US Catholic Bishops Are Following the Path of Bob Jones University

By: Saturday June 21, 2014 9:09 am

When it comes to Supreme Court cases involving the freedom of religion, one of the biggest cases is Bob Jones University v US from 1983. The presenting political issue was the segregationist practices of the school, but the specific legal issue before the court was the school’s tax exempt status. Congress had passed laws that cut off federal education money from any school that practiced racial discrimination, and the school tried to claim that the first amendment gave them an exemption from such laws. SCOTUS laughed loudly. You can discriminate all you want in the way you run your school, said the justices, but you can’t expect society to subsidize it.

And now, in the wake of President Obama’s executive order granting LGBTs protection from discrimination by federal contractors, the USCCB is upset because without an exemption from this on religious grounds, they will not be able to engage in the kind of “just discrimination” to which they have become accustomed. I’d love to hear what happens when their attorneys read them the relevant parts of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Bob Jones v US.

 

Bigotry Again Masquerading as Religious Liberty

By: Saturday June 16, 2012 9:00 am

In the 1850s and 60s, there were slaveholders who justified their ways by appealing to their religious beliefs. In the 1950s and 60s, there were segregationists who screamed “religious liberty” when their practices were questioned. Today, it’s the US Conference of Catholic Bishops doing the same with regard to laws and regulations that attempt to protect the rights of women to equal treatment, and anti-gay crusaders who want a religious exemption to continue their anti-gay ways.

In 1983, though, the US Supreme Court ruled in Bob Jones University v US that shouting “religious liberty!” is not a magic incantation that automatically frees the speaker from the laws of society. As Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. — no hater of the church — wrote, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Even, or especially, when that injustice is perpetrated in the name of religious liberty.

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