October 7, 2017

Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (100717)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:00 am

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.

Positivity: New religious freedom protections draw praise from experts

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Washington:

Oct 6, 2017 / 04:38 pm

After the Trump administration announced new exemptions to the contraceptive mandate and a religious freedom guidance, experts said both actions offered concrete protections of religious freedom.

“Today the Trump administration made two commendable decisions in support of the bedrock American principle of religious liberty,” Dr. Matthew Franck, director of the William E. and Carol G. Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution at the Witherspoon Institute, told CNA, calling the actions “cause for much celebration.”

On Friday morning the administration followed through on two promises made in President Donald Trump’s May 4 executive order on religious liberty – relief from the HHS mandate for religious and conscientious objectors, and a Department of Justice guidance to federal agencies on implementing religious freedom protections found in existing federal law.

The administration first announced on Friday an expansion of religious and moral exemptions to the HHS contraceptive mandate, over which many non-profit groups and some for-profit businesses had sued the federal government.

“Groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor, who dedicate their lives to the indigent elderly, can finally expect the restitution of their conscience-rights in court,” Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie, policy advisor with The Catholic Association, stated on Friday.

The HHS had interpreted the Affordable Care Act to include a mandate on cost-free coverage for sterilizations, contraceptives, and drugs that can cause early abortions in health plans.

Although many religious groups were opposed to contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortion-causing drugs, the religious exemptions from the mandate were so narrow that only churches and their integrated auxiliaries were safe from having to comply.

This meant that many religious charities and universities had to comply with the mandate’s demands. The Obama administration offered an “accommodation” to objecting non-profits to comply with the mandate, but charities like the Little Sisters of the Poor said this still forced them to be complicit in the provision of objectionable coverage. …

Go here for the ret of the story.