Belmont Abbey College Is the Last Best Hope for Religious Liberty It’s David vs. Goliath.
It’s the small Catholic college in North Carolina vs. the Obama administration. The outcome will decide the fate of religious liberty in this country.
When it was announced last year that the Obama administration intended to force religious institutions to pay for contraceptive drugs –including those that would cause abortions there were letters sent by many of the leading Catholic organizations, press statements delivered, and meetings with the Obama administration held asking for a wider religious exemption.
But it wasn’t the Catholic Health Association which had endorsed Obamacare, not Catholic Charities, not Notre Dame which had honored the President in order to further dialogue, or even mushy tsk-tsks from Sister Keehan that did anything to help.
No. It was the tiny Catholic school with the President who said he’d rather close the school down than comply with the administration’s wishes on contraception and abortifacients.
But College President Bill Thierfelder said he doesn’t believe it will come to that. And there’s reason to believe he’s right because Belmont Abbey has partnered with The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a small law firm committed to defending religious liberty.
You might remember the name because just week they won a case against the powerful Obama administration before the Supreme Court. 9-0. A unanimous ruling that prevented the White House from deciding who religious institutions could hire and fire.
But undeterred, the Obama administration, as we know, is back to strangling religious liberties in this country this week.
And now the lawsuit filed against the Obama administration by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty on behalf of Belmont Abbey College may just decide all.
“This is the last avenue of relief,” said Hannah Smith, Senior Legal Counsel for The Becket Fund. “There’s a lot riding on these lawsuits.”
For years, President Obama has talked about the importance of “conscience rights.” While being honored by the University of Notre Dame, Obama pledged to “draft a sensible conscience clause.” And even just last month, Archbishop Timothy Dolan emerged from a meeting with President Obama, saying he “found the president of the United States to be very open to the sensitivities of the Catholic community that were worried about an intrusion into religious liberty.”