The Little Sisters' mission is to care for the elderly poor. The nuns work hand in hand with the Christian Brothers Services and other Catholic nonprofit groups to provide employee benefits that are consistent with their faith. Their faith unambiguously forbids them to participate in Big Brother Barack's program to distribute, subsidize and promote the use of contraceptives, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs and devices. But Big Brother wholly disrespects their religious liberties and is pushing all the way to the Supreme Court, presumably to make a point that no one defies Big Brother, whether or not it hurts Big Brother's cause. Big Brother is seeking to force the Little Sisters to execute and deliver his mandatory contraceptive coverage form, EBSA Form 700. If the sisters refuse, Big Brother says he's going to come down hard and impose severe financial penalties.
Big Brother, preposterously, insists that he has not burdened the Little Sisters, because he can't use the Employee Retirement Income Security Act to force third parties (in this case, the administrators of the church plan through which the nuns provide benefits) to act on the Little Sisters' EBSA Form 700. Big Brother is actually arguing that because ERISA lacks enforcement authority against others, the Little Sisters' religious rights are not in jeopardy here. Do you see my point? If it doesn't matter, then why is Big Brother insisting on it? Just because he can? To throw around his authority? To put his Little Sisters in their place?
But in fact, the Little Sisters' religious liberties would be violated by the group's signing the form, because that would, in the group's attorneys' words, "designate, authorize, incentivize, and obligate administrators to provide coverage" and would essentially rewrite "the Little Sisters' religious beliefs for them." Of course the nuns' moral standards don't allow them to get around their consciences by playing the game of having some other entity technically perform the services. Those with religion-based moral standards would not have to have this principle explained to them. This may be a news flash to the obtuse, but the Little Sisters are not going to take their moral cues from Big Brother and are not going to adjust their religious beliefs to bring them into compliance with what Big Brother says they ought to be (as if he were the pope), as opposed to what they actually are.
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act prohibits the government from "substantially burdening" one's exercise of religion only if it demonstrates it has a compelling governmental interest to do so and it is the least restrictive means of furthering that interest.
Amoral Big Brother would have us believe that he has a compelling government interest in forcing a faith-based group to violate its religious conscience by signing a form to enable the provision of no-cost access to abortion-inducing drugs and devices, sterilizations, and all Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptives.
You got it: This government has no interest in reducing our crippling national debt but has a compelling interest in forcing nuns to support abortion and contraception.
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