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  • Franciscan University Stands Strong for Faith and Freedom

    Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, recently announced that it would no longer offer a student health insurance plan because it cannot do so under Obamacare without violating its religious beliefs.

    At issue is the Obamacare “preventive services” mandate promulgated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The mandate requires almost all health care plans to include abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization services, and contraception.

    Many individuals and institutions object on religious or moral grounds to participating in health care plans that include these products and services. Franciscan University, for example, has “specifically excluded” these products and services from its student health insurance policy.

    For Franciscan, this issue is a matter of staying true to its Catholic faith, and the university does not plan to compromise. The school “will not participate in a [health care] plan that requires us to violate the consistent teachings of the Catholic Church on the sacredness of human life.”

    Instead of blaming the President’s failure to protect freedom, some critics will undoubtedly attempt to blame Franciscan University for sticking to its principles. But that is a losing argument.

    Students who really want abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization services, and contraception in their university-sponsored health care plans can go other places.

    The question is whether, under Obamacare, students who want to attend an authentically Catholic university will be able to do so without being disadvantaged.

    Recent events such as these should lead those who care about religious freedom to ponder more deeply the ways that religious freedom goes hand in hand with the condition of freedom more generally. The Obamacare health care legislation represents an enormous intrusion by government into freedom of private choice and decision-making more generally. It should be no surprise, therefore, that Obamacare has already triggered what has been called an “unprecedented” imposition on religious freedom. And the “preventive services” mandate is just one small part of a gigantic statutory and regulatory scheme that is still being implemented.

    Members of various faith traditions and religious persuasions often make common cause with each other in the defense of religious freedom. However, as government continues to invade ever more deeply into realms of private choice and decision-making, those who seek to defend religious freedom should also make common cause with those who defend freedom in general. Religious freedom is rightly called our “first freedom,” but a society that abandons its moral and political commitment to freedom in general will become less willing and indeed even hostile to protecting religious freedom in particular instances.

    Exemptions and carve-outs are an important part of an overall strategy for protecting religious freedom. At some point, however, the problem of overweening government regulation will become so enormous that people and institutions of faith may very well become “mincemeat” if they rely exclusively on a “Swiss cheese” approach to protecting freedom in religious and moral matters.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    8 Responses to Franciscan University Stands Strong for Faith and Freedom

    1. Patricia says:

      Praise God for Franciscan University! all Catholic institutions should follow and make the injustice visible!
      The Founders fo this nation are behind us!

    2. stephen says:

      Yea, yea, it should say they would not offer health care, it is their choice, not Obama's

    3. Bobbie says:

      "I respect religious liberty" and will say what I say to convince you as I interfere behind your back to make it harder on you, my way! I'll test your faith specifically because your inner strength needs to crush!

      There's a book called "the great republic" published in 1899! Fascinating! It mentions Muslim pirates and their known HATRED for Christianity! And how the Muslim would enslave anyone they invaded! Staying true to their man made religion more prominent today!

      They've invaded America!

    4. Guest from Michigan says:

      There is no right to health care in this country, so I'm struggling to figure out the problem with Franciscan simply not offering a student plan. Students 26 and under can be on their parents' plan (if they have one), students whose parents have no health insurance and those over 26 are simply in the same situation as workers — if you want insurance, go out and buy it. It's nice when universities negotiate plans that their students can buy in to, but its not the responsibility of the university to do so and the fact that they've chosen not to — whatever the reason — doesn't strike me as an issue of religious freedom.

    5. TG Johnson says:

      This administration seems intent on testing the boundaries that used to define this nation as embracing a Judeo-Christian heritage. While Western Europe has largely abandoned that heritage, the US has continued to at least seem to adhere to it. The boldness of "legally" chipping away at those self-evident and divinely endowed freedoms seems to be the prelude to some stroke or strokes that will be even more breath-taking. Perhaps even an election may not suffice to remove the further threat of the loss of our liberties. May God prepare those of faith to meet those challenges with a greater unity.

    6. Tom says:

      Good for Franciscan U. I recognize that Obama wants a single payer health care system. It is essential that Church leaders pursue court challenge to Obama's anti-religion actions. This is a president who really has no regard for this nation's Constitution and he and his administration must be stopped.

    7. Guest from Virginia says:

      Franciscan University while making a stand for religious liberty is falling into the hands of this destructive administration regarding medical insurance and the Government plan. I believe that people will be thrown out of their own plans including medicare which was how the Government was hoping to make the Obama health control plan work. Medicare payments to Doctors are abysmal and will continue to become impossible for Doctors to be a part of. Companies will stop offering health plans as well. All the free stuff insurance companies will be forced to give will come at a detrimental cost to the American people. It is a mess folks.

    8. dougindeap says:

      Franciscan University's decision puts the lie to claims that the health law forces institutions and employers to act contrary to their consciences. As the University has demonstrated, employers and institutions can comply with the law (by not offering plans conflicting with the law) and remain true to their consciences.

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