Speaker Paul Ryan invited the Little Sisters of the Poor to join him as his guests for the State of the Union. But that’s not the only way in which they’re getting a helping hand from Congress.
The office of Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) issued a press release with a link to a bipartisan amicus brief signed by 207 members of Congress in support of the Little Sisters of the Poor. The amicus brief was sent to the Supreme Court in support of the Catholic group and other non-profit organizations in the upcoming case of Zubik vs. Burwell.
Such groups in the case object to signing a form which they argue makes them compliant in violating their faith when it comes to providing contraception and abortifacient drugs.
Black, as well as Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) who also signed on and announced the amicus brief, stressed religious liberty was at stake in the case.
From Rep. Black’s press release:
It is hard to imagine what could possibly be more pure or worthwhile than the ministry of Little Sisters of the Poor and the other religious nonprofits represented in this case. We should be praising their work, not punishing it. Sadly, that is exactly what Obamacare’s coercive HHS mandate will do. The law sets up an impossible choice for these organizations: deny their deeply held beliefs and provide coverage for drugs they deem to be morally objectionable, or face crippling financial penalties from the federal government. This is a pivotal moment for religious freedom and I am honored to lend my voice and my prayers to the growing chorus calling on the Supreme Court to rectify this crisis and protect these time-honored rights from government attack when this case is heard later this year.
Rep. Mike Kelly stated:
The HHS mandate remains a hideous component of a disastrous law that puts government’s power over people’s rights. It puts this administration on the wrong side of our nation’s long and cherished history of religious liberty and tolerance—and deserves to be defeated. With this amicus brief, my colleagues and I stand side by side with the Little Sisters of the Poor and all those whose First Amendment rights have been trampled under this president’s agenda. I expect the Supreme Court to ultimately free these heroic nuns from the mandate’s oppressive penalties and allow them to continue serving a country where religious freedom is not just settled but celebrated. No government program or politician must ever be permitted to punish American citizens for peacefully following their faith—period.
From Sen. Lankford:
This bipartisan amicus brief articulates the great concern that many Americans have about our First Amendment right of the free exercise of religion. The case exposes the Obama administration’s focus on freedom of worship as our primary religious right, instead of our freedom of religion, which includes our everyday lives. Colleges, universities and nonprofits should never be placed in a position where they have to violate their faith to please the government. The question before the Supreme Court should never have reached this level, but it is important for the future of our liberty that the Court now rule in favor of religious freedom.
Senator Orrin Hatch noted that “religious freedom is a fundamental right that government must respect and accommodate.”
With any hope, the Supreme Court will agree with these members of Congress and the over 200 more. It is not merely religious liberty which is at stake here, but religious liberty to protect life from the moment it begins at conception.