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New York Times Misunderstands the Little Sisters of the Poor

Posted on: January 8th, 2014 by kresta in the afternoon No Comments
The most telling part of the editorial was its concluding paragraph, which reads (in full, with one interpolation by me): “like the cases of the private employers [such as Hobby Lobby], the suit by the nuns’ group boils down to an unjustified attempt by an employer to impose its religious views on workers.”
One could probably develop an entire course on what is wrong with this country’s liberal elite’s understanding, and valuation, of religious liberty out of that one sentence.
–Professor Gerard V. Bradley
Notre Dame School of Law
Gerard V. Bradley

Professor Gerry Bradley, noted scholar in the fields of constitutional law as well as law and religion, took issue with the New York Times’ report last Friday on the Obama Administration’s legal memorandum affirming its opposition to the complaint by the Little Sisters of the Poor.  The Sisters contend that they should not be forced to facilitate free distribution of contraceptives and abortifacients to any of their employees who might desire them.  “Among its many, many mistakes,” he writes of the NY Times’ report:

“…are these three: First, even though the folks who run Hobby Lobby and other complaining for-profit companies are admirable people who also deserve relief from the HHS mandate, it is a dull mind indeed which can see no relevant difference between the Little Sisters of the Poor and a huge commercial chain store; two, employees are not made to accept, or to have “imposed” upon them, any religious view by dint of being expected to pay for their own abortifacient or contraceptive drugs; third, there is no basis for the Times’ imposition of “impose” upon the Little Sisters.
The Sisters’ tiny outfit does not belong to them. They do not make others endure or suffer for their — the Sisters, as “employer” — views by keeping alive the mission and purpose of the organization itself, as the Catholic charity that it is. That character (or charism, one might say) is the common property of everyone associated with it, from the Little Sister who is in authority to the Little Sister who scrubs the floors — and to everyone in between.  The identity and meaning of the entire outfit is shared by all who choose to join it; it is wholly a collaboration among all who toil therein for the purpose of serving those most in need.
Read the full article here.
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