As an organization representing the interests of a significant group of women, Concerned Women for America submitted an important brief to the United States Supreme Court asking the justices to reject the constant demand to “box in” women and define them as liberal groups demand.
The women CWA represents find it offensive that President Barack Obama and other liberal elits in Washington insists on infringing the religious liberties of women, while purporting to act for their benefit.
Through Obamacare, they are forcing organizations to pay for abortifacients, like Plan B and Ella, which millions of religious women consider an affront to the sanctity of human life. Anyone refusing to pay for these, whatever their faith, faces steep penalties.
In this Jan. 14, 2014 photo, Mother Dominica speaks about the cloistered life from behind the grille in the visiting parlor at the Corpus Christi Monastery of the Poor Clares in Rockford, Ill. (AP Photo/Rockford Register Star, Max Gersh)
While the government acknowledges the problem (offering a full exeption to churches), its weak attempt to “accommodate” religious organizations shows it does not respect their faith as much.
This mandate has been promoted as benefiting women, but it is the women of the Little Sisters of the Poor which have lead the fight against it. CWA has and will continue to stand with them against this attck on our religious freedom in the name of “women’s rights.”
Women have a long history of fighting to protect religious liberty. The Anne Hutchinson Memorial at the Massachusetts State House stands as a reminder of a time in our history when women could be marginalized because of their deep faith. It is very troubling that the Obama administration’s actions now remind us of that period.
Hutchinson was a Puritan tried and banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1637 because of her religious views. The inscription on her monument reads: “In Memory of Anne Marbury Hutchinson … Courageous Exponent of Civil Liberty and Religious Toleration.” Hutchinson was punished for her deeply held religious convictions. The government today threatens the Little Sisters of the Poor in a similar way today if they refuse to follow Obamacare to faithfully adhere to their religious beliefs.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first person born in the United States to be canonized as a saint, also had to stand by her religious convictions at great personal cost. Biographer Julie Walters recounts a time when anti-Catholic mobs would stand outside the doors of her church yelling, “We’re going to burn this unholy place to the ground!” Yet Seton overcame it all and went on to found the Sisters of the Charity of St. Joseph’s, the first new community for religious women in the U.S. She began the first free Catholic school for girls in U.S., St. Joseph’s Academy and Free School, and her commitment to charity is still celebrated.
These stories are a reminder of that highest of principles enshrined in our great Constitution, that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The Supreme Court should not forget that what fueled these women’s passion for charityit is was their deep faith.
Faith fueled Evangeline Booth to become commander of the Salvation Army in America and the first general of the International Salvation Army. All the incredible charitable work done by the Salvation Army is “rooted in the faith of its members.”
Those are just a few names, but we could mention many more. Women like Isabella Graham who established the Society for the Relief of Poor Widows With Small Children, or Phoebe Palmer who founded the Five Point Mission to provide for the needy.
That same spirit of faith and charity fules the Little Sisters of the Poor today. The Obama administration’s actions in this case threaten to stifle that historical tradition of religious expression through charity by imposing a substantial and unnecessary burden on their ability to serve the needy in accordance with their deep faith.
The government is prepared to force them to abandon their religious calling if they are not willing to do what their conscience prohibits them to do. If we do not guard women’s freedom in this most intimate of areas, between a woman and her God, American women shall be at risk of losing their freedoms in any number of other areas that are perhaps cherished more by other womens groups.
Women are not all liberal placing the same values in all areas of life, including faith or reproductive rights. But they should all be treated with equal dignity and respect. The Obama Administration distorts the facts by arguing that it is acting on behalf of “women” when it imposes this unconstitutional mandate. We hope the Supreme Court rejects any urgency to simplify the values of women by taking the singular view of a few and imposing it by force of law on all.
TheBlaze contributor channel supports an open discourse on a range of views. The opinions expressed in this channel are solely those of each individual author.