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Religious Freedom

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NEWS
April 16, 2012
Wasn't this country founded out of the pursuit of religious freedom? If so, why is that basic right under constant attack, especially from the radical left? The birth of our country and the pursuit of religious freedom are indelibly entwined in the very fabric of this great nation. While the U.S. was and maybe still is predominantly Christian, we have first and foremost been the sanctuary for all religions and belief systems. The Founding Fathers were extremely tolerant and protective of the rights of others.
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NEWS
By Robert B. Reich | July 9, 2014
Last week the Supreme Court struck down a key part of the Affordable Care Act, ruling that privately owned corporations don't have to offer their employees contraceptive coverage that conflicts with the corporate owners' religious beliefs. The owners of Hobby Lobby, the plaintiffs in the case, were always free to practice their religion. The court bestowed religious freedom on their corporation as well -- a leap of logic as absurd as giving corporations freedom of speech. Corporations aren't people.
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NEWS
March 13, 2011
The United States was formed largely when Protestant Christians migrated from Britain in search of religious freedom. The country was founded on the ideal of universal freedom of religion, and it has championed it ever since. I immigrated to the United States from Pakistan in search of that same freedom. The Ahmadiyya Muslim community, of which I am a member, has categorically rejected violence from the time of its inception, yet today it finds itself the victim of religious extremists.
HEALTH
By John Fritze, The Baltimore Sun | June 30, 2014
The U.S. Supreme Court delivered a setback to the Obama administration Monday by ruling that the owners of private companies may refuse on religious grounds to offer employees insurance coverage for birth control. In a 5-4 ruling, the court's conservatives found that the requirement for contraceptive coverage tied to Obama's signature health care law ran afoul of a 1993 law expanding religious freedom. The decision, written by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., could have implications not only for secular companies but also religious organizations that are seeking a more complete exemption from the same requirement, including the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catonsville-based Catholic charity.
NEWS
March 13, 2012
Regarding Susan Reimer 's column on contraceptives and politics ("Women will remember in November," March 12), I'm sad to say but yes, women will remember. Even more sad is that the women have reacted to a disguised cause. Women's health is not the real issue here. Why did President Barack Obama choose to proclaim 100 percent coverage for just women's contraceptive? Why did he insist that the Catholic Church cover women's contraceptives in their affiliated institutions? Why not cover all women's medications at a rate of 100 percent?
NEWS
February 22, 2012
As a woman and a life long Roman Catholic, I would like to comment on the recent debate between U.S. bishops and the federal government on requiring birth control insurance coverage for employees of Catholic institutions. Despite what Republican politicians insist, Catholic bishops' refusal to provide such coverage relates to their stand on birth control, not to concern about denial of religious freedom. I believe the bishops' statements are based on strict adherence to religious tradition rather than to any reasonable interpretation of Christ's teachings as applied to family life.
NEWS
January 27, 2014
Regarding The Sun's editorial critical of the lawsuit involving the Little Sisters of the Poor ("Obamacare mandate doesn't violate nuns' rights," Jan. 2), the Little Sisters of the Poor is a Roman Catholic institution for women. This congregation serves the marginalized people in our society. After reading the editorial, I was gravely concerned about how explicitly religious freedom was being undermined. The advocacy for religious freedom was one of primary reasons for the creation of this fine nation.
NEWS
By John Garvey | December 7, 2011
There has been a lot of discussion in these pages about a recent statement on religious liberty issued by Maryland's Catholic bishops. Unfortunately, the discussion has ignored most of what the bishops had to say. It has focused almost exclusively on the Catholic Church's opposition to same-sex marriage — an issue the state legislature may revisit in its next session. Let us leave that controversy aside for the moment and consider what the bishops actually said. The bishops' statement, "The Most Sacred of All Property," takes its title from an essay by James Madison.
NEWS
December 12, 2011
The argument that religious groups have the right to dictate social mores in order to protect their religious freedom is hollow and in fact turns the whole concept of religious liberty on its head. To say that any particular religion's duty to its own higher power takes precedence over the claims of society as a whole negates the freedom of all religions. No one denies that churches and other charitable institutions provide many worthwhile services. That is why they are tax exempt.
NEWS
By Thomas F. Schaller | August 24, 2010
I applaud Thomas Schaller's thoughtful column on the current outrage over the plans for a mosque in lower Manhattan ("The problem is not Islam but orthodoxy," Commentary, Aug. 24). He correctly noted that followers of Islam died that day, too, as office workers in the towers. I worked at Ground Zero for two months, arriving a week after the towers fell and toiling in the smoke and acrid odor to support the heavy equipment operators working on the pile. One searing memory was finding crumpled photos in the restricted zone of Ground Zero that somehow survived the inferno.
