They never stop asking for more

Religious organizations and individuals, the Catholic church in particular, put Oliver Twist to shame. Their recent string of legal victories against having to provide contraception coverage to their employees has made them even more greedy about claiming privileges. Molly Redden says that the Catholic church now argues that even having to show up in court to fight a lawsuit is a violation of their religions freedom.

It arose from a case where a teacher in a Catholic school was fired for undergoing in-vitro fertilization treatment that, according to a senior Catholic clergyman, made her a “a grave, immoral sinner”. She sued. That was when the case took an interesting turn.

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 the diocese took one big step further. It is arguing that, in this instance, its religious liberty rights protect 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.”

What the Catholic church seems to want is to be considered an independent autonomous state within the US, free to act in any way it likes within its walls and subject to no oversight by the legal system.


  1. Crimson Clupeidae says

    They might win the case.

    …if they show up. However, I believe the law is pretty clear that if one side can not be bothered to show up, the ruling is pretty much a default.

  2. Sean (I am noit an imposter) says

    It’s good to see the Catholic Church finally policing the “grave, immoral sinners” in its ranks. Now if they could just go after the child rapists and abusers, some progress might be made.

    By coincidence I was just thinking about the limited liability enjoyed by corporations before reading this article. Jesus Christ SuperCorporation wants to take this a step further and be a zero-liability corporation, essentially immune to secular laws and any responsibility for breaking them. Amazing chutzpah to be sure, but if you can convince a billion people you speak on behalf of an invisible man, this might not be such a hard sell as it seems.

  3. Randy Lee says

    “What the Catholic church seems to want is to be considered an independent autonomous state within the US, free to act in any way it likes within its walls and subject to no oversight by the legal system”

    And why shouldn’t they expect such? If we are going to allow States to remain free from the application of fundamental logic then churches and individuals should also be allowed the same privilege. If we are going to grant immunity to fictional estates such as the State and its agents, then why not grant the same to everyone?
    If we are going to refuse to confront the inherently immoral and fundamentally irrational position of statists who believe that statism is justifiably maintained by means of predation, while at the same time attempting to see ourselves as civilized, why should we find it odd that individuals and churches are throwing aside the mental chains of pseudo-authority and making attempts at exercising their own autonomy? Whether we agree with a particular individual, or particular church, or their particular reasons for rejecting pseudo-authority, we should at a minimum be proud of the fact that the hypocritical claim of authority is being seen for what it really is, and that exercises in autonomy are being attempted.

  4. smrnda says

    Though I think more could be done to make a government more representative, the state at least puts forth a pretense of allowing input from those under it. We can vote. There are means of changing the law. Within my lifetime, MY VOTE has changed laws. So far, the types of regimes pushing for ‘autonomy’ are, essentially. pushing against a state with a constitution which guarantees rights for individuals to set up little feudal domains in which employees are serfs. Their quest for ‘autonomy’ is a rejection of the State intervening on behalf of the little people they wish they could control more.

  5. Randy Lee says

    Sure , ur vote will change something occasionally. How else will they maintain the pretense u mentioned. They have to make us believe wer’e free and in at least partial control of our future. Once people wake up to the fact that society can and should be organized without the initiation of aggression and predation by one group on another they will stop hallucianating this fiction called Authority.

    Watch this

  6. leni says

    Perhaps we should offer them a 72 hour waiting period between the time they decide what they want to do and when they actually do it. I bet that would help.

  7. joyfulatheist says

    Believers generally believe they answer to God, whom is by definition above the state. For some, this means taking up the cause of the poor and oppressed in a nation and advocating for their rights. But for many, it is simply an excuse for trying to impose a draconian way of life upon people that is far more repressive than anything conceived by the state itself. Kinda funny, when you consider which side of that fence Jesus supposedly stood on.

  8. NitricAcid says

    I hope the judge gives the teacher a very generous settlement. If they can’t be bothered to show up to argue their case, they can be pillaged to teach them a lesson about rendering unto Caesar….

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