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Catholic Groups Sue to Abort Controversial Contraception Coverage
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Dozens of Catholic institutions from around the country including the University of Notre Dame has sued the Obama administration over the controversial and mandatory contraception coverage imposed by the federal government. The law firm Jones Day made at least a dozen separate filings across the country on behalf of 43 separate Catholic bodies including Catholic University of America and the Archdiocese of New York. The entities allege that the federal government is compelling them to either violate their religious beliefs or face steep fines.

The spate of litigations come in response to a regulation passed under the Affordable Care Act of 2010 that makes it mandatory to provide contraception coverage by employers and institutions. The law exempted churches and other houses of worship but did not provide any exemption for religious nonprofits like charities, hospitals and educational institutions.

To make a compromise, President Obama scaled back the law and proposed that the cost of birth control for religious employers shall have to be borne by insurance companies. However, church leaders and Catholic institutions say that the relief is superficial in nature and does not address the actual deeper issues of belief and freedom.

  
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Cogently, the University of Notre Dame complains in its lawsuit that now, “In order to safeguard their religious freedoms, religious employers must plead with the government for a determination that they are ‘sufficiently’ religious. Under the new mandate, as explained by Notre Dame before the Indiana federal court, religious employers qualify for exemption only if their purpose is to spread religious beliefs. Also they need to primarily employ and serve people with the same religious values. Such requirements are socially divisive and disrespect the separation between the church and the state.

Such requirements prevent schools and institutions run by religious trusts from providing secular education or employing persons without religious discrimination and in effect help to marginalize those who practice religious beliefs. The tenets of many religions, including Christianity, promote helping the needy without regard to the beneficiary’s own religious beliefs. However, Obama’s law means if Christians try to provide any facilities to non-Christians then they will also have to provide contraception or pay fines.

Notre Dame submitted that it is committed to serving people of all faiths and religious denominations, and that is its religious belief. Mr. Obama is forcing religious institutions to go against their own principles or discard them, in one way or another.

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The Archdiocese of Washington challenged the Obama administrations authority to either define or redefine religion. Jane Belford, the chancellor of the Archdiocese of Washington said that Obama’s definition of religion is so narrow that Mother Theresa’s work in India would have been held unreligious.





 

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