Conscience rights

U.S. appeals court hears religious liberty case

Oral arguments were heard Sept. 8 in the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis for a religious liberty case in which a family is seeking exemption from the U.S. Health and Human Services mandate. The mandate would require them to participate in group insurance coverage that includes abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization and birth control for their teenage and adult daughters.

The Thomas More Society is defending Missouri State Rep. Paul Wieland, R-Imperial, and his family in the case.

VIEWPOINT | Separation of Church and State -- what it really means

Christopher Stefanick

The Declaration of Independence states we all have God-given rights -- not government-given rights, nor king-given rights -- and that the whole purpose of a government is to defend the rights that a government certainly has no right to take away. Among the most important of our God-given rights is the freedom of religion.

For the first time in U.S. history, we have a presidential administration that has chosen to use the words "freedom of worship" instead of "freedom of religion" -- a dangerous shift of phraseology.

Groups lash out at new opt-out rules for HHS mandate

WASHINGTON -- Pro-life groups that have battled with the federal government since the first rules were issued on contraceptive coverage in 2012 derided the government's latest rules allowing religious institutions -- and potentially some for-profit companies -- to opt out of the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act.

"Once again HHS (the federal Department of Health and Human Services) continues to violate the conscience rights of Americans while claiming just the opposite," said an Aug. 22 statement from Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of Americans United for Life.

Editorial | Louisiana court vs. the seal of confession

Last week Catholic news organizations, including the St. Louis Review, published a troubling story about the Louisiana Supreme Court attempting to compel a priest to break the seal of confession.

At issue was a lawsuit filed by the parents of a girl who claimed that, in 2008 at the age of 14, she told a priest that she had been abused by a now-deceased parishioner. The parents claim that the priest was negligent in not reporting the abuse. The girl claimed she told the priest of this in the confessional.

Court attempts to compel priest to break confessional seal in abuse case

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Louisiana's Supreme Court has ruled that a priest could be compelled to testify as to what he heard in the confessional in 2008 concerning an abuse case.

The priest, Father Jeff Bayhi, faces automatic excommunication if he breaks the seal of the confessional. But he also could face jailing if found to be in contempt of the court should he refuse to testify.

Faithful called on to continue defense of religious liberty

Red, white and blue greeted St. Louis Catholics on the front steps at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis a little before the noon hour on July 2.

On an unusually pleasant St. Louis summer day, the Stars and Stripes waved in the wind, with members of LIFE Runners holding the flag, as Church-goers signed a banner that read "Defend Religious Liberty."

 

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