Friday, August 30, 2013

Ave Maria University Alleges Violation Of Religious Beliefs Against Contraception

Alan: Prior to the American Civil War, slavery was pulpit-preached throughout The South. Furthermore, a far higher percentage of Southern congregants believed slavery was "the will of God" than the minuscule percentage of Catholics who currently believe contraception is an inviolable Catholic principle. Notably, in the late 1800s, the U.S. federal government obliged The Church of Latter Day Saints to renounce its cornerstone belief in polygamy even though every Mormon, without exception, revered polygamy as a fundament of religious practice. What's more, polygamy was ubiquitous practice in Old Testament times and even persisted into the early centuries of Christianity. King David, author of the Psalms, had 7 or 8 wives, one of whom he bought with a "bride price" of a hundred Philistine foreskins, although, in a burst of bloodletting enthusiasm, he finally paid Michal's father, Samuel, 200 foreskins.  See "U.S. Government Forced Mormons To Renounce A Fundamental Religious Practice."  There come a times when it is appropriate to draw lines that were not drawn before -- the legal guarantee of miscegenation for example. In the end Obamacare's contraception ruling is a tempest in a teapot since Catholic institutions could easily arrange for employees to buy insurance directly, using a fungible sum given them as a "health benefit." Clearly, there is no Catholic objection (yet) to employees paying for condoms or other birth control with salary. Even so, if Catholic employers believe their moral code is intolerably compromised by paying for insurance that includes contraceptive coverage, they can always scale down operations and re-conceive themselves as small, informal faith communities much like those early Christians whose martyrs' blood was the seed of the church.
NAPLES, Fla. — Five months after its original case was dismissed, a Catholic university has filed suit again against the federal government.
Ave Maria University's charge: President Obama's health care overhaul violates the school's religious beliefs because it allows women access to free contraceptives.
Ave Maria's first attempt to quash the Affordable Care Act was filed in February 2012. A U.S. district court judge threw out the suit in April.
As part of Obama's health care overhaul, a federal mandate requires nearly all health care plans to pay for contraception and sterilization eventually.
Ave Maria President Jim Towey reiterated Thursday what he said last year when the original suit was filed: University officials find it objectionable that the federal government asks them to be complicit in providing and paying for birth control.
Upon dismissing the case, the judge said the government was continuing its efforts to work with the school, which built a campus about 30 miles east of here, and the regulations for the overhaul were not yet finalized.
Towey said Thursday he believes the government made no effort to compromise or accommodate the school's religious beliefs.

The school said the mandate will be in full effect Jan. 1, and if it does not comply, the university says it faces fines of $100 per day per employee. The school of about 870 students employs around 140. Current insurance plans do not provide contraception, Viagra or vasectomy.
"Where would $7 million come from? From heaven? I don't know where the money would come from," Towey said. "To try to cover a fine like this ... I have a hard time imagining how that's in the best interest of the country to shut down a university that's adhering to its own religious beliefs."
Bishop Frank Dewane of the Diocese of Venice, Fla. last year sent a letter to Catholics urging them to fight.
"We cannot — we will not — comply with this unjust law. People of faith cannot be made second-class citizens. Do not be misled by attempts to turn this into a debate about church teaching or the morality of contraception. The issue here is religious liberty and freedom of conscience," he wrote.
The university, founded in 1998 by former Domino's Pizza owner Tom Monaghan, has enlisted help of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which has won several cases regarding First Amendment rights.
Towey said next week the school will file a preliminary injunction on the mandate.
Various studies say the overwhelming majority of Catholic women practice birth control, and a poll released last year showed 58% of Catholics believed their employers should be required to provide health plans that cover contraception.
"The issue is not about contraception, the issue is about religious liberty," Towey said after filing the first lawsuit. "The fact that we have individuals using birth control is their personal choice.
"That is why we are fighting it, and we will fight it to the end," he said. "And if it means that ultimately the university will no longer provide health care insurance for its employees, then that's what we'll do."

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