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Catholic Education Daily


Franciscan Univ. Conference Examined State of Religious Freedom in U.S.

Franciscan University of Steubenville President Fr. Sean Sheridan strongly emphasized that the University will not comply with the Obama administration’s HHS mandate at a recent conference, according to the University’s website.

“Truth, Conscience, and Religious Freedom” was the theme of a conference recently hosted at the University, as was reported. Fr. Sheridan was on a panel discussion at the conference and he addressed the HHS mandate, which the University is currently excused from complying with because of a grandfather clause.

“We are basically in a holding pattern until we have to act and are faced with the decision of whether or not to comply—which we are not going to do—or face these fines, the penalties, that are inherent in the mandate provisions itself,” said Fr. Sheridan.

The keynote speaker for the conference was Dr. Robert George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University, who also addressed the HHS mandate.  The University reports:

George cited the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which poses a legal U.S. test questioning whether a law, such as the HHS mandate, can violate religious freedom. The test holds that to justify a law that bears negatively on religious freedom, the law must be supported by a compelling state interest and represent the least restrictive or intrusive means of protecting or serving that interest.

“If the Supreme Court applies that test honestly, there is no way the government can win,” George said, regarding the HHS mandate in the cases of Hobby Lobby and the Little Sisters of the Poor.

Franciscan University of Steubenville is recommended in The Newman Guide for its strong Catholic identity.

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