Sunday, May 24, 2015

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Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty
Notre Dame Loses Round in Court, Maybe Due to Compliance with HHS Mandate
5/21/2015
It appears that one reason the University of Notre Dame lost its court appeal yesterday—denying the University relief from the Obama administration’s HHS mandate to force employers to include sterilization, contraceptives and abortifacient drugs in employee health plans—is the University’s compliance with the mandate since January.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled two-to-one to deny an immediate religious exemption to the University.

“This marked the first time that a federal appeals court had rejected a claim that the Supreme Court’s ruling last June in the case of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores should shield a non-profit religious organization from any role whatsoever in carrying out the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate,” Lyle Denniston of the SCOTUS blog reported.

Why the difference with Notre Dame? Denniston suggested that the problem may be Notre Dame’s compliance with the HHS mandate, while simultaneously claiming that the mandate would violate its religious freedom.


Georgetown, Obama Use Poverty Summit to Distract from Religious Freedom, Abortion
5/15/2015
Religious freedom is at the core of the critical debates—education, marriage, family—in our society today. However, this is exactly what Georgetown University and President Barack Obama appeared to be undercutting during the President’s visit on Tuesday to a “Leadership Summit on Overcoming Poverty” on Georgetown’s Jesuit campus in Washington, D.C.

“The Catholic Church, through her teaching and the statements of Pope Francis, has very important things to say about poverty,” said Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly. “But instead of focusing on how Catholic and Evangelical Christian insights can inform American policy—the stated purpose of last week’s conference—the Georgetown organizers used the event as a platform for President Obama to distract religious voters from his violations of religious freedom and push a political agenda.”

Although key religious leaders were invited to speak at the summit, including Bishop Jaime Soto of the controversial Catholic Campaign for Human Development, media coverage and Georgetown’s own public promotion of the event focused on President Obama’s argument that poverty issues should constitute a more vital role for Christians in America—apparently more vital than issues of religious freedom and human life.

Catholic and other Christian groups including the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Charities USA, Bread for the World, World Vision, the Salvation Army, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Sojourners were invited to be “partners” in the conference, but it was President Obama whose views were promoted by Georgetown.

“This may sound self-interested,” Obama acknowledged to the Catholicand Evangelical participants. “[T]here are issues where we have had disagreements around reproductive issues, or same-sex marriage, or what have you. And so maybe it appears advantageous for me to want to focus on these issues of poverty, and not as much on these other issues.”


Knights of Columbus Leader Laments Obama’s False Promise at Notre Dame
5/5/2015
After accepting the Evangelium Vitae Medal from the University of Notre Dame last week, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson of the Knights of Columbus looked back six years to the University’s scandalous commencement honors for President Barack Obama and boldly criticized the President for failing to keep his promise to protect Americans’ conscience rights by forcing the HHS mandate on religious organizations.

In 2009, pro-life law professor Mary Ann Glendon protested the honors for President Obama by refusing to share the stage with him to accept the Laetare Medal. The Cardinal Newman Society led opposition to Notre Dame’s invitation, together with 83 bishops and more than 367,000 individuals who signed The Cardinal Newman Society’s petition.

During the 2009 address, President Obama acknowledged his support for abortion rights but promised to find common ground with pro-life Catholics, including protections for religious freedom:
Let’s honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause, and make sure that all of our health care policies are grounded not only in sound science, but also in clear ethics, as well as respect for the equality of women. Those are things we can do.
But his promise to protect the freedoms of religious objectors has fallen precipitously short, Anderson lamented last week. In light of the Obama administration’s threats to religious freedom, including the insufficient “accommodations” in the HHS mandate that requires health care coverage for sterilization, contraception and abortifacients, religious freedom is more in danger than ever before.


House Votes for Religious Freedom in D.C., But Republicans Fail to Halt Laws
5/1/2015
Last night, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution to overturn the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act (RHNDA), an unconstitutional law passed by the D.C. City Council which would force religious organizations to work with and hire abortion advocates in the nation’s Capital.

The Washington Post reported that the final vote was 228-192. House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio reportedly said that “the issue is one of religious liberty.”

“It is a very important step forward, that a majority of the House is now on record opposing this so-called anti-discrimination law that, in fact, has minimal impact except to discriminate against religious groups,” said Patrick Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society. “But the fight must go on. Congress needs to finish this job and overturn both D.C.laws that violate our religious freedom.”


