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Latest News and Information

Catholic Official: Obama Contraception Mandate ‘Unprecedented, Preposterous’

By David A. PattenNewsmax
Posted on: Monday, May 21st, 2012

The Obama administration’s definition of what constitutes a religious organization is so narrow that Mother Teresa herself would have not have qualified, a prominent Catholic official told Newsmax on Monday.

That startling perspective was offered by Chancellor Jane Belford of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.

Her remarks reflect the growing controversy over the administration’s effort to force religious-affiliated charitable organizations — or their insurance companies — to cover birth-control pills, morning-after abortion pills, and sterilization procedures that the Catholic church finds morally objectionable.

On Monday, the Washington Archdiocese filed one of 12 lawsuits nationwide representing the interests of 43 separate Catholic institutions.

The lawsuits claim that new Health and Human Services rules, which mandate what services must be offered in healthcare insurance policies, violate the organization’s religious-liberty rights under the First Amendment.

“Mother Teresa in her work of caring for the poor and trying to deal with misery and suffering, Mother Teresa’s work was not religious. That’s what this says, and that is now the law,” Belford told Newsmax.

Belford’s point is that Mother Teresa — who won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her self-sacrificial charitable endeavors in India and other nations — served the poorest of the poor without regard to whether they were Catholic. That would disqualify her work for an exemption from the Obamacare mandates that Catholics find objectionable.

“Catholic charities do not inquire as to the faith of the people they hire,” Belford said. “And I can assure you it never inquires as to the faith of the people it serves.

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About Preserve Religious Freedom

This lawsuit is about religious freedom and our ability to serve the public, not about contraception. The Church maintains that the First Amendment protects the Catholic Church's ability to serve the public in accordance with its faith and to operate its religious institutions without government interference. The argument challenges the way the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) defines what is, and is not, a religious institution. By including an exemption at all, the government apparently agrees that, in keeping with decades of practice and precedent, religious institutions should not be compelled to purchase drugs or procedures that violate deeply held religious or moral beliefs.

But, the Administration's HHS mandate defines religious ministry so narrowly that religious schools, hospitals, and social services don't qualify as religious, and must therefore provide these drugs and procedures. This violates the First Amendment's guarantee of religious freedom. It forces religious organizations to sacrifice their beliefs in order to be able to continue their mission of serving the public. Read more about the plaintiffs filing this lawsuit here.

Preserve Religious Freedom
c/o Archdiocese of Washington
P.O. Box 29260
Washington, DC 20017-0260

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