UP Catholic 03 18 2016 E Edition Page 6

6 March 18, 2016 THE U.P. CATHOLIC COMMENTARY www.upcatholic.org Little Sisters of the Poor thank supporters of Supreme Court Case W hat do 207 members of Congress, 50 Catho- lic theologians, 13 law professors, nine profes- sional associations and two promi- nent womens organizations have in common with the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congrega- tions of America, the American Islamic Congress, the Gener- al Conference of Sev- enth-Day Adventists and the Internation- al Society of Krishna Consciousness? These individuals and organizations are just a sampling of the many people who have come to the aid of the Little Sisters of the Poor in support of our lawsuit over the HHS Contraceptive Mandate. They signed on to one of 43 amicus, or friend of the court, briefs submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 11. Together with the Little Sisters, our elderly Residents and their families in 27 homes across the country, they have said, Well have NUN of it with regard to the federal governments demand that we offer contraceptives, abortifacient drugs and sterilization procedures as part of our employee health benefits. We Little Sisters of the Poor are profoundly humbled and grateful to so many people from diverse walks of life who have supported us on this legal journey, which will soon reach its culmination in the Supreme Court. To all of them we wish to offer a very humble and heartfelt thank you! Some of those who have signed amicus briefs, like our Sisters in the consecrated life, are longtime friends. For others, we can only marvel at the way our paths have crossed. Though the amicus briefs consider our case from varying perspectives, all turn to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) to bolster their arguments. RFRA was passed by Con- gress in the wake of a 1990 U.S. Supreme Court decision limiting con- stitutional protec- tions for religious liberty. It puts two qualifi- cations on the govern- ments ability to impose limits on religious free- dom: a compelling interest in favor of the common good and use of the least restrictive means possible. In his signing remarks in 1993, President Bill Clinton noted what a broad coalition of Americans came together to make this bill a reality. Adding that this coalition crossed ideological and religious lines, President Clinton praised the shared desire . . . to protect perhaps the most precious of all American liberties, religious freedom. Reading through the amicus briefs written on our behalf, I was hum- bled by what a broad coalition of Americans has come together once again to help defend religious liberty. What I found most striking were the concerns and fears expressed by our brothers and sisters of other faith groups, especially those representing religious traditions that claim relatively few American followers. These minority religious groups note that our case rep- resents an attempt by bu- reaucrats to ques- tion the accuracy and rea- sonable- ness of our sincerely held religious beliefs. They fear that allowing government to sec- ond-guess religious beliefs and favor some religious groups over others uniquely harms the very minority religions that RFRA was designed to protect. Adherents of minority religions would have the most to lose, they contend, if the governments current position were to prevail. I am also particularly grateful to our Southern Baptist friends for clearly articulating the reality that a funda- mental aspect of Christian doctrine is its requirement that faith must govern every aspect of a Christians life The exercise of the Christian religion must guide and determine a Christians decisions, words, and deeds in every facet of life, including seemingly secular matters like the administration of insurance and the provision of certain drugs and de- vices. Their amicus brief describes Christian faith as holistic and broad in scope, noting that Christians have a spiritual obligation to interact with and influence the culture outside the church doors. Space has allowed me to cite just a few examples from the 43 amicus briefs submitted on our behalf. None- theless, we Little Sisters are indebted to every group and to each individual who has voiced their support for our cause. You can read the amicus briefs at www.becketfund.org/littlesister- samicus/ With only a few weeks to go before our day in court, what is left to do in order to ensure the success of our case? Our foundress, Saint Jeanne Jugan, often said, Pray, you have need of grace If God is with us, it will be accomplished. And so we Little Sisters turn to prayer, and ask you to join us in praying for a just resolution to our case, so that we may continue to minister to needy elderly persons across this great nation for many years to come. Please join us in saying Ill have NUN of it with regard to the current threat to our religious liberty! Sister Constance Veit is the commu- nications director for the Little Sis- ters of the Poor in the United States. g GUEST COLUMN Sister Constance Veit Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel Tu Njdibfm uif Bsdibohfm efgfoe vt jo cbuumf Cf pvs efgfotf bhbjotu uif xjdlfeoftt boe tobsft pg uif Efwjm Nbz Hpe sfcvlf ijn xf ivncmz qsbz boe ep uipv P Qsjodf pg uif ifbwfomz iptut cz uif qpxfs pg Hpe uisvtu joup ifmm Tbubo boe bmm uif fwjm tqjsjut xip qspxm bcpvu uif xpsme tffljoh uif svjo pg tpvmt Bnfo Sfbe npsf iuuq xxx fxuo dpn Efwpujpobmt qsbzfst

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