Newman Society Pres: Catholic Education Becoming 'Battleground' for Religious Freedom
4/30/2015
Catholic education has swiftly become a “battleground” for religious freedom as the federal government relentlessly pushes for the redefinition of marriage, Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly wrote in a recent Crisis Magazine piece.

Colleges and schools that are maintaining Catholic values and Church teaching are most at risk, Reilly noted. On Tuesday, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, Jr., confirmed during an oral argument before the Supreme Court that “religious colleges could lose their tax exemption and suffer other penalties if the Court redefines marriage.”

Reilly reported that Verrilli was asked by Chief Justice John Roberts how a federal redefinition of marriage wouldn’t present an enormous problem to religious schools. Verrilli admitted that there were “issues” posed by federally banning sexual orientation discrimination, not least of which included the possibility that a religious college could lose its nonprofit tax exemption for refusing to accommodate same-sex marriage.


Congress to Vote on Law that ‘Takes Away Our Right in Catholic Schools’ to Teach Faith
4/29/2015
Down to the wire—and despite indications last week from Republican leadership aides that there were no plans to schedule a vote to overturn the District of Columbia’s Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act (RHNDA)—a floor vote has been scheduled Friday on House Joint Resolution 43, according to the D.C. Catholic Conference. Debate is scheduled to begin Thursday, April 30. 

“If RHNDA becomes law, then it takes away our right in Catholic schools to control our message and to control what we teach our children,” said Tom Burnford, education secretary for the Archdiocese of Washington, in an interview today with The Cardinal Newman Society. “Catholic schools would be obliged to keep teachers that sow confusion amongst their students.”

RHNDA will go into effect after May 2, if Congress does not act to stop it. House Joint Resolution 43, sponsored by pro-life Congresswoman Diane Black, was reportedly held back by Republican leaders but then was scheduled for a vote today after conservative members of the House Freedom Caucus demanded action.


U.S. Supreme Court Grants Aquinas College New Hearing on HHS Mandate
4/27/2015
The U.S. Supreme Court today gave an important victory to Newman Guide-recommended Aquinas College and its sponsor, the Dominican Sisters of Saint Cecilia, by ordering the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its ruling last year that would force the College and Sisters to comply with the Obama administration’s “HHS Mandate.” 

The order also protects the Diocese of Nashville, the Michigan Catholic Conference, Catholic Charities of Tennessee, and other Michigan and Tennessee charities. 

This ruling—the sixth similar order from the Supreme Court—requires the Sixth Circuit to reconsider the rights of religious nonprofits in light of the 2014 Hobby Lobby decision, which exempted some businesses from the mandate to include sterilization and contraceptives—including some that cause abortion—in employee health plans.


Opinion: Where’s the Tolerance in San Francisco?
4/17/2015
Archbishop Cordileone and all U.S. bishops are bound by Canon law and Church teaching to do what he is doing: ensuring that Catholic schools in his diocese are Catholic. And indeed, he is not alone in this effort. He is joined by similar significant efforts underway by bishops in the dioceses of Cincinnati, Cleveland, Santa Rosa, Honolulu and Oakland, among others.  He is just currently the biggest target in a bastion of the fully-empowered tyrannical Left who will not tolerate any deviance from their liberal orthodoxy.  

The sexual dogmas of the liberal orthodoxy are so confused and so consuming that any other understanding of the nature and purpose of human sexuality and marriage, even those views held by the vast majority of humanity throughout all ages, must be condemned and ultimately silenced. To state the clear and unequivocal Catholic teaching that the only proper and moral exercise of the marital act is exclusively in the context of a committed natural marriage in the service of both love and life is viewed by some as a type of hate crime.  

These “anti-bully” bullies are doing what bullies do. They are seeking to gain in their own social status and self-concept by belittling, shaming and humiliating someone outside their local social norm. As the authors admit, the social sexual norms in the Bay Area are completely supportive of sex outside of natural marriage. Those who control the culture are dead set on humiliating and eliminating anyone who would not fully support their power and the status quo.


Wyoming College’s Decision to Forego Federal Aid Protects Catholic Identity
4/17/2015

Wyoming Catholic College in Lander, Wyo., recently became the latest among a small number of American colleges choosing not to participate in the federal student aid program in order to protect their mission from government intrusion.

Christendom College in Front Royal, Va., also does not participate in the federal aid program. Both colleges are recommended in The Newman Guide for their strong Catholic identity.

