The case for limited government is becoming increasingly inseparable from the case for religious liberty. Yesterday, the New York Times published a lengthy article on the battle between the Catholic Church and various arms of the leviathan welfare state. The church is battling Obama administration requirements that Catholic schools and hospitals cover contraceptives in their health plans, battling Obama administration decisions to freeze Catholics out of contracts to aid sex-trafficking victims, and battling the state of Illinois over state requirements that Catholic charities place kids with same-sex couples. These fights come after the Catholic church famously shut down its adoption services in Massachusetts rather than bow to state demands that it place children in same-sex households. The Times sets ups the battle for religious liberty as a matter of right of access to government contracts:
Critics of the church argue that no group has a constitutional right to a government contract, especially if it refuses to provide required services.
But Anthony R. Picarello Jr., general counsel and associate general secretary of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, disagreed. “It’s true that the church doesn’t have a First Amendment right to have a government contract,” he said, “but it does have a First Amendment right not to be excluded from a contract based on its religious beliefs.”
While I agree completely with Anthony Picarello’s comment, we shouldn’t lose sight of a larger truth: Because of the massive expansion of government, religious organizations are often unable to even conduct their traditional charitable functions without heavy state regulation. In other words, the “government contracts” or “government benefits” at issue are a required component of the charitable work. Don’t believe me? Try running a foster-care program independently. Try offering a health-insurance plan for your employees without dealing with a maze of federal regulations. So this is not a simple matter of a private organization trying to feed from the federal trough but instead of a religious organization trying to carry out a mission that predates the very formation of our nation and being barred from doing so because the state has decided it knows best.
This represents a fundamental change in our social contract and one that — for all the yammerings of the “strict separation” crowd — actually results in the government leaping straight into the most sacred choices of our religious institutions. The Catholic Church is entirely correct to stand against Illinois and the Obama administration and defend its 2,000-year-old mission and purpose.
President Obama has a penchant for presidential power plays. He has been following his own playbook since January 2014 when he declared: “I’ve got a pen, and I’ve got a phone” – his promise to do all that he could to bypass Congress – relying on Executive Orders and actions instead of legislation.
Another election day is upon us, but for many the question lingers: Why vote? Many of you reading this may even be asking, there’s an election today? No, the President isn’t on the ballot, neither are the members of the U.S. House or Senate. Unless you live in Kentucky, Louisiana, or Mississippi,
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For years, the ACLJ has fought—and continues to fight—to defend your Constitutionally protected freedoms. Your support allows us to fight for the lives of the unborn, defend the Constitution, and protect the religious liberties of all U.S. citizens. Here are a few of the victories that you’ve...