NEWS
By William E. Lori | June 25, 2014
Shortly, the Supreme Court is expected to issue a highly-anticipated decision that could go a long way in determining the impact of the Affordable Care Act on the religious liberty rights of conscientious family business owners who simply wish to continue operating their companies according to their beliefs. The cases involving Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties are two of 100 lawsuits filed against the federal government in response to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
NEWS
By Jon O'Brien | June 19, 2014
The rallying cry "freedom to serve" will soon be heard in Baltimore as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and its Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty launches its annual "Fortnight for Freedom" campaign tomorrow. If you think this is an odd phrase to refer to the demand that religious employers be exempt from providing contraception access for female employees, you're not alone. The refrain also rings hollow for women and men everywhere who, because of the bishops' discriminatory practices, are not free to serve.
NEWS
Robert L. Ehrlich Jr | June 1, 2014
One of my earliest childhood memories is going door-to-door at the Kendale Apartments on Maiden Choice Lane in Arbutus with Mom. The purpose of the exercise was not to solicit contributions on behalf of a political candidate, however. Rather, Mom and a group of like-minded volunteers were organizing in opposition to a woman by the name of Madalyn Murray O'Hair - she of the [un]holy crusade to ban prayer from public schools. Given my tender years, little did I realize that the Ehrlichs were fully engaged in a culture war that continues to burn brightly five decades later.
HEALTH
By Jean Marbella, The Baltimore Sun | March 25, 2014
A springtime snowfall dampening their signs, if not their spirits, several hundred activists divided into opposing groups Tuesday on the plaza in front of the Supreme Court to make their own opening arguments over the Affordable Care Act. The point of contention: the law's requirement that privately owned businesses provide employees with health insurance that covers contraception. Supporters offered up call-and-response volleys of, "Pro-birth control, pro-family. " Opponents countered with the chant, "Pro-faith, pro-freedom, pro-life.
NEWS
March 1, 2014
Just when I think nothing else outrageous can be done in the name of religious freedom, along comes the Arizona bill allowing business owners the legal right to refuse service to gays and others on the basis of said freedom. That Gov. Jan Brewer publicly announced her veto of the legislation on television shows her concern over the national fallout ( "Boycott Arizona," Feb. 27). But the fact remains that it was approved by the Republican-dominated legislature and did reach the governor's desk and that is the scary part of this issue.
NEWS
January 27, 2014
Regarding The Sun's editorial critical of the lawsuit involving the Little Sisters of the Poor ("Obamacare mandate doesn't violate nuns' rights," Jan. 2), the Little Sisters of the Poor is a Roman Catholic institution for women. This congregation serves the marginalized people in our society. After reading the editorial, I was gravely concerned about how explicitly religious freedom was being undermined. The advocacy for religious freedom was one of primary reasons for the creation of this fine nation.
NEWS
March 23, 2012
I am a 71 year old grandmother who grew up in the Roman Catholic Church, learning from the Baltimore Catechism, and who graduated from a Catholic college. I am, however, growing ever more concerned that some clerics ("Outspoken bishop to lead Baltimore Archdiocese," March 21) and politicians alike seem to be misusing the concept of religious freedom and minimizing or ignoring the concept of separation of church and state. These concepts are two of the most important principles on which our country was founded - and for good reasons, I might add. Putting aside all of the rhetoric, I think these principles are not so complicated.
NEWS
By LOUIS P. SHELDON | August 18, 1995
From coast to coast, religious expression in public places, especially in schools, is under assault. Court decisions have relegated religious freedom to the back of the bus. Currently, President Clinton is attempting to block the religious equality constitutional amendment now being considered by Congress.The president last month directed officials to distribute guidelines to the nation's public schools on what religious activities are allowed on campuses. This was an attempt to portray the president as being in favor of full religious equality in the U.S. political landscape.
NEWS
By David G. Savage, Tribune Washington Bureau and High court to take up contraception issue | November 26, 2013
- The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to jump into a growing legal dispute between businesses run by conservative Christians and the Obama administration over whether a company must pay for birth control drugs that conflict with its owner's religious beliefs. The decision to hear the case, which could affect millions of women with employer-provided health plans, means that for a second time, the justices will decide the fate of a key part of President Barack Obama's health care law. Last year, the court in a 5-4 decision upheld the requirement that individuals obtain basic health insurance or pay a tax penalty.
NEWS
June 23, 2013
It is most unfortunate that Archbishop William E. Lori has chosen to use his pulpit to engage in the fear-engendering tactics so favored by the far right in our society ("Religious freedom under threat in U.S.," June 16). His statement that "the government is eroding" freedom of religion in this country is simply untrue. This country has become less sectarian and more tolerant of religious diversity than ever before. It sounds like the Catholic bishops in this country are upset because the laws of the land prevent them from imposing their beliefs regarding contraception and abortion on everyone else through the use of our tax dollars.
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