CNSNews.com interviewed Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly on this development, and he identified some of the threats from the federal government that persuaded Wyoming Catholic to reject the government aid. Although Reilly noted that many Catholic colleges accept federal student aid without compromising their Catholic identity, he agreed with Wyoming Catholic’s apprehension about the future.



Pope Benedict’s Vision Key to Survival of Catholic Colleges, Says Author
4/8/2015
Questions have been raised recently about the future of Catholic higher education: Is it dying? Where is it going? Assumption College theology chair and professor Dr. Marc Guerra, author of a new book compiling some of Pope Benedict XVI’s most important speeches on truth and learning, says that Catholic colleges have available to them a tremendous blueprint and model for the survival of faithful Catholic education.

The Vatican’s constitution on higher education, Ex corde Ecclesiae, and the example and writings of Pope Benedict XVI provide a crucial model for Catholic colleges, Guerra told The Cardinal Newman Society. And they are especially needed today.

“Catholic colleges and universities today face threat[s] both from without and from within,” Guerra said, adding that it is a critical time for Catholic education in America. “These threats take a particular form for us today, a form that, in my view, represents something relatively new under the sun.”


Vatican official says Cath. colleges have higher calling, Archbishops call for religious protections, and More
4/6/2015
Vatican official says Cath. colleges have higher calling, Archbishops call for religious protections, and More


Indiana Protects Religious Freedom, but Does Notre Dame Want the Protection?
3/30/2015
A new law recently passed in Indiana could serve as legal protection for the University of Notre Dame if it chooses to reverse its policy of providing employee benefits to same-sex spouses, but it remains unclear whether such a reversal will occur.


‘Right Thing to Do’: Sens. Cruz, Lankford Make Last-Ditch Effort to Protect D.C. Religious Schools
3/20/2015
With only three weeks remaining for Congress to overturn two Washington, D.C., laws that violate the religious freedom of Catholic schools and colleges—as well as other religious and pro-life organizations—Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and James Lankford of Oklahoma have done the “right thing” by introducing joint resolutions this week, said The Cardinal Newman Society’s Bob Laird.

The District’s Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act (RHNDA) and the Human Rights Amendment Act (HRAA) were signed into law by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser in January, despite significant concerns by The Cardinal Newman Society, The Catholic University of America, the D.C. Catholic Conference, and Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl. Several other D.C.-based organizations—both religious and pro-life—have called on Congress to protect their constitutional rights to religious practice and free speech.


Christian College Stands for Religious Freedom, Catholic College Retaliates by Cancelling Sports Matches
3/11/2015
Emmanuel College athletic director Pam Roeker formally severed ties with Gordon College after learning that the College’s president was among several religious leaders to sign a letter to President Barack Obama requesting a religious exemption, according to The Hub.


Congress Needs to Overturn Unconstitutional D.C. Laws, Say Heritage Foundation Scholars
3/10/2015
Congress has a responsibility to stop two unconstitutional bills due to their potential to severely impede religious freedom in the District of Columbia, Ryan Anderson and Sarah Torre contend in a recent issue brief from The Heritage Foundation.


Supreme Court Tells Lower Court to Reconsider Notre Dame HHS Mandate Case
3/9/2015
Momentum is on the side of religious organizations against the HHS mandate, Mark Rienzi of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is arguing, in light of the latest U.S. Supreme Court move directing a lower court to reconsider its ruling against the University of Notre Dame.


NLRB Rules against Seattle U., Claims Lack of Catholic Identity in Faculty Responsibilities
3/4/2015
The Seattle office of the National Labor Relations Board has ruled that Seattle University cannot claim a religious exemption from the board’s oversight because no evidence was found that individual faculty members are responsible for furthering the University’s Catholic mission.


HHS Delaying Decision on Unconstitutional Abortion Mandate in California
3/4/2015
California’s coercive abortion mandate—which would force Catholic universities and other organizations to violate their beliefs and provide health coverage for elective abortions—is still under investigation, and some are criticizing the administration for taking too much time.


Cardinal Wuerl: Catholics Should Speak up for Faith amidst Religious Freedom Attacks
3/3/2015
This Lent gives Catholics a perfect opportunity to defend the faith, argued Cardinal Donald Wuerl of the Archdiocese of Washington in a recent post critiquing the double standard presented by two Washington, D.C., laws attacking the religious freedom of Catholic schools.


