Tuesday, February 5, 2013

College Refuses Obama Admin Demand to Drop HHS Mandate Lawsuit

RSS Feed From Steven Ertelt, Alliance Defending Freedom On August - 14 - 2012

This is a syndicated post from LifeNews.com. [Read the original article...]

Louisiana College filed a response in federal court Friday to the U.S. Department of Justice’s motion to dismiss the college’s lawsuit against the Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate.

The lawsuit challenges the unconstitutional mandate, which requires religious employers to provide insurance coverage for abortion pills at no cost to employees regardless of religious or moral objections.

“Every American should be free to live and do business according to their faith,” said Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot. “The government shouldn’t punish people of faith for following their beliefs when making decisions for themselves or their organizations. That’s why this lawsuit should not be casually dismissed as the Obama administration would like to see happen.”

“This mandate leaves religious employers with no true choice: either comply and abandon your religious freedom and conscience, or resist and be punished,” said allied attorney and co-counsel Mike Johnson, dean of Louisiana College’s Pressler School of Law. “It is a shame that the Obama administration is opposing religious freedom rather than supporting it.”

The college’s response, filed with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana in Louisiana College v. Sebelius, pokes holes in the Obama administration’s contention that the lawsuit should be dismissed. The administration points to a notice it issued in March about a proposed rulemaking process that would require insurers rather than employers to provide abortion pill coverage.

“But the [notice] does not make that proposal or explain how it will work,” the response brief states. “Louisiana College affirms that even if its insurer provided the abortifacient coverage, this would still violate the College’s religious beliefs by forcing it to provide employees an objectionable plan. The [notice] therefore is not a concrete proposed rule that ‘if made final, would significantly amend’ the Mandate.”



“Under the government’s position, no case can challenge the constitutionality of a statute or regulation if it may be changed in the future. That can be said of any law,” the brief continues. “If the government is still trying to figure out what the Mandate should require, it should withdraw it. Government shouldn’t be able to require compliance with a Mandate that it says is unfinished.”

Recently, a federal court issued an order that halts enforcement of the Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate against a Colorado family-owned business while an Alliance Defending Freedom lawsuit challenging the mandate continues in court.

The mandate has generated massive opposition from pro-life groups because it forces employers, regardless of their religious or moral convictions, to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception under threat of heavy penalties.

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys obtained the first-ever order against the mandate on behalf of Hercules Industries and the Catholic family that owns it. The administration opposed the order, arguing, contrary to the U.S. Constitution, that people of faith forfeit their religious liberty once they engage in business.

The decision only applies to the company, and the court emphasized the ruling did not apply nationwide.

Since Hercules Industries would be required to begin offering the new coverage when its self-insured plan renews on November 1, Alliance Defending Freedom has requested a preliminary injunction that could prevent the government from enforcing the mandate against the company by August 1, the date when the company would need to begin the process of making changes to its plan.

As is the case with many religious groups or employers, the mandate could subject the Newlands to millions of dollars in fines per year if they don’t abide by its requirements.

“Every American, including family business owners, should be free to live and do business according to their faith. For the time being, Hercules Industries will be able to do just that,” said ADF Legal Counsel Matt Bowman after the decision.

Bowman added, “The cost of freedom for this family could be millions of dollars per year in fines that will cripple their business if the Obama administration ultimately has its way. This lawsuit seeks to ensure that Washington bureaucrats cannot force families to abandon their faith just to earn a living. Americans don’t want politicians and bureaucrats deciding what faith is, who the faithful are, and where and how that faith may be lived out.”

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty led the charge filing the first lawsuits against the HHS mandate representing five clients: Belmont Abbey College, Colorado Christian University, Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), Ave Maria University, and Wheaton College. There are currently over 20 lawsuits pending around the country against the HHS mandate.


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Steven Ertelt, Alliance Defending Freedom (1 Posts)

One Response to “College Refuses Obama Admin Demand to Drop HHS Mandate Lawsuit”

  1. [...] religious beliefs by providing things in their employee insurance plans that they oppose. A recent article states: “The government shouldn’t punish people of faith for following their beliefs when [...]

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Candlemas from the Vatican

The livefeed may be accessed here for the Mass beginning at 11:30 am Eastern time.

Here is the booklet for the Mass.

Bishop Sample and the Future of Catholic Music

There are two errors to correct in the news that Bishop Alexander K. Sample is headed to Portland, Oregon. The first is that it means nothing. The second is that it means everything. As is often the case, the reality will be something in between.

At one level, it is a momentous choice because the Bishop is one of the great voices and minds in our time in favor of the “reform the reform” plus the push for sacred music, about which he is a genuine expert. Portland is the home of the Oregon Catholic Press, which provides music for a plurality of American parishes, and what OCP provides (for the most part) represents an older paradigm (roughty 1968-2010) of musical expression, the reform without the reform. Insofar as OCP’s publication program depends heavily on the approval of the local ordinary, the appointment could be very significant.

But let’s be clear about the Bishop’s temperament and approach. He is an extremely kind and thoughtful person. He is extremely accessible and not puffed up in any way. He is not a “hard liner” by any stretch. He loves beauty and tradition and would like to see this spread through inspiration and example. But he is not the skull-cracking type at all. He is a broad-minded man of genuine conviction but also possesses great pastoral sensitivity. He has a warm heart, a delightful personality, and loves people. If you see someone describe him as Torquemada, know this: that person is utterly clueless about the reality of this shepherd of the faith.

