Conscience rights

St. Louis aldermanic committee passes Board Bill 203

Lisa Johnston  |  lisajohnston@archstl.org  |  twitter: @aeternusphoto

St. Louis Ward 19 Alderwoman, Marlene Davis, expressed her concern over Board Bill 203 during the  Housing, Urban Development and Zoning Committee meeting. Chair and Ward 17 Alderman Joseph Roddy, listened. Davis made an effort to amend the proposed ordinance but the measure passed without it.  The St. Louis Housing, Urban Development and Zoning committee passed Board Bill 203 and will be sending it to the entire St. Louis Board of Aldermen. The bill, introduced by Alderwoman Megan Green, is an ordinance to prohibit discrimination based on a person's reproductive health decisions or pregnancy; and containing a severability clause and an emergency clause.

A proposed St. Louis City ordinance affecting reproductive health decisions and pregnancy could have an effect on Catholic small business owners, such as Craig Schlapprizzi and his family.

Calling Board Bill 203 "overly broad," Schlapprizzi, vice president of Schlapprizzi Attorneys at Law, added that "on the most basic level, it's a violation of a person's fundamental right to freedom of religion, and there's no exemption for private business owners."

Supreme Court will hear appeals in Catholic, other groups' mandate cases

Sister Mary Grace, a member of the Little Sisters of the Poor, venerated a relic of her order’s foundress, St. Jeanne Jugan, at Our Lady of the Island Shrine in Manorville, N.Y., in 2012. The U.S. Supreme Court justices said Nov. 6 they will hear seven pending appeals in lawsuits brought by the women religious and several other Catholic and faith-based entities against the Obama administration’s contraceptive mandate.

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Supreme Court justices said Nov. 6 they will hear seven pending appeals in lawsuits brought by several Catholic and other faith-based entities against the Obama administration's contraceptive mandate.

The court will hear appeals from groups in Colorado, Maryland, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and the District of Columbia.

Among the plaintiffs are the Little Sisters of the Poor, the Archdiocese of Washington, the Pittsburgh and Erie dioceses, Priests for Life, Southern Nazarene University and Texas Baptist University.

BEFORE THE CROSS | Remembering the past as we face challenges

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson hosted a meeting Nov. 9 with Missouri bishops and major superiors of religious congregations at the Cardinal Rigali Center. They celebrated Mass in the St. Vincent de Paul Chapel at the Cardinal Rigali Center. Archbishop Carlson smiled as he listened to a homily by Father Roger Landry, an attaché to the Holy See Mission to the United Nations.

Imagine a time when nominally faithful people adopted the values of the surrounding culture because it was hard to be different.

Imagine a time when people hid their religious identity so that they could get along with others who didn't share their faith.

Imagine a time when a nation's ruler decided that everyone should abandon their particular religious ideas in order to be united -- and many of the faithful agreed. Imagine that this same ruler offered positions of honor to those who betrayed their faith and persecuted those who did not.

Let freedom ring!

Lisa Johnston | lisajohnston@archstl.org | Twitter @aeternusphoto Pope Francis walks from Independence Hall to deliver an address in Philadelphia Sept. 26

PHILADELPHIA -- Not far from where the Liberty Bell is on display, Pope Francis urged the people of the United States to continue to "proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof," as the bell's inscription says.

Meeting Sept. 26 with members of the Hispanic community and immigrants at Independence National Historical Park, the pope said when governments respect human rights and freedoms, especially the right to religious liberty, they benefit from their citizens' respect and care for others.

Court rules against Little Sisters plea to avoid way to bypass mandate

DENVER -- The Little Sisters of the Poor and other religious entities are not substantially burdened by procedures set out by the federal government by which they can avoid a requirement to provide contraceptive coverage in health insurance, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled July 14.

Survey: 133 percent increase in attacks on religion in past three years

WASHINGTON -- A new report from the Liberty Institute in Plano, Texas, shows that incidents of "religious hostility" have more than doubled in the United States over the past three years.

The report, "Undeniable: The Survey of Hostility to Religion in America, 2014 Edition," chronicles a series of more than 1,300 court cases recently handled or monitored by the institute, a nonprofit legal group that represents plaintiffs who feel their religious liberty has been violated.

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