The Catholic church in the US wants to operate as if it were a separate country from the US with full diplomatic immunity and perhaps national sovereignty as well. It wants to declare itself immune from the laws and thus permitted to do whatever it damn well wants to.
A teacher at a Catholic grade school in Indiana got in vitro fertilization treatment.
[A]fter church officials were alerted that Herx was undergoing IVF—making her, in the words of one monsignor, “a grave, immoral sinner”—it took them less than two weeks to fire her.
There they are again. Raping children doesn’t make a priest “a grave, immoral sinner” but getting IVF makes a woman “a grave, immoral sinner.” That’s a healthy moral system.
Herx filed a discrimination lawsuit in 2012. In response, St. Vincent de Paul School and the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese, her former employers, countered with an argument used by a growing number of religious groups to justify firings related to IVF treatment or pregnancies outside of marriage: freedom of religion gives them the right to hire (or fire) whomever they choose. But in this case, the diocese took one big step further: It’s arguing that religious liberty protects the school from having to go to court at all.
“I’ve never seen this before, and I couldn’t find any other cases like it,” says Brian Hauss, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union Center for Liberty. The group is not directly involved in the lawsuit but has filed amicus briefs supporting Herx. “What the diocese is saying is, ‘We can fire anybody, and we have absolute immunity from even going to trial, as long as we think they’re violating our religion. And to have civil authorities even look into what we’re doing is a violation.’…It’s astonishing.”
They want it all – everything. Special status that sets them apart from the state and the (non-Catholic) people who make it up, and allows them to do whatever they want provided they claim it’s part of their religious whatever.
The diocese argued that a trial on this question would violate its freedom of religion and appealed the judge’s decision to a three-judge panel on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. “[If] the diocese is required to go through a trial,” attorneys for the diocese and school argued, it would “irrevocably” deny Fort Wayne-South Bend the benefits of religious protection. Herx’s attorneys are fighting the appeal.
They’re nothing if not greedy.
Yesterday the court
ruled that religious freedom exemptions do not give theFort Wayne-South Bend Diocese immunity from Emily Herx’s sex-discrimination lawsuit. Herx’s lawsuit can now go forward in US District Court.
But the church will keep trying. It will never stop. It thinks it’s on a cloud above the rest of us.