Obama Admin vs Religious Conscience UPDATES

One of the stupidest political remarks I ever heard came from Ben Affleck, who -- campaigning for Hillary Clinton during her 2000 senate run -- declared that a vote for her opponent, Rick Lazio, would amount to a vote (I am paraphrasing) "to bring back Irish Need Not Apply signs in the workplace."It does appear, though, that the Obama administration has decided that a Catholics Need Not Apply sign might be in order.Today Michael Gerson spells out why that may be so:Shortly before … [Read more...]

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Contraceptive Mandate “Designed” to affect Catholics

Well at least someone is getting it on the record:The federal government’s new contraceptive and sterilization insurance coverage mandate includes a religious exemption whose language was designed specifically to counter Catholic institutions’ conscience protections, one Catholic health care leader told a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee Nov. 2.The exemption’s “highly flawed” definition originated in a California debate about a state-level contraception mandate, William J. Cox, … [Read more...]

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Constitutional Erosion: Freedom of Religion UPDATES

Over at First Things, I'm wondering about the apparent tag-teaming of the church by legislators and courts intent on reshaping the notion of rights and entitlements until they become difficult to tell apart:"But here is the question: if a church-based organization has—for decades—served the community through placement assistance for adoption or foster care, and if that service is now to be defined as an “entitlement,” is it one that should be lost or preserved under the constitution? The argume … [Read more...]

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Freedom of Religion Under Assault

I have to stop blogging and start writing two columns and an introduction to a book, but I wanted to just encourage you to be aware of two important stories, and perhaps take the time to make a phone call or send an email:Julie at Happy Catholic writes: ...Margaret at ten thousand places rightly points out that this is a much bigger issue. Which is, of course, what Keith Rothfus points out in his letter.And, I forgot that today is the deadline.Today is the last day to voice your concerns … [Read more...]

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Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, Martyr? UPDATED

Contrary to some of the hyped-up rhetoric I see in my email, and in the comboxes of those covering the lastest dustup between a prominent priest (who frankly seems to need a rest) and his bishop (who has asked him to take some time for recollection and prayer), ecclesial oversight and accountability to the bishop to which you've vowed obedience is not martrydom.But if we needed an example that genuine martrydom is still happening, we might pay attention to this story which is getting much less … [Read more...]

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