Bishops Designate Teachers as 'Ministers' To Strengthen Catholic Identity
2/23/2015
Catholic teachers serve an integral role in the formation of students at Catholic schools and should rightly be held to the standard of ministers, argued Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly in a recent op-ed for the National Catholic Register.


Another Catholic College's Religious Freedom at Stake with NLRB Decision
2/13/2015
The case for Duquesne University in Pittsburgh was sent back down to a regional director this week following the NLRB’s creation of a new policy which seeks to determine whether individual faculty members at a Catholic college have a specifically religious function.


Exemption from HHS Mandate Reversed for Christian College, Catholic Dioceses
2/13/2015
A Christian college and two Catholic dioceses in western Pennsylvania are again under the yoke of the HHS mandate as a federal court reversed the injunctions previously granted to the institutions by lower courts.


Canadian Christian Law School Wins Crucial Religious Freedom Victory, But Opposition Remains
2/12/2015
The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia recently ruled that the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society could not coerce an Christian educational institution to discard its religious principles. Despite the recent victory, the University faces more opposition to its policy in the months ahead.


CUA, Washington Archdiocese Join USCCB Urging Congress to Protect Religious Freedom
2/10/2015
The Catholic University of America and the Archdiocese of Washington have joined the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in sending a letter to Congress asking legislators to disapprove two recently passed laws in Washington, D.C., that attack religious freedom.


Catholic Colleges Must Motivate Alumni to Stand for Religious Freedom
2/9/2015
Catholic colleges and universities should rally their alumni networks to defend religious freedom, argued David French, senior counsel at the American Center for Law and Justice, in a recent interview with The Cardinal Newman Society.


‘Human Rights’ Include Religious Freedom
2/6/2015
The concept of human rights has been misused to silence traditional understandings of marriage and family. The most recent example of this misappropriation is the District of Columbia's attack on the religious freedom of religious schools and organizations, argues Kathryn Lopez.


Religious Freedom of Three Catholic Colleges Hangs in Balance with NLRB Decision
2/5/2015
Rather than exempting three Catholic colleges from its unjust oversight, The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decided Wednesday to send the colleges’ cases back down to regional directors.


Interview: Armstrong Amendment’s Author Says D.C. Will Lose Fight against Religious Educators
1/29/2015
Former U.S. Senator William Armstrong, who authored the 1989 “Armstrong Amendment”, told The Cardinal Newman Society that he expects D.C.’s repeal of the Amendment to be overturned by Congress or federal courts.


Court Date Set for EWTN HHS Mandate Hearing
1/29/2015
Oral arguments for EWTN's case against the HHS mandate will be heard on February 4, 2015, at the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. EWTN is one of many organizations, including several Catholic colleges, with cases working their way through the courts.


Mayor Signs Coercive Bills Damaging Religious Freedom of D.C. Catholic Schools, Colleges
1/27/2015
District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser has signed into law two bills that will severely damage the religious freedom of Catholic educational institutions and organizations in the nation’s capital.


Pope Francis Stresses Religious Freedom as ‘Fundamental Human Right’
1/14/2015
Pope Francis recently called for the genuine expression of religious freedom and fruitful worship of God, when speaking to the crowd gathered at the canonization Mass for Saint Joseph Vaz in Sri Lanka.


Miami Archbishop Calls for Fidelity in Upholding Morality Clause
1/12/2015
Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami recently sent a letter to archdiocesan employees, including those involved in Catholic education, urging them to uphold Catholic identity.


Another Catholic College Falls to Federal Labor Board’s Unconstitutional Intrusion
1/7/2015
Saint Mary’s College of California appears to be the latest Catholic college to give in to the unconstitutional oversight of the National Labor Relations Board and its intrusion into the internal affairs of Catholic colleges.


Catholic Colleges Must Launch ‘Revolution of Love of God’ to Protect Religious Freedom
1/6/2015
While the continuing attacks on the religious freedom of Catholic institutions can be traced back to a failure by believers to witness to the Faith, students formed by faithful Catholic university education have an opportunity to turn things around, argues Kathryn Lopez.


D.C. Legislation Jeopardizing Religious Freedom Places Church ‘at a Crossroad’
1/6/2015
The unanimous approval of two bills jeopardizing the religious freedom of The Catholic University of America and Catholic institutions in D.C. has effectively placed the Church and its associated institutions “at a crossroad,” remarked Robert Laird, in a recent Crisis Magazine piece.


