Wednesday, April 30, 2008

In the May 4-10 Issue of National Catholic Register

  • How Nondiscrimination Becomes Discrimination

  • ... A recent state statute proposed in Colorado strikes directly at the heart of the free exercise of religion. The statute, called House Bill (HB) 1080, would prohibit “discrimination” in employment in institutions that receive government funding, and explicitly includes religious charities that receive government funds.

    That means that the state may now require Catholic institutions to cease preferring hiring Catholics for roles concerning its mission, or any other function.

    The Colorado statute is only one of numerous similar laws being considered across the nation, and they follow closely on the heels of other laws passed in states such as California and New York under the guise of “equality.”

    It is hard to underestimate the threat these laws pose to religious freedom. They not only silence unique voices religious institutions bring to public debate, but they also impermissibly interfere in the internal workings and governance of religious communities. These laws privilege one value — “nondiscrimination” — over religious freedom.

    But in this context, nondiscrimination loses much of its value because it ultimately will mean whatever shifting coalitions of legislators want it to mean. Further, these laws deprive religious institutions of the clear constitutional guarantee of religious freedom. They in effect discriminate against religion.


  • Hook, Line and Sinker - Clinton’s Catholic College Pep Rallies

  • ... Likewise, Clinton got a nice boost: an invitation from Mercyhurst College, a Catholic college in Erie.

    Such gestures are troubling for the pro-life cause. They are symptomatic of what is happening all over the country, as pro-life Catholics like former Boston Mayor Ray Flynn (a Clinton endorser) and Doug Kmiec (an Obama endorser) — to name only two — line up to throw their support behind these candidates, and as Catholic colleges host their political rallies. Here, I would like to focus on the college situation — namely, Mercyhurst — a real problem that continues to persist.

    The controversy began when Mercyhurst sent invitations to all the presidential candidates to speak at the school, with Clinton quickly responding and accepting for April 1.

    Just as quickly, moral equivalency reared its head as campus proponents began justifying Clinton’s appearance.

    Mercyhurst’s president said that the college looked forward “to engaging in conversations about the most authentic way for Mercyhurst to meet both its religious and its educational obligations.” The college’s vice president of student life stressed the need to “go beyond single-issue politics” — an ostensible plea to not obsess over Clinton’s views on abortion.

    In that spirit, a sophomore English major, quoted in the Erie Times, proclaimed that “the top three issues [in this election] are economics, international policy and the environment.”


  • U.S. Ambassador Glendon: ‘My Role Is to Find Common Ground’

  • ... Glendon spoke recently in Rome with Register correspondent Edward Pentin.

    How do you deal with the tension between the Church’s teaching and approach to certain global issues and those of the U.S. government?

    What strikes me most of all is the close correspondence between the values and ideals that can be summed up in a very simple phrase to which both are committed: the protection and promotion of human dignity, human rights, especially and not exclusively, religious freedom.

    So I see my task as an ambassador as primarily building on and reinforcing an already solid partnership in pursuit of those goals. But where there are differences, my role is to try to find common ground, to build on that common ground and, where differences exist, to explain the position of the United States as best I can, and to explain the reasons for it as best I can.

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