Little Sisters of the Poor v Big Brother, actually big sister Sebelius, is a David and Goliath sort of lawsuit. The Sisters asked the Federal Court for relief from the Affordable Care Act's "abortion pill mandate" and while the District Court said no, Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor issued a temporary injunction pending full review by the Federal District Court in Denver.
The Little Sisters of the Poor for over a hundred years have been operating Nursing Homes in the US for the poor elderly. They give a dignified life to some of the poorest people in the country and none of their residents die alone as the Sisters are there with them at their bedside. In order to support their work the Sisters even go out and beg weekly. I know I worked with this wonderful group of religious women back East. More pertinently the Sisters live a very simple lifestyle and take their religious commitment with all seriousness. Their Catholic Nursing Homes are not considered religious employers by the twisted logic of HHS regulations because they don't restrict their homes to Catholics only therefore they fall under the ACA's abortion pill mandate. HHS offered them a "compromise": sign a piece of paper stating your conscientious objection and giving your Insurance Carrier permission to give your employees no cost contraception, abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization". Obviously HHS is giving with one hand and taking away with the other. The Sisters said no.
This didn't sit well with the Obama Administration and HHS who have proceeded to turn the screws on the Little Sisters and threaten to basically shut them down by imposing crippling fines, in essence saying to them "violate your conscience or you and those old people are going to be in the street". Apparently the Sisters are troublemakers, auxiliary snipers in the "war on women".
This even possessed (demonically that is) a columnist in the US News and World Report, hitherto known as the USless News and World Distort to pen the most eye-ball scalding bigoted anti-Catholic screed I have read in my lifetime entitled: The Catholic Supreme Court's War on Women. According to the writer the six Catholic Justices on the Court including Sotomayor who is apparently no longer "the wise Latina" but a papist plant on the Court, have now decided to impose Vatican hegemony upon the United States. Well that'll help the Sunday collection.
Here's the clincher: Sotomayor's blow brings us to confront an uncomfortable reality. More than WASPS, Methodists, Jews, Quakers or Baptists, Catholics often try to impose their beliefs on you, me, public discourse and institutions. Especially if "you" are female. Yeah, I still can't forgive those Jews for imposing circumcision, or those Quakers for making us all pacifists and those Baptists for taking our booze away…It seems to me that it is the Obama Administration that is trying to "impose" its beliefs upon the rest of us.
The Little Sisters of the Poor are no strangers to this sort of anti-Catholic hostility. Their founder St. Jeanne Jugan started the community in France after the French Revolution--a period in history that was not exactly Catholic friendly.
If Mr. Obama and Mrs. Sebelius had a shred of decency in them they would apologize to the Little Sisters of the Poor, thank them for their wonderful selfless service to the poor of our country and grant them a waiver (like they've done to hundreds of other employers) or ask Congress to tweak the law. But that's not happening. Rather the full weight of the US Justice Department is coming at the Little Sisters. But not to worry I am sure at least one of the Sisters knows how to use a slingshot.
Love, Fr. John B.