8

An American Takeover of America

Senator Roy Blunt, who sponsored the amendment in the Senate that, had it received a few more votes, would have protected conscience rights of employers, said, “This is a debate that might be settled at that building across the street,” referring to the Supreme Court.

Indeed, as of this writing, eight different lawsuits have been launched against the Obama administration to block the unjust HHS mandate. I am proud to have authorized the fourth of these eight, Priests for Life vs. Sebelius, filed in US District Court, Eastern District of New York on February 15, 2012. Ours was the first lawsuit filed subsequent to the so-called “accommodation” announced by the President on February 10, hence signaling the administration in no uncertain terms that we did not consider his “accommodation” helpful at all.

The eight lawsuits, so far, arranged by the date they were filed, are as follows:

November 10, 2011 Belmont Abbey College v. Sebelius
December 21, 2011 Colorado Christian University v. Sebelius
February 9, 2012 Eternal Word Television Network v. Sebelius
February 15, 2012 Priests for Life v. Sebelius
February 20, 2012 Louisiana College v. Sebelius
February 21, 2012 Ave Maria University v. Sebelius
February 21, 2012 Geneva College v. Sebelius
February 23, 2012 Bruning v. Sebelius (This is the one whose plaintiffs include the states of Nebraska, Texas, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, and South Carolina.)

(You may want to share this list with your local media, since some outlets continue to get the count wrong.)

Though freedom of religion has been the theme most central to this debate, a common theme in these lawsuits is likewise freedom of speech. To quote from the Complaint we filed (which you can find at www.PriestsForLife.org), “The…mandate compels Priests for Life to provide education and counseling regarding contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and abortifacients…[and hence]…to engage in speech that violates its sincerely-held religious beliefs.”

Freedom of speech, in other words, by giving you the right to say what you want to say, necessarily also contains the right to not say what you don’t want to say. And it doesn’t matter if you are forced to say it yourself or to pay someone else to say it.

The Complaint also states that we have filed this suit “to protect the rights of all Americans.” Freedom of speech and freedom of religion do not belong only to religious groups, but to everyone. The other side wants to frame this battle as just a sectarian issue — most particularly a Catholic issue.

During the 2000 elections, a reporter said at a Priests for Life press conference at the National Press Club, “Fr. Frank is calling for a Vatican takeover of America.”

As I said then, I am not calling for any Vatican takeover of America; I’m calling for an American takeover of America!  It’s fine to say we stand with our religious leaders, but let’s make it clear that they and we are standing with our Constitution and our great nation, rooted in God’s gift of freedom.


(This update courtesy of the Priests for Life newsletter. You may contact Priests for Life at PO Box 141172, Staten Island, NY 10314; call 1-888-PFL-3448 or 718-980-4400; fax 718-980-6515; mail@priestsforlife.org; www.priestsforlife.org.)
  • wild rose

    The liberal dittoheads in the Senate don’t have the courage to rely on their own conscience. The Catholic Church is the oldest continuously existing institution in the Western world. It’s not a corporation. It’s claim to freedom of conscience doesn’t rest on the fact that it is Catholic Church Enterprises Global, Inc. That’s not what it’s standing on. It’s not standing on any recent Supreme Court decision. It’s standing on the first phrase of the First Amendment.

  • florin

    March 13th: I’ve been praying for Fr. Pavone a lot. Does anyone know if he has met with his Bishop yet? There were a lot of questions asked while we were at the March for Life in Washington. Many of us have been receiving a massive number of e-mails from Fr. Pavone telling us to send large amounts of money to him; it is making a lot of us uneasy because he is telling us that if we don’t send money to him immediately – the largest amount of money possible – then babies will die. People in Washington asked me what is happening with Fr. Pavone but no one knew…

  • wild rose

    It’s good that you’ve been praying for Fr. Frank Pavone. As Christians we have a responsibility to pray for one another. I don’t receive “a massive number of e-mails” from Fr. Pavone. Priests for Life have dedicated their life to protecting the unborn. The unborn are the poorest of the poor who cannot speak for themselves nor are they able to vote. We have a Christian responsibility to give charitably to an organization who works in God’s vineyard to protect the unborn.

    It’s far better to contact Fr. Frank Pavone about the details of financial matters than to randomly ask people at the March for Life in Washington, DC. You may contact Priests for Life at PO Box 141172, Staten Island, NY 10314; call 1-888-PFL-3448 or 718-980-4400; fax 718-980-6515; (Enable Javascript to see the email address); http://www.priestsforlife.org.

    • florin

      No one was ‘randomly’ asking anyone about anything at the March for Life. Why are you so defensive? His name came up by groups discussing planning strategies for life…and the question was did Fr. Pavone obey his Bishop’s request for a meeting? And then there was a discussion about the aggressive e-mails from him demanding money so that the unborn won’t die. We are all deeply committed to fighting for the lives of the unborn and their mothers…and, by the way, many of us have contacted Priests for Life and Fr. Pavone’s constant e-mails demanding money were forwarded to Priests for Life, also to Romen and to Fr. Pavone’s Bishop. Some witnessed mobs in front of the Bishop’s residence demanding that he ‘free’ Fr. Pavone. When we received e-mails demanding that we ‘free’ Fr. Pavone, at first I was confused…had he been put in prison? In the history of the Church there have been many saints who were treated unfairly by their superiors…but they all submitted humbly and unconditionally and that is why they are saints.

  • wild rose

    florin,
    I’ve always defended Fr. Pavone because he works hard to defend the unborn. Donors have a rightful expectation that money is being used prudently. I’m not aware of the bishop’s involvement but I trust that you’ll keep the Padre on the right path.

    • florin

      March 22 – this isn’t only about money. It’s about a Priest recognizing that his prime vocation is the priesthood and as a Priest he is under the legitimate authority of his Bishop. I continue to pray for Fr. Euteneur and Fr. Corapi…those who do such tremendous good are always powerfully tempted by satan and unless they hold to obedience and humility and, prudently, do not live alone, they could fall and fall badly. I’ve been writing to Fr. Pavone encouraging him to stop demanding money threatening that if people didn’t send him money, lots of money, the most money you can afford, babies would die. This is off balance somehow. The Church has been so torn with scandal and yet, there is so much goodness and heroism and selflessness that goes on behind the scenes that we never hear about. I worked with Mother Teresa in Calcutta and she received massive donations from around the world, and rightly so, but there were Priests and Nuns and lay people in Calcutta who were doing as much with so much less…who were barely surviving, who were so heroic and good but were never heard about. Fr. Pavone has done very good work on behalf of the unborn, as have many, many others…now he needs to realize that the best thing he can do for the unborn is to obey his bishop and to stop his fans from demonstrating in front of the bishop’s house demanding that Fr. Pavone be set free. All of these things are being reported to Rome and that does not help Fr. Pavone or the work of Priests for Life. And so we continue to pray for him and for all who do such good work on behalf of the unborn and their mothers.

  • noelfitz

    Congratulations to Fr Pavone for a great article, based on sound arguments. This is the type of approach that makes positive advances. The first amendment is vital to the freedom of Americans.

    However statements such as “The liberal dittoheads in the Senate don’t have the courage to rely on their own conscience”, do not win frinds or influence, and are not productive.

    Jews would not agree that the Catholic Church is the oldest continuously existing institution in the Western world.

    The suggestion of Wild Rose is also constructive.

  • wild rose

    noelfitz,
    You’re right. The use of “Dittoheads” is not the best word to describe liberal US Senators. It’s far better to think the best of people and to trust in God.