The monks at Belmont Abbey College knew

NPR’s Barbara Bradley Hagerty haz a sad about the war on religion in the US.

If you’re looking for evidence that the Obama administration is hostile to faith, conservatives say, the new health care law is Exhibit A. The law requires employers to offer health care plans that cover contraceptives. Churches don’t have to, but religiously affiliated charities, hospitals and colleges do. That doesn’t sit well with the Catholic monks at Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina.

“When the government said to them, you’re going to have to fund contraception, sterilization, in violation of your deeply held religious convictions, the monks at Belmont Abbey College knew that they just couldn’t do that,” says attorney Hannah Smith at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

Oh the poor poor poor martyrs. How dare the evil gumbint force their colleges to offer health care plans that cover contraceptives? They have deeply held religious convictions which tell them that they – monks – get to prevent people from separating sex from conception. How evil of the gumbint to interfere with their convictions just because the disgusting secular harlots want contra hissssssssss ception.

Religious conservatives see an escalating war with the Obama White House. One Catholic bishop called it “the most secularist administration in history.” Another bishop says it is an “a-theocracy.” Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, Conn., who heads the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ new Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty, believes the First Amendment is clear: The government cannot make people choose between obeying the law and following their faith.

Oh yes? What if “following their faith” means having sex with children or murdering rebellious daughters?

The piece goes on and on and on in this vein, with a very brief interlude to hear from Rob Boston of Americans United. It’s…tawdry.


  1. Nomen Nescio says

    “the most secularist administration in history.”

    wait, hold on. how is that not a compliment, again?

  2. Pierce R. Butler says

    Whereas hardly a peep has been peeped from the Catholic hierarchy, in the US or globally, about all of us being compelled to fork over thousands of tax dollars every year, now and for generations to come, for the slaughter of post-born children in Afghanistan, Iraq, etcccccc…

    Why is that, Bishop Lori?

  3. Randomfactor says

    The government cannot make people choose between obeying the law and following their faith.

    And it doesn’t. It DOES make them choose between following their faith or operating businesses where they have to obey the law. They chose…poorly.

  4. NewEnglandBob says

    What a shame that a church representative has to take one up the rear instead of forcing it upon others. What knucklehead becomes a monk in the 21st century?

  5. says

    I have never understood this argument.

    Suppose they offered medical insurance without contraception – wouldn’t that cost more that medical insurance with contraception (if true market costs were used)? Childbirth is more expensive than contraception, and a health insurance policy without contraception would have more childbirths.

    If that’s correct, then they would not be funding contraception, contrary to their objection.

  6. Gwynnyd says

    I’m sure they have no problem with insurance funded viagra. It is every monk’s right to have an erection lasting 3 hours and 59 minutes, after all.

  7. dirigible says

    “the law requires employers to offer health care plans that cover contraceptives”

    Yes. And?

  8. sambarge says

    “The government cannot make people choose between obeying the law and following their faith.”

    And it doesn’t. Employers have to offer health care with prescription contraceptives. Employees who have religious reasons for not using contraceptives are not obliged to take them simply because the plan provides coverage for them. Duh.

    Now, if the US government mandated paid maternity leave with a guarantee of continuous employment for 12 months (for either parent to use), I bet there wouldn’t be an employer in the country that didn’t encourage the use of prescription bc.

  9. Ken Pidcock says

    This can’t be a brand new issue for Catholic colleges. I assume it’s just the mandate. They don’t like knowing that they would be unable to deny their employees coverage.

    Another bishop says it is an “a-theocracy.”

    Yeah, yeah. I’m a fundamentalist and I favor a theocracy. Sort of. Don’t you see?

  10. says

    “The conservative religious groups want to take away all the liberty of the pro-choice and gay-rights people, and the pro-choice and gay-rights people want to take away all the liberty of the conservative religious groups,”

    These guys just can’t see it. The only ‘liberty’ the pro-choice and gay-rights people want to take away from the other side is the ‘liberty’ to force their beliefs on everyone.

    This seems to be an difficult concept for conservatives.

  11. fastlane says

    I suspect they think they’re being consistent.

    You see, they want the government to keep out of their business, whether they’re molesting children, or oppressing women. It’s all part of their religious freedom, dontcha know?

  12. Ben Finney says

    No-one is forcing them to abandon their deeply-held religious convictions.

    No-one is forcing them to be in the business of offering universal health care.

    But they can’t legally do the latter without the former. It’s their choice.

  13. Jurjen S. says

    The government cannot make people choose between obeying the law and following their faith.

    As other commenters have already observed, it doesn’t. “Following one’s faith” does not require one to run a college or an adoption service or take a government(-mandated) job or otherwise provide a service to the public. And if you do decide to get into one of those businesses, and especially if you accept government funding to operate it, you’re required to play by the same rules everybody else is. Being treated the same as everybody else is the exact opposite of discrimination.

  14. Belmont Abbey Student says

    I go to the school and even I think this is ridiculous.

    It is NOT the Christian way to force your beliefs on those around you, and NO where does it state that you have to be Catholic to work at the college; so not offering birth control and other items in health care to staff is just wrong.

    I, for one, have to take birth control for my health reasons that have nothing to do with intimacy and I find it unfair that I am supposedly not allowed to even have it in my dorm.

    They don’t want students in posession of condoms or birth control, but how would they react to seeing a pregnant student walking by? They would freak out. Most people would judge.

    This is coming from a school where many students are “holy Catholics” by day who judge the lives of others. Then by night these SAME students can be seen running around the campus highly intoxicated and taking part in sexual relations with other “religious” students. It’s sickening.

    I have indeed considered changing schools.

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