6/9/20 – Obamacare and the Nuns

When we think of nuns, there comes to mind the vision of good ladies in habits, easily identified as special members of the Roman Catholic Church, and of course doing good deeds of mercy and kindness to others, and especially to the poor.

Perhaps we also think in stereotypic terms that nuns are passive, always ready to turn the other cheek, even nonconfrontational and certainly not political. Perhaps a nun is best represented by that very special one MOTHER TERESA. What she did in her life achieved worldwide notoriety, well deserved.

But by no means all of them fit this stereotype. There came the AFFORDABLE CARE ACT, which we know as OBAMACARE which required all medical insurance to cover women’s “preventive care.” The anti–religion Barack Hussein Obama and the Obama Administration immediately and progressively defined preventive care as all manner of birth control. That meant that any insurance plan, whether private or governmental was required, forced to offer and pay for birth control no matter any religious ramifications. There were indeed exemptions, such as churches, granted a full exemption. But ironically so called employers like the LITTLE SISTERS OF THE POOR were not. That organization, to be sure, was indeed religious in nature but the LITTLE SISTERS were required to offer and pay for birth control items in any medical insurance offered. They stood up and fought back. And they took on the government yet a second time.

In 2017 and 2018, the Trump Administration expanded the exemption to employers who sincerely objected to paying for contraceptives. Good for you, Mr. Donald John Trump, good for you. But then, as the Wall Street Journal so well states, “in a dreary example of liberal intolerance, Pennsylvania and New Jersey sued to have the Trump exemption declared invalid, illegal and unconstitutional.” Not to be intimidated by the liberal, legal moves of these two states, the Little Sisters of the Poor, headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania moved to intervene. The case made its way through the lower courts, including the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, and it was finally recognized by the Supreme Court as a supreme legal example of constitutional importance, and a Supreme Court recognized and consolidated with other cases for review and decision:

THE LITTLE SISTERS OF THE POOR V. PENNSYLVANIA

This case is one excellent example of the conflict which now exists between competing rights of the First Amendment of the Constitution, namely the CLASH between FREEDOM OF RELIGION and the extent of the power and control of the federal government. Can, this case argues, religious organizations not churches, which again are exempt, which have sincerely held religious beliefs that the use of contraceptives and birth control measures are immoral and against their religion and conscience be required to offer such and even pay for these items as medical insurances offered. Can the government?

Pennsylvania and New Jersey argue that the Trump Administration exceeded its power when it granted this broad exemption to private employers. The states claim that the RELIGIOUS FREEDOM RESTORATION ACT (RFRA) and Obamacare do not authorize the creation of these exemptions to the birth control mandate.

The Little Sisters of the Poor, God bless them, fought back and forcefully reminded the Supreme Court that the RFRA clearly states that if the government wants to “substantially burden” religion against its conscience, which the birth control requirement would clearly do, the government must have a compelling interest in doing such and it must also do so by the least restrictive means. Is it, the nuns ask, governmentally COMPELLING that the government require and be so involved with the enforcement of birth control no matter the unconscionable burden to religious organizations and, is requiring all such organizations to offer and pay for such the least restrictive way the government can enforce this COMPELLING INTEREST as a national requirement. The nuns say no way and so do thousands of other such organizations and entities and so many private business owners as well.

By the way, the government tried to avoid the matter, the lawsuit by offering the Little Sisters a fig leaf. That is, an opt–out for them as a compromise. That might indeed solve the problem for the nuns and their organization, but it would leave undecided the much larger issue of governmental interference to religion generally and the constitutional rights of freedom of religion of so many other entities, paving the way for more litigation. Up they stood, these strong defenders of and believers in the constitution and freedom of religion and refused to be bribed. They did then and do now intend to FIGHT THE FIGHT OF FAITH. And all of us who are religious – Christian and otherwise applaud them and stand with them.

The states Pennsylvania and New Jersey responded to the Supreme Court that the nuns were unreasonable, guilty of OBSTINACY. Their attorneys immediately responded saying it is not obstinacy on their part but:

CONSTANCY OF BELIEF.

