HHS mandate

Golden-Rule Norman Rockwell

Personal Identity is Not Chosen

Brexit and the Trump movement, with their emphasis on the decisive importance of national identity, show that explicit identity politics has spread to all points of the political compass. That's not surprising, since identity is radically contested today. The questions relate not only to who gets placed where, or the common concerns of this group or [...]

Alas, the Little Sisters Are Not Going to Jail

A few weeks ago I gave a talk in Omaha called “No Finer Time to be a Faithful Catholic.” In the talk I argue that it is the finest time to be a faithful Catholic not in spite of all manifold and manifest troubles we face today, but precisely because of them. I argue it [...]

The Little Sister’s Last Stand for Religious Liberty

The Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments in the case of Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell. This is a case in which a small order of nuns is seeking exemption from an Obama Administration requirement that they help distribute free contraceptives and abortifacients (drugs that cause abortions) through their government-mandated healthcare plan. Why does [...]

The Upcoming Court Battle Over the HHS Mandate

In what way can simply signing a document be a burden on you or your freedom? Obviously, the answer to that question depends on the document that you’re asked to sign.  If you’re a celebrity and a fan hands you a scrap of paper for an autograph, your burden consists of a few seconds of [...]

Has Christianity Become a Coward’s Religion?

Renaissance political thinker Niccolo Machiavelli castigated Christianity for making its adherents weak. Looking to the next world, he charged, Christians forget their public duties in this world, leaving their communities weak in the face of their enemies. Early Christian martyrs were hardly cowards. There were martyrs in Machiavelli’s day as well, and as I write [...]

Obama vs. Little Sisters of the Poor

I have added my name to a friend of the court brief in the case of Little Sisters of the Poor vs. Burwell. Professor Nathanial Oman of the law school at William and Mary proposed and took the lead in writing this brief, which was joined by a number of concerned law professors. It was written [...]

Court Rules Against Little Sisters of the Poor

Tuesday afternoon, a three-judge panel in Denver effectively told the Little Sisters of the Poor that they would be forced to go along with the contraceptive provisions of Obamacare and relevant regulations regardless of conscience.   If not, the sisters would be so severely fined by the federal government that they would have to close their [...]

The Next “Hobby Lobby”: Mandating IVF Coverage

The most cursory survey of the American mass media in July 2014 would have you believe that millions of women are being denied basic medical care and fundamental rights are under total assault because … they can’t get somebody else to buy their abortifacients. Indeed, the U.S. Senate—whose legislative productivity this year suggests it has [...]

“A Legal Entitlement to Contraceptive Coverage”

The U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision that for-profit companies such as Hobby Lobby are not required to provide in their healthcare plans "preventive services" that include abortion-inducing drugs, raises doubts about the constitutionality of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate requiring that all FDA-approved forms of birth control be provided in all [...]

The Hobby Lobby Case: Good News, Not Great News

Many religious folk have been rejoicing at the Supreme Court’s recent 5-4 decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the case concerning the Obama Administration’s attempt to force Hobby Lobby and other religious businesses to pay for contraceptive and abortifacient drugs for their employees under Obamacare. The Court held that the Obamacare regulation forcing business owners [...]

A New Declaration of Independence

Twelve score minus two years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent ... something that no longer exists. In 2014, Independence Day is more commonly called the Fourth of July—a Jacobin rather than a Christian practice, naming holidays after dates. (Imagine celebrating the 25th of December.) The rhetorical shift reflects an underlying reality. Lost [...]

Blind Resentment: The Origins of Anti-Catholicism Today

In a US News and World Report essay that has been widely denounced as incoherent, poorly researched, and bigoted, Jamie Stiehm recently reproached Justice Sonia Sotomayor for her “clear religious bias” in dropping “the ball on American women and girls” as she “undermined the new Affordable Care Act’s sensible policy on contraception.” The Justice did [...]

Is There a “Right” to Birth Control?

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Tuesday from opposing legal counsel on the HHS contraception mandate cases. The media consensus appears to be that the justices were hard on the mandate and appear likely to issue a narrow ruling exempting “closely-held” corporations, which both of the plaintiffs are, while leaving open the question of [...]

Birth Control is Not Healthcare

Dr. Malcolm Potts, first medical director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, in a piece late last month in the Los Angeles Times¸erroneously blames the Vatican for denying the Little Sisters of the Poor the alleged health benefits of hormonal contraception.  In fact, the Little Sisters of the Poor are challenging in court their real [...]

Those Intolerable Catholics – In Locke’s Time and Ours

Often touted as a landmark text in the history of religious freedom, John Locke’s Letter Concerning Toleration (1689) is remarkable in wisely limiting the power of “the magistrate … to do or meddle with nothing but barely in order to securing the civil peace and properties of his subjects,” and thus of granting “an absolute [...]

Do All Religions Deserve Respect?

The Obama administration’s war on Catholics will continue into 2014 as many courageous Catholic institutions in the U.S. maintain their resistance to its encroachment on their religious freedom through the H.H.S. mandate. In light of this, we can expect that the public debate about religious freedom will also continue into the new year both inside [...]

When Is An Abortion Not An Abortion? When the Media Says So.

Shortly before the new year, a number of religious organizations were given protection from the HHS abortion and contraception mandate.  While social conservatives and defenders of the First Amendment cheered, numerous prominent media organizations manipulated basic scientific facts to deny that the mandate—required by federal law—forces people to fund abortion-inducing drugs. Media Matters did this at least twice, [...]

A Foreign View of the HHS Mandate

Perhaps it is because I am a European living in Europe and, thereby, not so entangled in the HHS mandate issue (and have less to lose) that I cannot understand the thinking that surrounds the response of some Catholics in the US.  From where I stand, across The Pond, compliance with the HHS mandate is, [...]

Want Religious Liberty? Live Your Faith

From the standpoint of Catholicism there is no more important right than religious liberty. It is the first of our freedoms. As Catholics, we cherish religious liberty because we have been made by God and for God—our hearts are restless, as Saint Augustine wrote, until they rest in Him. God gave us freedom so that [...]

How to Recover the Catholic Vote

One of the reasons that same-sex marriage laws have proliferated so quickly is that their proponents are concentrated geographically in the nation’s power centers: New York, Washington, San Francisco, Los Angeles. Geography can be determinative in politics. Faithful Catholics are numerous, but we’re too spread out. This has weakened our position both as a voting [...]

How Catholics Can Avoid Cooperating with Evil in Public Life

In a recent column, I suggested that the most important thing for Catholics to do politically is to present, argue for, and act on the Catholic understanding of human life. We are defined by our faith, which has to do with an understanding of God, man, and the world, and our goal as Catholics is [...]

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