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Contraceptive Clash: No More ‘Compromises’ Over Basic Rights

The ongoing national debate over access to birth control took a new twist Feb. 1 when President Barack Obama announced yet another attempt to meet the concerns of conservative religious groups.

Under current law, all employers with more than 50 employees must provide their workers with health insurance. A federal regulation stipulates that contraception be included as part of the coverage.

The Roman Catholic hierarchy and its Religious Right allies don’t want employers to have to include birth control in these plans. Read more

Taxpayers And Evangelization: Who Should Foot The Bill For Preaching?

In late January, the Roman Cath­olic hierarchy celebrated “Catholic Schools Week.” To mark this event, the bishops issued a statement lauding Catholic schools for leading “the New Evangelization.”

 “Catholic schools have a rich history in supporting the work of on-going evangelization of the Catholic community in the United States,” observed Bishop Joseph P. McFadden of Harrisburg, Pa., in a media statement. He praised the role of parochial schools in “offering the life-giving Word of the Gospel” and “a challenging education in an atmosphere where Jesus Christ is the center.” Read more

Capitol Circus: Religious Right Leaders Plan D.C. Prayer Rally For ‘Evil’ America

On May 8, a group called Come Pray With Me plans to hold a prayer service in Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol.

This is kind of a big deal. Statuary Hall isn’t some sort of public facility that anyone can use. Groups have to get permission from the congressional leadership to hold events there, and it’s not often granted.

So what is Come Pray With Me, and why does it merit this honor? Read more

Rules Of The Road: Judge Says Bishops Can’t Drive Government Trafficking Policy

In November, I wrote a blog post about the Catholic bishops and their complaints after the church was denied a federal contract to assist victims of human trafficking. Today I’d like to report on an interesting sequel to that controversy. Read more

Wise Council: D.C. Stands Firm On Religion Exemption In Same-Sex Marriage Law

It's always fun to report on church-state victories, and yesterday, we had a big one.

The District of Columbia Council voted 11-2 to permit same-sex couples to marry in the nation's capital. And despite threats from the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, the council refused to unduly broaden the measure's religious exemption, which already adequately protected religious freedom. Read more

Critical Mass: Justices Gather In D.C. For Special Religious Service

The U.S. Supreme Court is back in session today, which means Justice Sonia Sotomayor has taken her seat on the bench for the first time.

Yesterday morning was another first for the junior justice. She attended the Red Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle as a VIP guest. Read more

Defend The Wall!: Conn. Bishops Rally For Church-State Separation – Sort Of

Today, the Roman Catholic bishops sponsored a rally at the Connecticut Capitol building in support of church-state separation. They didn't exactly bill it that way, but that's what it was.

Considering this is the same church hierarchy that speaks so adamantly against same-sex marriage and reproductive rights -- and believes that our country's laws should reflect the church's doctrines on these issues -- a rally to support the church-state wall seems rather ironic. Read more

Render Unto Chaput?: Colorado Archbishop Wants Catholic Officials To Enforce Church Law On Abortion

Denver's Roman Catholic Archbishop Charles J. Chaput says he is "tired of people telling religious folks to be quiet in the public square because of constitutional questions of separation of church and state."

And it looks as though the Democratic Party might be tired of hearing from Chaput. Despite being the leader of Colorado's largest religious denomination, Chaput will not be among the religious leaders praying or speaking this week at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. Read more