HHS’s Bishop Bash
But more is at issue than the HHS contraception mandate in ObamaCare, even now that the Supreme Court has upheld that law.
Last fall, HHS pulled the plug on a program run by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops to help victims of sex trafficking. Since 2006 — when President George W. Bush’s HHS awarded a five-year, $19 million-plus grant for the project — the bishops had satisfactorily provided housing, counseling and other services to help trafficking victims put their lives back together.
That obviously violated a sacred teaching in the Church of Obama. So when the time came for HHS to decide whether to continue funding the bishops’ work, the feds took off points for their refusal to promote abortions.
And yet, even with this deduction, as The Washington Post reported, HHS’s own review process still scored the bishops’ funding application much higher than two of their competitors’.
All’s well that ends well, right?
Despite the fact that the two other groups were — by any objective measure — far less qualified than the bishops to administer the trafficking-victims program, political officials at HHS gave those groups the money. Of the four organizations that sought grants, only the Catholic bishops were denied — for standing on principle.
To add insult to injury, the USCCB is now refighting this battle in court.
In 2009, the American Civil Liberties Union sued over the trafficking-victims program — arguing that because the government’s exemption for abortions accommodated a religious principle, it violated the Constitution’s Establishment Clause.
Last March, a federal judge in Massachusetts agreed — ruling against the bishops and saying that, under the Constitution, HHS had to nix their application.
But here’s the rub: Because the original ACLU lawsuit actually targeted HHS for agreeing to the bishops’ restrictions, the Obama administration and the USCCB are technically on the same side in the legal fight against the Anti-Christian Loonies Union. And guess what: In May, the administration filed notice that it would appeal the Massachusetts court’s ruling.
The question now is, what will that appeal look like? Will the Obama legal team pull a bait-and-switch and refuse to fight for real, as it did with the Defense of Marriage Act?
Or will it mount a good-faith defense of religious liberty?
Catholic teaching holds that no transgressor is beyond hope of redemption. After Team O’s one-two punch — hitting the bishops’ program and then imposing the contraception mandate — let’s see if Obama & Co. will prove that teaching right.
Standing up for the bishops in court would be a good place to start.
Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/editorials/hhs_bishop_bash_qekOTe1sIBHBTeTs7mjaZM#ixzz20925FgnA