It was my great pleasure to be invited as part of a Church Music Association of America team to Marquette, Michigan, to put on a music seminar for the diocese. The purpose of the meeting was to introduce sacred music and sugn propers and chant to the musicians of the diocese. I gave several lectures and got people singing the ordinary of the Mass in English chant. Arlene Oost-Zinner taught the details of music reading, tonality, rhythm, and singing properly. Attending were most musicians from the area. We used resources such as the Simple English Propers and the Parish Book of Psalms.

Bishop Sample attended the entire event from start to finish. He gave some talks too, and in each, he struck precisely the right chord. His talks were about the rationale and need for gradual change. He explained that what the musicians are doing at liturgy is generally underappreciated. Their job is not just to sing anything but rather to aspire to sing the actual liturgy. This task raises the important of the musical arts to a much higher level.

Now, if you know anything about Catholic musicians, they tend to resist any change. They get invested in what they have done in the past and are happy to do that in the future. They tend to think that any push for change is an insult to their past contribution, even when no insult is intended at all. Even when they feel a sense of internal frustration and confusion about their task, they fear new missions because they worry that they don’t have the skill, that they will alienate people by failing to sing people’s favorite songs, and that they won’t be able to perform the new music in a degree of competence that makes them come across well.

It was absolutely dazzling how Bishop Sample dealt so beautifully with all these fears. He was light and conversational with everyone — plus he is genuinely funny! He assured them all repeatedly how much he values what they have done. He also gave them the confidence that they needed to undertake a new challenge. We could easily see the effects of his presence there.

Everyone was delighted and inspired. He made our job much easier. In the end, the seminar was a rousing success in every way. I would suggest that not even one attendee left those days with a sense of fear. They were all excited about the future. This is the way he works: like Benedict XVI himself, Sample leads not through coercion but through example, inspiration, and frank telling of what is true.

There are many problems besides music in Portland, Oregon, among which bankruptcy and shortages of priests and many other issues. At the same time, it is obviously true that the issues with the Oregon Catholic Press will be on the table.

You might be surprised to learn that the OCP has already undergone many changes in the last five years. It has spent a lot of money and taken a huge financial risk in producing top-of-the-line recordings of the entire sung Mass in authentic Gregorian chant. It has pushed these and distributed them widely. Their advertising for these recordings has pointed out that this music is the music of the Roman Rite. In addition, OCP distributes many books of chant, along with tutorials and otherwise. The “reform the reform” is not utterly foreign to OCP.

In addition, the staff of OCP has some outstanding musicians there, people who sing high-quality music around town. They know their stuff. There are scholars and sacred music enthusiasts all throughout the building. It is by no means barren of high artistic sensibility and expertise in this area. Some employees of OCP listen to chant and polyphony in their cars and homes and even perform this music as part of their musical avocation. They attend concerts in the lively artistic scene in Portland. In their private lives, they revel in their vast knowledge of the repertoire.

If you are shocked to hear these things, it is understandable. This is not part of OCP’s reputation. This is because its bread and butter is the distribution of pop music to parish in fly-away resources. They have many resources they distribute, from resources for the pews, organ accompaniments, many different types and styles of hymnals, choral resources, and more. When a parish signs up for their subscription services, the materials arrive like a tsunami. People in the music world speak of this or that parish as an “OCP parish,” and everyone knows what that means. It’s not good.

I would rank the quality of their main product to be inferior to anything you will see or hear in the Protestant world. My own parish is an “OCP parish,” and the frustrations that musicians feel with their product is unrelenting. The choral books don’t match the hymn books. The hymns are in different keys, sometimes different rhythms, and sometimes even different words. There will be verses in the hymnbooks that are not replicated in the choir books — and attempting to use both without a thorough pre-Mass check can be enormously frustrating.

The sheer volume of week and predictable pop music in these resources, even those claiming to represent the Catholic heritage, is overwhelming. And the absence of core traditional repertoire is just as notable. One might expect that “Sleepers Awake” would be there for advent. Nope. One might think that the the Marian antiphons would be there. Nope. One might expect more than one Latin setting of the ordinary chants. Nope. Sung propers of the Mass for entrance, offertory, or communion? Nothing. For a musician who sets out to use music that is part of the long tradition of the Catholic world, and attempts to use OCPs main publications to do, he or she will find a desert.

This is a problem. But it is not a problem without easy and fairly painless solutions. If those solutions exist, I have every confidence that Bishop Sample will find them. And he will manage to do this in a way that does not create enemies but rather makes new friends. This is his way.

In addition, I know for a fact that there are many within OCP who are ready for a change. They have grumbled quietly for years but deferred to the marketing managers at OCP who are convinced that they have to keep doing what they doing or else they lose money. Sometimes it takes a real pastor to show up and say: there is another way and I believe you can thrive by pursuing it. And no matter what you hear to the contrary, many people within OCP will be celebrating this change.

And here’s the thing: everyone knows that things must change. The problem with Catholic music is famous. I’ve never spoken to a group of Catholics where the problems are not well known and understood widely. You only need to raise a slight eyebrow on the subject to garner laughter. Everyone knows. More importantly, everyone at OCP knows too.

The change won’t happen immediately. It might not even be detectable by anyone but the closest observers. It might takes several years. But it will come. And the Church and her liturgy will be much better off as a result. Making this change in Portland will spread change to the whole of the American Church and then to the whole of the English speaking world and then to the whole rest of the world. This is the center, the core, the spot from which a major problem that exists in the Catholic world can be rectified.

An Office Hymn for Candlemas: Let Zion’s Bridal Room Be Clothed

As Adam mentions below, the entrance procession for the Feast of the Presentation or Candlemas features the chant Adorna Thalamum Tuum, Sion. Peter Abelard’s similarly titled hymn, Adorna Sion Thalamum, is an Office Hymn for the day.

We see the imper…

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