Tag Archives: belmont abbey college

Feds ask for delay in Belmont Abbey College’s lawsuit against HHS mandate

When you got nothin’, you stall. From LifeSiteNews.com:

Days after saying the birth control mandate was “final,” the Obama administration has told a federal court it shouldn’t rule on a lawsuit against the new rule because the administration may decide to change it at an unspecified later date.

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is representing Belmont Abbey College in the case, said Friday that the administration’s response lacked any constitutional defense of the mandate, which would force religious organizations, including charities, hospitals, and even religious orders, to cover birth control, sterilizations, and abortifacient drugs.

“Apparently, the administration has decided that the mandate, as written and finalized, is constitutionally indefensible,” said Hannah Smith, senior counsel at The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “Its only hope is to ask the court to look the other way based on an empty promise to possibly change the rules in the future.”…

And you would trust this administration why? So read it all, and check out the news from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

HHS Mandate 101 and why you should care

From National Review, Kathryn Jean Lopez interviews Mark Rienzi, senior counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and a professor of constitutional law at the Catholic University of America:

MARK RIENZI: The mandate forces individuals and organizations to violate their religious principles by providing their employees with drugs that cause abortion, as well as with contraception and sterilization. Whatever one thinks about the debate between “choice” and “life,” we should all be able to agree that only willing people should have to participate in abortions.

This country was founded by people of all different faiths and backgrounds. We have a great tradition of finding ways to work with people so as not to force them to violate their religious beliefs. The Obama administration’s refusal to do that here violates the Constitution and federal law.

LOPEZ: Is there a smart shorthand that captures that?

RIENZI: Sure: Tyranny….

LOPEZ: Is this about birth control or religious freedom?

RIENZI: The only issue here is whether the government will force unwilling religious objectors to give up their religious beliefs. There is no problem of access to birth control in this country. As the administration never stops saying, the stuff is popular and provided by most private employers. And when private employers don’t provide it, the federal government already gives it out to people who want it through Title X funding.

Let me give you an example. At the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, we represent the monks at Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina. They are Catholic, and they have religious objections to providing these drugs. According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, the federal government already provides contraception to more than 100,000 people in North Carolina, from more than 100 federally funded Title X clinics. There is simply no reason that the government can’t provide contraception to any employee of Belmont Abbey who happens to want it. So the question is not whether people will be able to get birth control — they can, and they will. People get plenty of contraception today without making Catholic monks give it out. The question is whether the government will use the issue to force a small religious minority to conform to the government’s view that birth control is a great idea. And that’s something the Constitution and federal law clearly forbid….

RIENZI: James Madison famously said that conscience is “the most sacred of all property.” Conscience — particularly in the religious sense — is the right all of us have not to be forced by the government to violate our religion. It is the idea that in a free country, the coercive power of the government should not be used to deny people the right to freely and peacefully practice their faith…. It is a bedrock principle of our Constitution, our history, and our basic liberty….

LOPEZ: I’m an atheist. I’m on the pill. Why should I care about this?

RIENZI: You should care because you are an American, and this is a fundamental liberty issue. Religious liberty is just one aspect of liberty. The same First Amendment that protects your right to be an atheist — which is a wonderful and noble thing that our First Amendment does — protects the rights of other people to have other views. Just as you wouldn’t want the government to force you to follow Catholic views about the pill, we also don’t want the government to force Catholics to follow your views. It’s a free country. If you want the pill, you can buy it, you can work for one of the millions of employers who happily pay for it, or you can get it for free from the federal government. But everyone should oppose this forced conscription of unwilling people to participate.

LOPEZ: Is this a Catholic issue?

RIENZI: No, it is a liberty issue. That’s why you’ve seen such a huge outpouring of criticism of the Obama administration from people of all religious faiths….

Read it all. Twice.

Belmont Abbey to hold presentation on religious liberty and HHS mandates

Belmont Abbey continues its fight against the HHS and its mandates:

A presentation on Religious Liberties in America
and the recent Health and Human Services Mandate

In response to the January 20, 2012 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services mandate that forces virtually all private health care plans to cover sterilization, abortifacients and contraception despite religious objections, the Defense of the Faith Committee of the Order of Malta is offering a free public presentation from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on February 11 in The Haid on the campus of Belmont Abbey College. The presentation will be followed by Mass at Belmont Abbey.

To register for the presentation, please click on the “Sign Me Up” button below.

If you have any questions, please contact Mary Worthington at 704-461-6574 or at maryworthington@bac.edu.

Date: Saturday, February 11, 2012
Time: 1:00 PM – 4:30 PM
Address:
The Haid
100 Belmont-Mt. Holly Road
Belmont, NC 28012

If you’d like to attend this event you can RSVP online.

Support Belmont Abbey College against the mandated HHS regulations

Belmont Abbey College

Already in front of the mandated HHS regulations issue (remember, these regulations were issued this past August to take affect in one year), Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina, working with the Becket Fund, filed suit against the federal government (specifically HHS) on November 10, 2011, to protect their First Amendment and federal statutory rights to be free from what they consider a “government-imposed substantial burden on its religious freedom.” From the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty:

…So in August 2011, when the federal government issued a regulation requiring that all group health plans must cover “[FDA-]approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity,” Belmont Abbey knew it could not be true to both the government mandate and its Church’s teachings.  This is so because FDA-approved contraceptives include a number of drugs Belmont Abbey, and many scientists, consider to be abortifacients—most notably Plan B and Ella.  Were Belmont Abbey to choose not to cover contraception and sterilization as required by the government mandate, it would be penalized with a hefty fine and forced to terminate its health insurance for employees and students. For example, a religious organization with 100 employees would have to pay the federal government $140,000 per year for the “privilege” of not underwriting medical services it believes are immoral. In other words, Belmont Abbey would be forced to pay for the right to remain true to its principles!…

Belmont Abbey’s only recourse is to sue the federal government and ask the court to protect its First Amendment and federal statutory rights from this substantial burden by the federal government.

Check it out, and check out the Becket Fund’s FAQs on the case. If you’re able, donate to Belmont Abbey:

“A monk at Belmont Abbey may preach on Sunday that pre-marital sex, contraception, and abortions are immoral, but on Monday, the government would force the same monk to pay for students to receive the very drugs and procedures he denounces,” said Hannah Smith, Senior Legal Counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “This is much worse than an un-funded mandate; it is a monk-funded mandate.”