Catholic Church Says Religious Freedom Protects Them From Going to Court

As the group of bishops were the instigators behind the Neo-American religious imposition as freedom ideology, it was not surprising that they came up with yet another twist on how they exercise “their” religious freedom.

Freedom of religion is a principle that supports an individual’s freedom to practice, worship, and observe a religion’s tenets or deity, or deities, without interference;  the concept also includes the freedom to change religion at will or not to follow any religion. That concept of religious freedom was what the Founding Fathers and Constitution’s Framers believed was reasonable and universally excepted when they concocted the First Amendment. Although it, relatively speaking, served to protect Americans’ freedom to worship, or not, for almost two-hundred years, it never really caught on with a control-oriented segment of the population under the spell of, and led by, the United States Council of Catholic Bishops. Now, religious freedom means that a small percentage of the population can impose, and enforce by Supreme Court fiat, compliance to their religious beliefs.

As the group of bishops were the instigators behind the Neo-American religious imposition as freedom ideology, it was not surprising that they came up with yet another twist on how they exercise “their” religious freedom. According to its distorted reading of what religious freedom means, a Catholic school in Indiana and the Fort-Wayne-South Bend Diocese said religious freedom protects the school and church from having to go to court at all. Even a federal court over the church school violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act banning employers from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

The church and school discriminated on the basis of gender (sex) and religion when it summarily fired an English teacher for going through fertility treatment (in vitro fertilization  or IVF). When “the Church” officials were informed the teacher, Emily Herx, was undergoing IVF treatments, they ruled that she was “a grave, immoral sinner” and fired her (for wanting to give birth, no less). She rightly filed a discrimination lawsuit in 2012 and the school and diocese argued that freedom of religion gives them the constitutional right to fire whomever they choose and violate federal discrimination laws at their religious pleasure; particularly because it was a woman they deemed a gravely immoral sinner according to a Vatican document.

In September, a federal judge ruled that there was enough evidence for a jury trial, but the Catholic diocese said no. According to another twist on religious freedom, the Church said that just going to trial over the question of discrimination violated its freedom of religion. Church attorneys argued that “If the diocese is required to go through a trial, it would irrevocably deny Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese the benefits of its religious freedom.” The Church is appealing to a higher power, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, to verify their newest iteration of religious freedom is religious enough to discriminate with impunity and immune from answering to, or even appearing before, the American judicial system.

There is a “special discrimination exemption” in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act in that allows religious institutions to favor members of their own faith in hiring. However, there is no special religious exemption for sex discrimination which is how the terminated teacher is framing her dismissal. She proved her point quickly by showing that the diocese had never fired a male teacher for using any type of fertility treatment. The church admitted that indeed, it had never fired a male teacher undergoing fertility treatments in the past, but it probably “would” because it is against church teachings; they just “hadn’t gotten around to it in the past.”

A staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, Brian Hauss, that is not involved in the lawsuit but filed amicus briefs in support of the teacher was flabbergasted and said, “I’ve never seen this before, and I couldn’t find any other cases like it. What the diocese is saying is, ‘We can fire anybody, and we have absolute immunity from even going to trial, as long as we think they’re violating our religion. And to have civil authorities even look into what we’re doing is a violation.’…It’s astonishing.” No, it is 21st Century America when the Papal-contingent on the Supreme Court eviscerated the establishment clause and imposed the USCCB ideology of religious freedom on the nation.

Another legal expert, Louise Melling, was very critical of the Church argument and said, “It’s an unusual and extreme argument, to be saying the court doesn’t even have the legal authority to ask whether this was, in fact, sex discrimination. I can’t imagine they would prevail on that. It’s too extreme.” However, Melling also said she could never have imagined the explosion of cases where churches, religious institutions, and increasingly businesses have an expansive right to discriminate borne of the UCSSB concept of “religious freedom.”

Of course, it was the High Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling that really empowered “the faithful and the clergy” to use “their” religious freedom to impose “their” belief system on anyone in their realm of influence. In fact, the ACLU has noticed a sharp rise in the number of Christian schools claiming that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act empowers them to discriminate against, and fire women undergoing IVF to become pregnant, or terminate employees engaging in same-sex relationships. Now, besides using the “invisible religious freedom clause” in the anti-discrimination law to discriminate on the basis of religion, gender, and sexual preference, that same religious freedom includes supremacy over the American judicial system.

Whether Americans are aware or not, this latest ploy is the ultimate expression of “above the law” and a “law unto themselves.” Under this bizarre interpretation of religious freedom, there are no limits, accountability, or responsibility for the church, any (Christian) church, to make, execute, and define any law that they deem either moral or immoral; and no court in the land can interfere. All because in June of 2014, the Papal-Five on the nation’s highest court ruled that the 1980s concept of “religious freedom” proffered by the United States Council of Catholic Bishops abolished the Establishment and Free Exercise Clause. The most frightening aspect of this latest Hobby Lobby consequence is that now that the church garnered supremacy over the  Constitution and the judicial system, the real 21st Century Crusade and Inquisition will begin in earnest.


