September 19, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration set the stage Thursday for another Supreme Court showdown on the president's healthcare law, this time to decide whether for-profit companies can be forced to provide full contraceptive coverage for their employees despite religious objections from their owners. The administration's lawyers asked the justices to take up the issue this fall to decide whether these corporations can claim a religious exemption to this part of the healthcare law. U.S. Solicitor Gen. Donald Verrilli Jr. called the issue one of "exceptional importance" that needs to be resolved soon.
August 15, 2013 |
The notion that religious freedom is under siege isn't just an American preoccupation. Some Christian leaders in Britain also have sounded the alarm, prompting a pointed rejoinder from the former spiritual leader of the Church of England that also should be required reading for paranoid American religious conservatives. Rowan Williams, who retired as Archbishop of Canterbury last year to return to academic life, said, “I am always very uneasy when people sometimes in this country or the United States talk about persecution of Christians, or rather, believers.” Christians in Britain and the United States may fairly complain about being ridiculed, Williams acknowledged.
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.