U.S. Agency Gives Indian Tribe Exemption Based on Religion

Elisabeth Meinecke

3/17/2012 10:59:00 AM - Elisabeth Meinecke

Ironic. While HHS under the Obama administration does everything in its power to force religions employers to pick up the cost of providing birth control against their religious conscience, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is allowing an Indian tribe an exemption to kill two bald eagles a year ... for religious purposes:

The AP reports:

"A federal government decision to allow a Wyoming tribe to kill two bald eagles for a religious ceremony is a victory for American Indian sovereignty as well as for long-suppressed religious freedoms, the tribe says.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service granted a permit March 9 to the Northern Arapaho Tribe allowing it either to kill or capture and release two bald eagles this year."

I'm not commenting on the Fish and Wildlife Service's decision; I'm frustrated by the hypocrisy this administration seems to show for understanding religious exemptions and conscience. The best they could offer Catholics and other Christians was a deal that had insurance companies paying for the contraception coverage. The Catholic bishops are still wary of the situation in general, issuing this as recent as March 14. In fact, the administration's 'compromise' still left cause for concern. On March 14, the bishops had this to say about the status quo in a press release and how the administration's compromise didn't address the issue and still left problems: "The HHS mandate creates still a third class, those with no conscience protection at all: individuals who, in their daily lives, strive constantly to act in accordance with their faith and moral values. They, too, face a government mandate to aid in providing "services" contrary to those values—whether in their sponsoring of, and payment for, insurance as employers; their payment of insurance premiums as employees; or as insurers themselves—without even the semblance of an exemption."