31 Replies to “Catholic Church Says Religious Freedom Protects Them From Going to Court”

  1. I really do not think this is going to fly, unless the good fathers can make a prima facie case that they are actually diplomats from the Vatican.

  2. TAX THE CHURCHES!!! That’s it. Tax these charlatans. If they don’t like it, then they can just pray for a money tree.

  3. The appellate court should refuse to hear their appeal with a catch 22 argument.

    As said church asserts the court has no jurisdiction over said church, said church does not show standing to appeal to the very court said church asserts has no authority to rule on actions of said church.

    Say that three times fast. [wink]

  4. In my experience, judges really do not like it when an appellant or attorney tries to tell them what they can or cannot do, or who is subject to the judges jurisdiction(s). Therefore, the Church will probably lose this argument and this fight. They are guilty as charge, and this argument of their is not very creative or new. people have been saying they are above the law or outside of it for centuries. Whenever someone tries to tell a judge, “You have no right to judge me,” they usually lose. Your in Court and the judge and the law are in charge. The judge interprets the law and says what it means. If this were a criminal court, the judge would find the Church and the Bishops in contempt, fine them, and throw them in jail. I hope the 7th Court does exactly that. . . .

  5. So we’re coming about full circle? Once again the church is attempting to elevate itself as the final arbiter of laws, both secular and spiritual.

    Not only do we need to tax these lying, baby-diddling bastards, but strip them of ALL voice in politics.

  6. They are claiming immunity from the Law. Burning people at the stake is next. Freedom! But not for women.

  7. What happened to the religious freedom of the teacher that was fired?…
    Where is HER *freedom of religion* in this?

  8. Right.
    This is where the shudder hits the robe.
    I am guessing this is a bridge too far for all but Scalia and dim-witted ethically-challenged Clarence.

  9. And what about the lawsuits for sexual abuse? Such a defence, if allowed, would also negate them. Think there might be something more at stake here? Hmmm.

  10. To the catholic church (lower case on purpose) and the religious reich in general, religious freedom means they can do or say anything they choose and everyone else is supposed to STFU.

  11. So, now the Catholic Church is proof texting the Constitution just as the ir-religious right proof texts Scripture to support their claims!

  12. Continuing…Our Founders and Framers deliberately founded this nation to be secular. They knew the Church’s past — the persecution, bloodshed, etc.
    Thank God for them and their wisdom.

    The Council of Bishops MUST adhere to America’s foundation and to keep silent in State matters in which they have NO jurisdiction.

    So, Council, get over it!

  13. Um, if the church is above the law, then what’s the next step for them? Do they go back to burning people they think are heretics?

    Honestly, we are supposed to be a nation of LAWS. Our laws are not subject to the whim of the Catholic Church. Or, at least, they shouldn’t be at their whim.

    The Catholic Church, their hierarchy, is a criminal organization, just like the mafia.

  14. We should pass a law that all justices on the Supreme Court must be atheists. That would protect everyone’s religious freedom. :)

  15. As a technical issue, this is relay an extension of the USCCB’s position on religious liberty, not religious freedom. Religious liberty says they can do anything they want to, and claim it as part of their belief.

  16. And how many of these bishops sheltered
    pedophile priests within their jurisdiction? How many of them kept transferring those pedophiles around to different parishes to keep them hidden? How many of these bishops were guilty, as parish priests, of committing of the same acts of sexual abuse, but have never been exposed?

    The founding fathers put stipulations into the Constitution against religion to prevent the catholic/episcopalian church domination, the very thing their ancestors fled from in Europe.

    Yet here they are. Attempting to control our society according to their beliefs once again.
    Are we going to let them?

  17. If “religious freedom” gives the Roman Catholic Church the right to refuse to be dragged into court, why didn’t they use that argument when they were caught raping little boys and covering it up?

    Next thing you know, they’ll claim they can’t be dragged into criminal court either.

  18. This is an old, old argument, going back almost as long as Christianity itself … And one that I hope will be decided in this day and age in favor of the secular authorities.

  19. Agree Maggie. At least any Supreme Judge should be under greater scrutiny then most. Especially their ability to see other religions as well as their own. Is it five Catholic on this court? One belongs to an extreme Catholic organization. This court is way out of balance. Way, way out of touch far too extreme and we are stuck with them. Unless they lose some. One is getting bigger and bigger, perhaps a heart attack?

  20. Because the Hobby Lobby decision hadn’t come down when they were being prosecuted for pedophilia, unless there has been recent attempts to prosecute them for that. Hobby Lobby opened the gates of Hell.

  21. The Supreme Court decided to let them, there is little we can do except rise up in great numbers against them & make those feelings known loud & clear everywhere. If we don’t, we are in grave danger of living in their dream theocracy.

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