President Obama’s ruling that Catholic schools must offer birth control, sterilization and abortificants to students has caused outrage among the Catholic education community.
Hundreds of Catholic college professors signed onto an open letter protesting the policy as a blatant breach of religious freedom, writes Malcolm A. Kline at Accuracy in Academia.
“The Obama administration has offered what it has styled as an ‘accommodation’ for religious institutions in the dispute over the HHS mandate for coverage (without cost sharing) of abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception.
“The administration will now require that all insurance plans cover (‘cost free’) these same products and services.
“Once a religiously-affiliated (or believing individual) employer purchases insurance (as it must, by law), the insurance company will then contact the insured employees to advise them that the terms of the policy include coverage for these objectionable things. This so-called ‘accommodation’ changes nothing of moral substance and fails to remove the assault on religious liberty and the rights of conscience which gave rise to the controversy.”
The letter was signed by 215 academics and administrators in Catholic higher education institutions. 89 of the signatories came from Notre Dame – notably including Gary Anderson, the Hesburgh professor of Theology at ND.
There’s some apt history behind the position, as Kline explains:
“The Hesburgh chair is named after the long-time president of Notre Dame, Father Theodore Hesburgh, who, in the 1960s chaired a conference at Land O’ Lakes, Wisconsin in which the presidents of the major Catholic colleges and universities announced their independence from authority, lay and clerical—a categorization that encompassed both the U. S. government and the Vatican.”
Since then, Notre Dame has invited every U. S. president from every view on the issue – from pro-life Reagan to pro-choice Clinton.