When President Barack Obama addressed the nation Sunday night about the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, he was careful to build a wall of separation between the terrorists who had murdered 14 Americans and the religion they claimed to embrace.
“But it is clear that the two of them had gone down the dark path of radicalization, embracing a perverted interpretation of Islam that calls for war against America and the West,” Obama said.
Were the president to exhibit this same zeal in defending the integrity of Christianity, he would drop his administration’s legal pursuit of the Little Sisters of the Poor.
He would also let all Americans decide for themselves whether it is in keeping with their moral principles to buy, provide or take actions intended to facilitate the provision of insurance that covers sterilizations, contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs and devices.
Yet the Obama administration has pursued a case into the Supreme Court that, if the administration prevails, would prohibit Catholic nuns from freely exercising their Catholic faith.
It could also move the United States toward accepting the fallacious argument that federal judges ought to have the authority to interpret what are and are not legitimate religious views.
The Little Sisters are bravely resisting.
In practical terms, the government wants to force this order of nuns to take one of two actions. It can sign a document instructing the third-party administrator of its self-insured employee health plan that the administrator is obligated to provide coverage for sterilizations, contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs and devices. Or it can give the Department of Health and Human Services the information it would need to tell the third-party administrator it is obligated to do so.
Either way, the government wants to force the nuns to take an action whose purpose is to facilitate distribution of sterilizations, contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs and devices.
“Our beliefs forbid us from participating, in any way, in the government’s program to promote and facilitate access to sterilization, contraceptives, and abortion-inducing drugs and devices,” the Little Sisters have said.
As this column noted in July, the sisters’ lawyers explained their moral objection in a brief submitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, which heard their case.