Catholic Bishops Suing Over Birth Control Mandate
Catholic leaders filed a suit in federal court to block the contraception mandate arguing that the requirements to buy birth control for their employees violates their freedom of religion. This is igniting yet again a fight about how government and religion co-exist in our country.
On today’s Happening Now, Mary Ann Glendon, a Harvard Law School professor, weighed in on why she thinks institutions like the Catholic Church have services that are essential to limiting government. Glendon feels this controversy has been understood as a religion freedom issue, but says it’s more than that.
“What’s involved is a kind of diversity issue or a pluralism issue about the institutions of
civil society that provides so much of our education, social services and health care,” she said. Glendon believes the question will be whether all these institutions can do so by retaining their own character and following their principles.
She said that if some of these institutions are not allowed to function, than the state becomes all powerful when it comes to the services they provide. When it comes to the tipping point, Glendon said it occurs when government goes where it has not gone before.
Glendon is puzzled as to why the government chose to establish a religious exemption that is “so narrow, that practically no one qualifies for.”
Since the government did not offer any accommodations on the religious exemption, she said the bishops had to go to court, but pointed out that they waited a long time to do so. “As I understand it they
still are very hopeful that negotiation can cause the government to withdraw the mandate or broaden the exemption,” Glendon added.