Class Warfare Blog

January 3, 2014

Duplicitous Nuns, Oh my!

In my post “Slippery Slope, Oh My!” I described the intervention of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor in a case involving a Colorado nuns’ group, the Little Sisters of the Poor. They are objecting to the contraception aspect of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). I stated that there were legitimate questions involved, but . . . now we find out more. According to the Editorial Board of the New York Times “The Little Sisters of the Poor, is a religiously affiliated organization that is exempt from the health law’s requirement that employer insurance plans cover contraception without a co-pay. The audacious complaint in this case is against the requirement that such groups sign a short form certifying that they have religious objections to providing coverage for contraceptive services, a copy of which would go to their third-party insurance administrator. The nuns say that minor requirement infringes on religious exercise in violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

“Under that law, the federal government may not “substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion” unless the government demonstrates that the burden is the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling interest. The certification requirement, an accommodation fashioned by the Obama administration to bolster the protection of religious exercise without depriving women of an important benefit, does not rise to a substantial burden. A federal trial court denied a preliminary injunction on that basis and a federal court of appeals declined to issue an injunction pending appeal, though decisions in some similar cases have come out differently.

“Adding a level of absurdity to the controversy, Little Sisters of the Poor’s insurance plan qualifies as a self-insured “church plan” under an insurance statute known as Erisa. The Justice Department has conceded that it has no authority to compel a third-party administrator of such a plan to provide contraceptive coverage. In this case, contraceptives would not be made available even indirectly to the nuns’ employees.

So, the objection is to signing a form which states their actual beliefs (WTF?)? And signing a form, an act that takes mere seconds, is considered to be a substantial burden upon a person’s exercise of religion. I am willing to let the statement that “They calculated that they would have to pay ‘an annual fine of approximately $2.5 million — for an organization that cares for 69 elderly poor people and operates with an annual budget of approximately $6 million.’” go as that is surely an error—it sounds like the $6 mill is being spent on 69 elderly folks which would hardly make those nuns “poor,” plus the fines are not only exaggerated but trumped up. But the duplicitous creation of faux outrage over signing a form that states their actual beliefs and which removes from them the requirement they object to, and when their insurer has no plans of offering contraception support in any case. . . .

It is the nuns who are on a slippery slope.


1 Comment »

  1. Reblogged this on oogenhand.


    Comment by oogenhand — January 5, 2014 @ 5:28 pm | Reply

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