Thursday, September 17, 2009

Attack on Religious Liberty

An article in the Wall Street Journal (13 August 2009) tells how, thanks to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the U.S., ‘the federal government took a giant leap toward encroaching on the religious liberty of Catholics.’

The director of the Commission in Charlotte (North Carolina) ruled that a small Catholic college discriminated against female employees by refusing to cover prescription contraceptives in its health insurance plan. ‘With health-care reform looming before the country, this ruling is a bad omen for people of faith’, the author of the article states. He continues: ‘In 2007, eight faculty members filed a complaint against Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, N.C., claiming that the school’s decision to exclude prescription contraceptives from its health-care plan was discriminatory against women. “As a Roman Catholic institution, Belmont Abbey College is not able to and will not offer nor subsidize medical services that contradict the clear teaching of the Catholic Church”, said the college’s president, William Thierfelder, at the time.

‘In March the commission informed the college that the investigation of its employee health insurance plan had been closed with no finding of wrongdoing. Inexplicably, the case was reopened, and now the college is charged with violating federal law. If Belmont Abbey doesn’t back down, the EEOC will recommend court remedies. …
‘When will a federal court argue that if insurance coverage to prevent pregnancy is, by inference, mandated by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, then why not abortion to end a pregnancy?

‘We can add the threat to religious liberty to the dangers already presented by government-run health care.’

Incidentally, Belmont College will shortly be conferring a special honour – the Envoy of the Year Award – on Archbishop Charles Chaput.