ISSN 2330-717X

Obama Enlists ACLU To War On Catholics – OpEd


On April 3, Catholic News Service published a story on an internal memo from the bishops on ObamaCare.

The more the bishops study this issue, the more resolved they are in opposing ObamaCare. At the heart of the bishops’ objections is the contrived and unjust way the Obama administration defines a religious organization; it grants an exemption only to what it deems is a religious entity. In point of fact, it is the ACLU that is really dictating to Catholics what passes as a religious institution.

In 2000, the California Contraceptive Equity Law was passed. In it there is a provision defining what qualifies as a religious employer, and it was written by the ACLU. Besides noting that the institution must be a non-profit, the exact qualifying language is as follows:

  • “The inculcation of religious values is the purpose of the entity”
  • “The entity primarily employs persons who share the religious tenets of the entity”
  • “The entity serves primarily persons who share the religious tenets of the entity”

The Health and Human Services edict forcing Catholic institutions to provide for abortion-inducing drugs in their insurance coverage also allows an exemption for groups it deems religious. Besides noting the non-profit status, the exact qualifying language is as follows:

  • “Has the inculcation of religious values as its purpose”
  • “Primarily employs persons who share its religious tenets”
  • “Primarily serves persons who share its religious tenets”

Having written a Ph.D. dissertation and two books on the ACLU, I can say unequivocally that the ACLU has long been an enemy of religious liberty. Indeed, when it was founded in 1920 by Roger Baldwin (whom I interviewed in 1978), it listed all the provisions of the First Amendment among its first ten goals. Not among them was religious liberty. And these are the same folks that Obama turns to in his war on Catholics.

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William Donohue

William Donohue is the current president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights in the United States, and has held that position since 1993.

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