by Tom Shaheen, VP for Policy, Pennsylvania Family Institute
In a temporary victory for the First Amendment freedom of religion, federal judge Arthur Schwab granted the Catholic Dioceses of Pittsburgh and Erie (PA) a reprieve from complying with an ObamaCare mandate that church leaders say violates their religious freedom.
Judge Schwab found: “The Government thus seeks to restrict the Right to the Free Exercise of Religion set forth in the First Amendment to a Right of Worship only.”
The Catholic Dioceses of Pittsburgh and Erie are challenging their participation in the new federal health care program because they would be required to provide its employees with contraceptives. Under the narrowest of so-called religious exemptions, churches themselves are exempt from the mandate, but charitable organizations, including Pittsburgh Catholic Charities, are not.
Pittsburgh Bishop Zubik told the court: “The issue with the services in the mandate is that they either go against preservation of human life or involve the actual taking of human life.
Read more in this story from Pittsburgh.
We at the Pennsylvania Family Institute – and our Independence Law Center – stand with the Catholic Diocese and all the other businesses and religious ministries in fighting for our freedoms, including Geneva College in Beaver County, PA and dozens of others, looking for relief in courts around the country.
Perhaps the most critical case is before the highest court right now, involving the Hahn family of Lancaster County and their business, Conestoga Wood Specialties, involving Randy Wenger and our Independence Law Center, Chester County attorney Charles Proctor, and the Alliance Defending Freedom. The U.S. Supreme Court is in the process of deciding whether it will take on the case involving Conestoga Wood Specialties and the HHS abortion-mandate. They are considering multiple similar cases – such as the one with the national arts and crafts store chain, Hobby Lobby.
In Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood v. Sebelius, the Court will have to decide if religious freedoms are violated by ObamaCare.
Please pray that the Supreme Court Justices take up one of these cases. And pray they decide that business owners should not be forced to violate their religious conscience simply because they are running a business. The decision to take up these cases is expected to be announced on Tuesday, November 26th.