Good for them. It is such a pleasure to witness a religious organization standing firm, unintimidated by government and willing to do whatever is required to protect their constitutional rights and especially freedom of religion. All of us religionists, whether Catholic or not, should support this effort and watch with great expectancy the actions and critical decision making of the United States Supreme Court, which will occur this year 2020. Pay attention to this case my fellow Americans, and especially my fellow Christians:

 

LITTLE SISTERS OF THE POOR V. PENNSYLVANIA.

You know which side to root for!

The Supreme Court stated in the landmark case BURWELL V. HOBBY LOBBY that the burden of proof rests with government which must show that it lacks other means of achieving its desired goal without imposing a substantial burden on the exercise of religion. In so many cases, whichever party has the BURDEN OF PROOF has the more difficult duty to produce such evidence in order to win the case. In the Hobby Lobby case the Supreme Court held that the government had not shown that it lacks other means of achieving its desired goal without imposing a substantial burden on the exercise of religion. In short, it lost. In that ruling, and perhaps facetiously, the court suggested that the “feds” could “assume the cost of the insurance as an alternative means to achieve the governmental end which would be a FEDERAL BURDEN of billions of dollars.” Obviously, that went nowhere with the Obama Administration and the governmental agencies supporting his policies. The Hobby Lobby case unfortunately left any number of serious and critical constitutional issues undecided and now, THE LITTLE SISTERS, bless them, and their judicial fortitude will require the Supreme Court to decide the issue once and for all. And that is, the extent to which the government has a compelling interest in requiring “all manner of birth control” for any and all medical insurance plans, including and especially those offered by employers. We should all hope and pray that these stand–up nuns win the case.

And of course, enter groups like PLANNED PARENTHOOD. This aggressive and essentially government–funded organization, federal and state, say that all women would be harmed if their employers can object to paying for contraceptives – birth control. But such an argument is really specious indeed. Surely, if a man or a woman engaging in sexual acts wishes to utilize any form of contraception, he or she can personally pay for that protection. Any form of government, federal, state or local should not have the arbitrary power to require anyone or any entity to do so. In the hearts and minds of tens of millions, that is governmental overreach, abuse of authority and power, and most clearly UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

The Wall Street Journal reminds us that our great country America and WE THE PEOPLE have long been a beacon of light and hope for:

RELIGIOUS LIBERTY.

Move on, governments, and fight the fight of the CORONAVIRUS and other things medical that really matter and affect all of us equally. We have always accommodated, we American’s religion and religious freedom whether Christian, Jewish or Muslim, or any other for that matter, whether or not we agree with such others. We understand no matter our beliefs that religious freedom applies to every American citizen, EVERY ONE! Any differences are settled or debated with words and deeds, but not FORCE, especially governmental. We the people accommodate the Amish so that they are exempt from social security. We accommodate pacifists like Quakers and Brethren who will not go to war. Not only are we not intolerant to religion and the free exercise of religion as the constitution guarantees, but we the people encourage real religion in every way we can. When there are those who have SINCERELY HELD RELIGIOUS BELIEFS that something is wrong, and inconsistent with and compromising of their legitimate faith, those deeply held religious convictions should be honored. THE LITTLE SISTERS OF THE POOR do not believe in and are against contraceptives and the use of birth control. They and all like them should be exempt from offering and paying for such in the health plans they offer. That is our belief and that is what the constitution requires in our opinion. WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Whether Catholic or not, all of us should applaud the courage, the STAND–UP of THE LITTLE SISTERS OF THE POOR. They and their attorneys take on the great states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey who at least in this matter have lost their way. It is really so interesting, so American that ladies of mercy and charity take on the constitutional fight when other organizations have not. Let us who believe in religious freedom support them, and watch anxiously, hopefully and prayerfully that the Supreme Court will do the right thing, make the right decision and authenticate and prioritize freedom of religion and freedom of religious conscience. THE FREE EXERCISE CLAUSE AND THE FIRST AMENDMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION DEMAND THAT.