Monday, March 01, 2004

Maybe pigs really do fly.

In my wildest dreams I never imagined that I'd find myself in violent agreement with a Bush judicial nominee. And yet, it is so.

The California Supreme Court has ruled that Catholic Charities employee health plan must provide birth control in violation of Catholic dogma. The grounds for this decision is that "the charity is not a religious employer because it offers such secular services as counseling, low-income housing and immigration services to the public without directly preaching about Catholic values."

The lone dissenter was Justice Janice Rogers Brown, who was nominated by George Bush to fill a to fill a Federal Appeals Court vacancy. Her nomination has been blocked by the Democrats in Congress. Brown wrote, ''Here we are dealing with an intentional, purposeful intrusion into a religious organization's expression of it religious tenets and sense of mission,'' Brown wrote. ''The government is not accidentally or incidentally interfering with religious practice; it is doing so willfully by making a judgment about what is or is not a religion.''

I completely agree with Justice Brown. The government must not get into the business of deciding what is and is not a religion. That is up to the religious organizations to say. Yes, this opens the door to all sorts of abuse, but that is the price of religious freedom.

In this case it is quite clear that the government is forcing Catholic Charities to support a practice that they obviously believe in good faith is sinful. A more egregious abuse of government authority is hard to imagine.

The U.S. Supreme Court should overturn this decision.

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