July 8, 2013 |
When the Supreme Court struck down a section of the Defense of Marriage Act, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said it was a "tragic day for marriage and our nation. " But the bishops go further, arguing that when the state legalizes same-sex civil marriage, "conflict results on a massive scale between the law and religious institutions and families.... Religious liberty is then threatened. " The bishops are equally alarmist about what they see as the threat to religious freedom posed by the Obama administration's requirement that employee health plans - including those at religious colleges and hospitals - include contraception services.
May 28, 2013 |
"Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance. " So says the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations in 1948. But a voluminous report issued by the State Department last week demonstrates that those lofty principles continue to be widely dishonored.
February 8, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Judges across the country are increasingly split over whether private employers and their companies can cite their religious beliefs as a valid reason for denying birth control coverage to their employees. Earlier this month the Obama administration proposed a compromise for some nonprofit religious organizations, such as Catholic hospitals and colleges, that would allow them to avoid paying directly for such insurance. But the administration refused to consider a similar exemption for private, for-profit employers.
November 27, 2012 |
Religious conservatives in the United States have been complaining that developments in the political arena - the Obamcare contraceptive mandate, the progress of same-sex civil marriage - threaten religious freedom. They're crying wolf, but similar alarums in the Mother Country make a bit more sense. Because England has an established church, some of whose bishops sit in Parliament, the political question of same-sex marriage has religious reverberations that don't sound here.
November 1, 2012 |
There is, apparently, no escape from the presidential campaign. Most regular churchgoers say their clergy have been talking about the election, according to a new poll , although few appear to be endorsing candidates from the pulpit. The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press said 52% of regular churchgoers have heard their clergy talk about the importance of voting in the election, but only 19% say there has been talk about specific candidates. Under federal law, houses of worship risk their tax-exempt status if they take sides in a partisan race.
August 28, 2012 |
Bless you, Father, for you have not sinned against the separation of church and campaign. Cardinal Timothy Dolan's decision to offer the closing prayer at the Democratic National Convention as well as the Republican convention is a shrewd way to tamp down controversy about the Catholic hierarchy's seeming transformation into the Republican party at prayer. The real shrewdness, of course, came from the Democratic Party, which called Dolan's bluff by inviting him to invoke God's blessing on what many Republicans consider a godless party.