Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

8/12/2009 (5 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Pray for Belmont Abbey College and stand with them for Life. They are showing the courage all Catholics must demonstrate.

'By denying prescription contraception drugs, Respondent (the college) is discriminating based on gender because only females take oral prescription contraceptives… By denying coverage, men are not affected, only women.', Reuben Daniels Jr., of the EEOC Charlotte District Office Director.

'By denying prescription contraception drugs, Respondent (the college) is discriminating based on gender because only females take oral prescription contraceptives… By denying coverage, men are not affected, only women.', Reuben Daniels Jr., of the EEOC Charlotte District Office Director.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/12/2009 (5 years ago)

Published in Politics & Policy


BELMONT, NC (Catholic Online) The Congress of the United States is in recess. This is the time when elected officials normally meet in Town Hall sessions with their constituents and take a vacation. However, it has become a long, hot summer as record numbers turn out in Town Hall meetings across the country expressing serious reservations over the proposed Health care Reform legislation being advanced by the Obama administration.

The most serious concern raised is how this reform would affect our first neighbors, children in the womb. Catholics, other Christians, other people of faith and all people of good will who insist that Abortion is not Health Care are sending a loud message. We are insisting upon explicit Pro-Life protections in any Health Care Legislation. The proponents of the legislation have been dismissive of our concerns and accuse us of scare tactics. The danger of the current plan, without explicit statutory protection of unborn human persons, becomes even more obvious in the wake of what just happened in Belmont, North Carolina. Let me explain.

Belmont Abbey College is nestled in the plush green rolling hills of Belmont, North Carolina. The campus could provide the backdrop for a film depicting the idyllic Catholic College. Founded by and still served by Benedictine Monks, it provides a visual witness to the beauty of the Benedictine mission of work and prayer and the Orders significant role in helping to birth the great European Universities out of the Monasteries of the Middle Ages. The Monastery on campus is a symbol of the dynamic Catholic faith, life and culture which characterizes this Catholic College.

What is more appealing than even its beauty is Belmont Abbeys dedication to handing on the fullness of Catholic faith, thought and culture to their student body. It has an overt commitment to teaching the fullness of the Catholic Christian faith and infusing in its graduates a Catholic worldview. The President of the College, Dr. Bill Thierfelder, is right out of Central casting. With a background in athletics and Sports medicine, he has dedicated his academic leadership to promoting a truly Catholic, fully human, virtue centered lifestyle on campus.

When I first met him I was struck by his height and his gregarious manner. He could have just stepped off the basketball court. As I listened to him speak, it became clear that this was a man who understands the fullness of the Catholic vision for the human person, the family and the social order. He also takes seriously the essential role of the Catholic academy in training the new missionaries for the New Evangelization of every segment of the contemporary culture. Finally, he has the courage required of a Catholic leader.

In 2007, a faculty member discovered that under the Colleges existing Health Insurance Plan, anti-life and anti-family products and procedures were potentially covered, including abortion, contraception and sterilization. The College, a Catholic institution committed to the infallible teaching of the Catholic Church concerning the sanctity of life, removed the provisions. President Thierfelder explained this action in a letter he sent to students, faculty and friends of the College with this refreshingly clear statement:

The teaching of the Catholic Church on this moral issue is clear. The responsibility of the College as a Catholic College sponsored by the monks of Belmont Abbey to follow Church teaching is equally clear. There was no other course of action possible if we were to operate in fidelity to our mission and to our identity as a Catholic College. He was absolutely correct. Belmont Abbey College was just being Catholic!

Properly, the College then amended the health insurance plan to ensure that such anti-life and anti-family procedures and products were not available. Because this is a Catholic institution, the exemptions under both State and Federal law were clear, or so most would have thought, including this constitutional lawyer. However, a complaint was filed by eight faculty members with the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) alleging that the exclusion of these services constituted discrimination against women in violation of both North Carolina and Federal law. An investigation ensued.

In March of 2009 the College Administration received a Dismissal and Notice of Rights determination letter from the EEOC indicating that they were closing the file. As a constitutional lawyer of almost thirty years, I know that such letters usually indicate the Commissions intention to dismiss the claim. The College understandably interpreted it as an indication that the Commission found that the Colleges decision to amend the plan did not violate the law.

