A court ruled in favor of religious liberty against the assault on conscience that is the Department of Health and Human Services abortion-drug, contraception, female sterilization Obamacare “preventative services” mandate. A divided D.C. circuit court panel found: “We must determine whether the contraceptive mandate imposed by the Act trammels the right of free exercise—a right that lies at the core of our constitutional liberties—as protected by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.” The case was brought by Frank and Phil Gilardi, two Catholic brothers who own Freshway Foods in Ohio. Ed Whelan’s instant legal analysis is here.
I’ve been writing all morning for various venues, broadly speaking, on the integrated life of faith. (I talked to a cool website, the Integrated Catholic Life about such matters a few months ago here.) Today Catholics celebrate All Saints’ Day, followed by All Souls’ Day tomorrow. As the pope put it this morning, we believe we’re all called to sainthood — he calls it “a vocation for everyone” — a life of holiness, and the sacraments give us the possibility of pulling it off.
Folks like these brothers, the Evangelical Green family who run Hobby Lobby, Frank O’Brien, a Michigan businessman represented by the same lawyer (who I’ve interviewed here), and others who have brought the Department of Health and Human Services to court over this mandate to protect their religious liberty, are reintroducing Christianity, in a sense. This month there is a lot of celebrating of John F. Kennedy Jr. His is a model of the privatization of religious faith in the public square, be it business or politics. But real faith is for more than nostalgia, routine, or a safe harbor. It’s real to these people and they are trying – and thanks be to God they have the right to. Let’s keep that right protected. Let’s be more alert to the threats and attacks, as others around the world would die for the right (read my interview with John Allen about his new book, Christian persecution this week here). And also realize that this abortion-drug, contraception, female sterilization Obamacare employer mandate doesn’t just have businessmen, schools, and other institutional religious entities in court, but also religious sisters: The Little Sisters of the Poor are suing the Department of Health and Human Services, too, because the Obama administration insists its sexual revolutionary ideology masked as women’s health trumps conscience.
UPDATE: The actual link to Ed Whelan’s analysis is here.
My interview with Francis Manion, the lawyer who represents the Gilardi brothers, reacting to the ruling, is here.