Little Sisters of the Poor and Hiring a Hit Man to Kill Your Neighbor

Supporters of the HHS Mandate often refer to an “opt-out” as a reason why the Mandate does not put the government in the position of forcing Christians to violate their religious beliefs.

One commenter in the Washington Post even went to so far as to label the Little Sisters of the Poor and their ministry as “religiously affiliated” rather than “religious,” meaning, of course, they aren’t a “legitimate” religious enterprise. This is the sort of specious argument you can expect from people who are trying to thread the needle of the HHS Mandate without admitting that they are attacking the First Amendment. The same author called the arguments in the lawsuit filed by the Little Sisters of the Poor “hooey.”

I guess you could go with the obvious deep-thinking in that statement. But it might be more informative to consider what the arguments in the lawsuit actually are. The simplest analogy I can use to try to explain those arguments would be to say that even if all you do is hire a hit man to kill your neighbor, you are still guilty of your neighbor’s murder. By the same token, even if all you do is require someone else to commit a grave sin in your stead, you have still taken part in committing that grave sin.

Requiring a Catholic to hire a hit man to kill their neighbor is forcing them to violate their religious belief that murder is a sin. By the same token, requiring the Little Sisters of the Poor to hire an insurance company to provide contraceptives and abortion coverage to their employees is requiring them to provide those things themselves.

For those who aren’t acquainted with the concept, it’s called morality.

If you want to read the exact language in the Little Sisters of the Poor’s reply brief, you’ll find it here. Go to page 8 and read for a couple of pages to get the Little Sisters of the Poor’s position.

The real issue here is not the same old meaningless arguments that we keep hearing from HHS Mandate supporters. It’s why religious people are being forced to answer them by making obvious points over and over. Is this really the best they’ve got?

This isn’t rocket science. Only people who are deliberately refusing to see the truth can deny that the Little Sister of the Poor and their ministry to frail elderly people are a good deal more than just a “religiously affiliated” organization. If there’s any “hooey” going on here, it’s the attempt to claim (for political purposes) that the religious commitment of these nuns is not for real.

By the same token, I, at least, am weary of explaining that forcing someone to hire someone else to do something for them is not an exemption from that activity. I think the people who keep repeating this nonsense are just saying it because they have taken a position and this is the best argument they can come up with to defend it.

Instead of going around in circles by repeating the same completely bogus argument or resorting to crude religious bigotry, perhaps they should own their HHS Mandate for what it is and be done with it. The HHS Mandate is a blatant attempt to restrict the historic religious freedom given to all Americans by the First Amendment by limiting it to only organized and federally recognized churches. It is aimed directly and obviously at the largest single denomination in America, which is the Catholic Church.

It is an egregious attack not only on the Catholic Church, or even only on people of faith, but on the bedrock freedoms on which this country was founded and which has made it the great nation that it is today.

The HHS Mandate is an obvious and deliberate government attempt to destroy the moral and prophetic voice of the Catholic Church by forcing it to violate its own teachings. The HHS Mandate is designed to force the Church to kiss Ceasar’s ring.

Since the Mandate was first promulgated, the administration’s running dogs in the press have put forth these identical arguments over and over ad nauseam. Any time the administration gets its nose bloodied in court, all you have to do is count 3, 2, 1 and here they come with the same old stuff they’ve been peddling since the beginning.

Does anybody believe that these people all wake up in the morning with the same set of thoughts in their minds? I admit they do come across as the Stepford Columnists, but I think it’s far more likely that they’re working from the same script and that script was generated, either directly or indirectly, by the administration.

Here is a summary of the impact of the HHS Mandate.

Check out The Anchoress for more discussion on this topic.

  • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

    Amen.

  • FW Ken

    Isn’t it interesting which issues demand absolute obedience. Every pharmacist must fill abortion-inducing drugs, even if another pharmacy is across the street. Every hospital must commit abortions, even if an abortion factory is two blocks away. The slightest restriction on late-term – or “post-birth” , abortion is an unconscionable assault on women’s rights. Every florist in town had to do flowers for gay weddings.

    The ludicrous arguments against those who object to this tyranny end up along the lines of “go along or get out”. Sometimes they just shriek “bigot”, which is clearly projection. Who, precisely, are the bullies, the haters, the bigots it’s becoming more clear every day.

  • $5317090

    If Obama wins in court, and the sisters drop their health insurance while refuse to pay the resultant penalty on the grounds that, under current law, those monies would go directly to fund abortifacients and contraceptives, will fearless leader shut their good works down and send the sisters to prison?

    If I were advising Obama, I’d tell him to meet all the nuns’ demands and to do it now.

    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

      Unfortunately his advisers are people like Kathleen Sebelius – people who think they ought to lead the Church instead of the Pope.

  • AnneG

    Rebecca, when I read the headline I thought, maybe the Little Sisters had enlisted the help of a modern-day Samson willing to pull down the “temple” of Dagon, or that a new David had come forward to slay Goliath, so to speak.

    • hamiltonr

      I would guess that they’re are praying to Our Lady and her son, Our Lord Jesus. That’s pretty good. :-)

  • Ray Glennon

    Rebecca, you have a real gift of presenting well-reasoned and civil (and, at times, justifiably pointed and passionate) arguments that bring real clarity to a situation. Your statement that “…forcing someone to hire someone else to do something for them is not an exemption from that activity” is a sharp and crisp way of stating the truth and the essence of the argument that I have not seen elsewhere.

    Thanks as well for the link to the Little Sisters brief. I look forward to reading it.

    A quick aside: Morality is all about choices… and in this case the Little Sisters and other religious organizations have no “choice” as they are being “forced” to hire someone to do something they would chose not to do. Consequently, they don’t have the “choice” to act morally. Does that mean that there is a “pro-choice” argument to be made for opposing the HHS Mandate on the basis of religious freedom” I think so. As John Paul II said in Baltimore in 1995, “Every generation of Americans needs to know that freedom consists not in doing what we want, but in having the right to do what we ought.” (Restating slightly… “having the right TO CHOOSE TO do what we ought.)

    • hamiltonr

      That’s a good question Ray. I do think that the question of whether or not the government should force people to violate their consciences if a matter of choice. it is also, when we are talking about clearly defined religious teachings, a matter of the First Amendment guarantees that belong to every American.

      • Ray Glennon

        Thanks. Just to be clear, I agree with the points you made in your post.

        It just seems somewhat ironic to me that the HHS Mandate prevents the Little Sisters from having the “choice” to follow their religious beliefs. The Administration is staunchly “pro-choice” when it pertains to abortion, but in firm opposition to religious organizations having the “choice” to freely practice their beliefs.

        • hamiltonr

          I agree Ray. The irony is so thick you can walk on it.


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