Affirming Religious Freedom for the Little Sisters of the Poor
by Autumn Leva
Nuns who buy birth control.
That sounds like the start of a joke, and I even begin to laugh.
But then I remember there’s no punch-line here. Forcing nuns to pay for birth control was a very real policy of the Obama Administration, and the Little Sisters of the Poor were a main target.
Let’s think about this for a moment: The Little Sisters of the Poor take vows of chastity, poverty and obedience to God, and their main mission is “to offer the neediest elderly of every race and religion a home where they will be welcomed as Christ, cared for as family and accompanied with dignity until God calls them to himself.” Despite their vows and mission to care for some of the most vulnerable, the Obama Administration decided that these nuns should be required to fund contraception and even abortion-causing drugs in their healthcare plans under an Obamacare HHS Mandate.
The Administration exempted big, nonreligious corporations like Pepsi from this same mandate, but insisted that the mandate apply to the Little Sisters — threatening them with $70 million worth of fines per year if they refused to comply. Ultimately, the Little Sisters were forced to turn to the courts to defend their right to freely live out their faith and serve those in need.
Enter President Trump.
On the campaign trail, President Trump promised the Little Sisters: “I will fight for you.” He then honored them as he signed an Executive Order on the National Day of Prayer stating that his administration would work to protect religious freedom. Now, a leaked draft of an HHS rule has emerged, indicating that the Trump Administration intends to provide relief for the Little Sisters.
As believers, we may all disagree on the various policies of President Trump from time to time, but let’s give thanks where thanks is due and encourage him to keep doing the right thing. President Trump is right to defend the Little Sisters, and issuing a new rule protecting their religious beliefs and their ministry is the right thing to do.
When nuns are not forced by our government to pay for birth control, that’s a good day in America for everyone — no matter your faith background or if you have no faith at all.
So, I hope you’ll join me in encouraging President Trump to go forward with a new HHS rule so that the Little Sisters can continue to freely live out their faith serving the elderly poor—and so all of us breathe a little easier knowing that our government isn’t so coercive and unaccountable.
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Thank you for partnering with us to encourage our leaders to do the right thing, and to protect religious freedom for all!