By Russ Rooney, Life Legal MN
Our state joined a lawsuit that, if successful, would levy huge fines against religious non-profit employers.
After winning at the Supreme Court and thereby not having to pay tens of millions of dollars in crippling fines, the Little Sisters of the Poor are once again fighting to protect their religious freedom. Unfortunately, Minnesota is one of the states using tax dollars and resources to attempt to remove an exemption for religious non-profits.
Good luck trying to find any news about the lawsuit in the mainstream media. Thankfully, John Hinderacker, President of the American Experiment, wrote an article titled “Why Is Minnesota Making War On the Little Sisters of the Poor?”Hinderacker’s article made me aware of the renewed assault against the sisters and other religious non-profits. In the article, you will find a press release from the Becket Fund (law firm) which explains the overreach by some Democratic attorneys general. Here is a portion of the release:
“In 2017, following an Executive Order, a five-year legal battle resulting in a Supreme Court victory, and a new HHS rule protecting religious non-profits, the Little Sisters finally received a religious exemption that applies to non-profits nationwide. Yet California immediately sued the federal government to take that exemption away. Joined now by 12 other states and the District of Columbia, Attorney General Becerra is forcing the Little Sisters back to court to defend their hard-earned religious protection.“
When government tries to take away an exemption for religious non-profits, then do we still have religious freedom?
Let’s look at some hypothetical scenarios involving other examples of deeply held religious and non-religious beliefs. How crazy would it be to have a lawsuit requiring Hindus to pay for cows to be slaughtered? Imagine the outrage if there was a law that required Muslims to pay for people to drink alcohol. Think of the uproar from the media if our government sued vegans because they didn’t pay for others to eat fish? These are all absurd scenarios. Unfortunately the absurdity of what could happen again to the Little Sisters of the Poor and other religious non-profits is real.
The Little Sisters of the Poor do not have a political agenda and are not known to have forced anyone to do something against their religious beliefs. They simply want to live out their lives helping the elderly poor as stated on their website: “Continuing the work of Saint Jeanne Jugan, our MISSION is to offer the neediest elderly of every race and religion a home where they will be welcomed as Christ, cared for as family and accompanied with dignity until God calls them to himself.”
Using our tax dollars to penalize by law religious non-profit employers from maintaining their religious beliefs, in my opinion, is a disgrace and misuse of our tax dollars. It seems that most people would want our attorney general to spend more time on domestic violence, sex trafficking, gangs and corruption instead of trying to take away the religious freedom of people who are committed to serving the elderly poor.
Recently at a family reunion, I shared with some of my relatives that the Little Sisters of the Poor are back in court again trying to protect their religious freedom. Everyone I spoke with about this travesty was disappointed to hear that our state is involved in this lawsuit. My 90-year-old uncle became quite upset when he heard the news. The reason he is so distraught is that he has volunteered with these sisters and they are his favorite religious order. When I spoke with one of my cousins, he told me he worked for the sisters and also thought they were great.
When a group of women, such as the Little Sisters of the Poor, dedicate their lives to helping the poor elderly, you know they are doing this out of love and not for power or money. When I called their house in St. Paul, I asked if Mr. Ellison has ever tried to meet with them, and I was told that he hadn’t. If our attorney general would spend some time with the sisters, I think he would then better understand that their mission is about loving others. Maybe he would reconsider using our tax dollars to reestablish a law that would force these humble servants of Christ to violate their beliefs or pay large fines that could severely diminish their ministry.
The sisters care for the vulnerable, so it is natural for them to be against paying for an abortifacient drug that may take the lives of the most vulnerable humans. They are adamantly opposed to abortions based upon their religious beliefs. It is ridiculous to expect the sisters or other like-minded religious non-profits to pay for a drug that is designed to take away the inalienable right to life from an innocent human being.
Our attorney general has on his website “We want to hear from you.” If enough people call and tell him to get us out of the lawsuit against religious non-profits, such as the Little Sisters of the Poor, maybe he will listen. Please call Mr. Ellison at 651-296-3353 and let him know that he was not elected to use his office to fight against the religious freedom of non-profit employers.