Blow to Diocese’s Religious Freedom Points to Need for Catholic School Teacher Formation
12/30/2014
In an assault on religious freedom, a federal grand jury recently decided in favor of a teacher who violated her contract’s morality clause. The decision indicates the need for Catholic schools to be more attentive to the hiring and formation of faithful teachers.


D.C. ‘Bullies’ Threaten Catholic Educators, Reilly Warns in Wall Street Journal
12/29/2014
In a Wall Street Journal column published on Saturday, Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly laments the Washington, D.C. Council’s vote to repeal an exemption to the D.C. Human Rights Act will leave Catholic schools and colleges powerless.


‘Huge Victory,’ ‘Opportunity’ for Religious Colleges in Labor Board’s Ruling
12/21/2014
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) last week abandoned its longstanding, unconstitutional practice of measuring how religious a college appears to be before exempting it from federal oversight, but opted instead for a new test that considers whether individual employees perform religious functions.


D.C. Mayor, Attorney General: New Abortion Mandate Likely Unconstitutional
12/18/2014
Yesterday’s vote by the Council of the District of Columbia to approve a bill banning religious organizations from discriminating against employees for their “reproductive health” practices likely violates the Constitution and federal law, warned the D.C. mayor before the final vote.


Diocese to Defend Its Religious Freedom in Teacher Dismissal Case
12/15/2014
The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, prompted by a lawsuit from a former Catholic school teacher whose contract was not renewed after the diocese discovered that she had violated its clear morality clause, is being required to stand for a jury trial this week.


D.C. Council Steamrolls Religious Freedom for Catholic Schools, Universities
12/11/2014
The Council of the District of Columbia has repealed an exemption to the D.C. Human Rights Act for Catholic schools and universities, despite warnings from Catholic education leaders of the dire consequences such a move would have for religious freedom in the nation’s capital.


Oral Arguments Heard in Case against HHS Mandate
12/9/2014
Sr. Loraine Marie Maguire of the Little Sisters of the Poor presented oral arguments before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals for the case representing more than 400 Catholic organizations in the Christian Brothers Employee Benefit Trust, including The Cardinal Newman Society.


Saint Michael’s College Accepts Unconstitutional Oversight of Federal Labor Board
12/3/2014
The Catholic Church often looks favorably on collective bargaining by employees, but federal oversight can mean enforcement of union demands that compromise a college’s Catholic mission, such as immoral health benefits.


‘Fight Not Done’ over HHS Mandate, Says Thomas Aquinas College President
11/28/2014
Dr. Michael McLean, president of Thomas Aquinas College (TAC) in Santa Paula, Calif., recently spoke with host Molly Smith on her show "From the Median" about TAC's courtroom battle against the HHS mandate.


Professor Points to Recent Disparity between Freedoms for Clergy, Professors
11/20/2014
“Why should a clergyman enjoy less liberty than a professor?” questioned Anthony Esolen, professor of English at Providence College, in an article this week for Crisis Magazine.


Bishops Call on Congress to Protect Conscience Rights in Light of Cali. Abortion Mandate
11/20/2014
The California abortion mandate “has no exemption for religious or moral objections, and is being enforced against religious universities, schools and even churches,” two U.S. bishops warned Congress in a letter this week.


Court Rules against TAC, CUA Challenge to HHS Mandate
11/17/2014
“The ruling still puts Catholic University and similar institutions on a lower constitutional footing than houses of worship," Lawrence Morris, CUA general counsel, told The Cardinal Newman Society.


Pakistani Government Returns School to Archdiocese after 30 Years
11/13/2014
A Catholic high school has been returned to the Archdiocese of Lahore in Pakistan, following thirty years of government control.


Hobby Lobby ‘Not a Victory for Religious Freedom,’ Speaker Tells Students at Santa Clara
11/10/2014
Leslie Griffin, a law professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, recently spoke to students at Santa Clara University arguing that the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling limited women’s rights and was not a victory for religious freedom, The Santa Clara reported.


Oral Arguments Scheduled in Case against HHS Mandate
11/7/2014
On December 8, more than 400 Catholic organizations participating in the Christian Brothers Employee Benefit Trust, including The Cardinal Newman Society, will have oral arguments against the HHS mandate heard before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, The Becket Fund reported.


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