely another Administration will do the same for another very different set of policies, each time invoking some concept of popular will or the public good, with the result these religious organizations become mere tools for the exercise of government power, morally subservient to the state, and not free from its infringements. If that happens, it will be the end of genuinely religious organizations in all but name.

Father Jenkins’ email could not be more clear: The fight against the HHS Mandate is not about contraception. It’s about religious freedom.

The significance of this lawsuit brought by Notre Dame against the Obama Administration cannot be understated.

This is the same Notre Dame that invited President Obama to deliver Notre Dame’s commencement address in 2009 — which prompted Stand Up Coalition founders Pro-Life Action League and Citizens for a Pro-Life Society to organize a massive protest in response to this scandal.

At the time, Father Jenkins refused to dis-invite Obama, despite the outcry of tens of thousands of the faithful, and more than 80 Catholic bishops.

But this time, Father Jenkins has done the right thing. He and the other powers to be at Notre Dame are to be commended for filing this lawsuit, as are those at the other 42 Catholic institutions that have filed suit over the HHS Mandate.

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10 Responses to “BREAKING: 43 Catholic Institutions Sue Obama Administration over HHS Mandate”

  1. william sinnott says:

    Whether filing a lawsuit is an effective strategy for the defense of religious freedom, I do not know. Yet I am proud of the many individuals who are defending the rights of Catholics, and by extension, all religious peoples, to live their faith without being forced to violate it. As George Washington stated, “government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master; never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.” No one ever forced me to be a Catholic. It must be embraced by a human being’s free will. This is what people don’t understand. Have abuses occurred throughout history? Of course. This occurs in all institutions made up of fallible human beings. Since religious beliefs and culture are intertwined with ideas and intellectual life, the outcome here will be a major factor in the advance or decline of our already diminished freedoms. Only a free society (free from government) can be a moral society. And vice versa.

    May 21st, 2012 at 4:14 pm
  2. Liviu Giuroiu says:

    It’s time for the Christians around this country to stand up for what they believe. For too long, we were complacent and accepted the bashing of our beliefs, insulting our faith, insulting our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ and we did not take any action. This country was built by our forefather on God, liberty and country. In the last 40-50 years, God was thrown out of everywhere, the people’s will was turned over by radical leftist and socialist courts (i.e. see Proposition 8 in California) and we allowed various level of Governments and small but vociferous groups to trample our unalienable God given rights, while morality and the Constitution is considered relative and “flexible.” It’s time to get together and say “No more”! America and Americans must stand up and protect our rights before it will be too late. We don’t want to be France, we don’t want to be Europe, we want to be the different America our countrymen and the whole world knew! Americans, do not forget! We have an unique chance to take our country back on November 2012!

    May 22nd, 2012 at 5:36 am
  3. John Heary says:

    Maybe if I saw an apology from Fr. Jenkins, who gave Pres. Obama the courage to go forward with his agenda by inviting him to the commencement, I would be in agreement he has seen the light.

    May 22nd, 2012 at 5:40 am
  4. Vigilante says:

    Catholics say in their suit:

    We do not seek to impose our religious beliefs on others; we simply ask that the Government not impose its values on the University when those values conflict with our religious teachings.

    Does that mean the courts should allow Catholic teachers and preacher to continue their practice of pedophilia unmolested?

    May 22nd, 2012 at 10:23 am
  5. Why the Bishops’ Lawsuits Are Necessary « Stand Up for Religious Freedom says:

    […] • BREAKING: 43 Catholic Institut… […]

    May 22nd, 2012 at 3:51 pm
  6. Espe says:

    The Holy Spirit has touched Fr. Jenkins heart and soul to move in the right direction, praise God! We the “Church Militant,” stand behind our Bishops and all religious to fight the good fight regarding the HHS mandate. Only thru prayer/fasting will we win.

    Kudos to Fr. Jenkins!

    May 22nd, 2012 at 9:07 pm
  7. Barb says:

    Father Jenkins said – Let me say very clearly what this lawsuit is not about: it is not about preventing women from having access to contraception, nor even about preventing the Government from providing such services. MANY OF OUR FACULTY, STAFF AND STUDENTS – BOTH CATHOLIC AND NON-CATHOLIC – HAVE MADE CONSCIENTIOUS DECISIONS TO USE CONTRACEPTIVES. AS WE ASSERT THE RIGHT TO FOLLOW OUR CONSCIENCE, WE RESPECT THEIR RIGHT TO FOLLOW THEIRS. – THIS IS NOT IN LINE WITH THE TEACHINGS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, SO I AM SUSPECT OF FATHER JENKINS.

    May 22nd, 2012 at 10:52 pm
  8. Bill says:

    The reason you can chose based on conscience is the the 1st amendment right to freedom of religion. Don’t let this administration take that same right away from religious organisations. Being able to chose whether or not to have an abortion or use birth control is your right just don’t force a religious organisation or penalize them if they chose not to provide or pay for it. There are plenty of others whose conscience it does not effect that will and can do it for you. The Catholic Church does teach religious freedom and that abortion and conraception in most all cases is a sin and wrong. Don’t let this mandate to stand. Its sets a bad precedent and is not necessary. Too much government medling in Gods affairs. 2 Machabees Chapters 6 & 7.

    May 25th, 2012 at 2:20 pm
  9. johnmary c says:

    kudos to the catholic faithful of Us go on fight for God and fight for your faith

    May 27th, 2012 at 2:53 am
  10. Day 3: Interfaith Novena to Stop the HHS Mandate « Stand Up for Religious Freedom says:

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    June 1st, 2012 at 8:44 am