So, imagine the shock as summer was winding to an end and the Administration received a determination letter from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission accusing them of discriminating based upon gender. Reuben Daniels Jr., of the EEOC Charlotte District Office Director wrote that the Commission had determined that Belmont Abbey College discriminated against women: By denying prescription contraception drugs, Respondent (the college) is discriminating based on gender because only females take oral prescription contraceptives By denying coverage, men are not affected, only women.

The EEOC also alleged that the College retaliated against eight faculty members who filed charges with the EEOC by identifying them by name in a letter to faculty and staff. Daniels wrote: It is the Commissions position that the identity of an individual who has filed a charge should be protected with confidentiality during the Commissions investigationBy disclosing Charging Partys name, a chilling effect was created on Respondents campus whereby other faculty and staff members would be reluctant to file a charge of employment discrimination for fear of disclosure.

In a statement the College responded: We are disappointed that this matter has taken this very unusual twist, but we remain committed to ensuring that all of the Colleges policies and practices follow the teachings of the Catholic Church, which includes valuing all life and treating individuals with dignity and respect, and providing equal opportunities for all The College is confident that its actions ultimately will be found to be in compliance with all federal and state laws and with the U.S. ConstitutionAccordingly, the College will be asking the EEOC to reconsider each of the current determinations it has made in connection with the charges filed against the College.

As I conclude you may ask What is the connection between what is happening to this Catholic College and the current National Health Care debate? The legislation being offered by the US Congress to allegedly reform health care in the US will produce the same result on a National Level as the Federal Bureaucracy micromanages the program. In effect, the Federal Government is pursuing this action against Belmont Abbey College for being Catholic. If a private health care insurance plan offered by a Catholic College cannot exclude the taking of innocent life through abortion or refuse to pay for chemicals to kill an embryonic person, or refuse to pay for contraception without being charged with discrimination against women by the EEOC, imagine the results on a National level.

Planned Parenthood, the Abortion lobby and the proponents of death on demand certainly know how to use the police power of the State to enforce their new regime. As a constitutional lawyer of many years, I can see their legal strategy even now. We call on all of our readers throughout the world to pray for Belmont Abbey College and stand with them in their struggle against the EEOC and the Culture of death. The implications reach far beyond Belmont, North Carolina.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

Why does Obama want doctors overworked and underpaid? Watch

Image of An astounding 25% of all active physicians in America are refusing to participate in Obamacare.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An incredible number of doctors nationwide are refusing to participate in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), President Obama's largest and most decisive act while in the White House. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - More than 214,000 doctors nationwide will not ... continue reading


Democrats are expected to hurt as Republicans sweep through Congress and local legislatures Watch

Image of Republicans are expected to cement their majority in the House of Representatives, while in the Senate they are expected to gain a majority.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The 2014 Midterm election may give Republicans a historic opportunity to take control of a record number of state legislatures across the country, made possible by America's increasing dissatisfaction with President Obama and Democrats-who have been eager to ... continue reading


THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC IS DEAD - The new way politicians take bribes and cut you out of politics Watch

Image of The American Republic has been destroyed after decades of apathy and corruption.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Political corruption in the United States has never been worse. Although members of Congress are not allowed to accept bribes or gifts, they have found a loophole in their own laws they exploit to cash in. Instead of being bought directly, members of Congress, as ... continue reading


Children in world's most affluent countries plunged into poverty after crisis Watch

Image of Budget cuts have had a negative impact on children, particularly in Mediterranean countries, such as Italy, Greece and Portugal.

By Karrie Kehoe, Thomson Reuters Foundation

The global economic crisis has plunged 2.6 million children into poverty in the world's most affluent countries, with children in Ireland, Latvia and Greece among the hardest hit, a new UNICEF report showed. LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Increases in child ... continue reading


Black Democrats turn against Obama in powerful video. It's not the Republicans or the Tea Party -- it's predatory blacks Watch

Image of Blacks are tired of promises and corruption. The problem is black leadership.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Black Chicago activists have criticized Obama and other black leaders, saying that every black community across the country is being used by Democrats. "Folks are in an abusive black leadership relationship," one angry man said in the clip. "My life has been hurt by ... continue reading


Another six states now recognize same-sex marriage after Supreme Court ruling Watch

Image of The U.S. government has recognized same-sex

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The federal government has continued to increase its recognition of same-sex marriage, granting protected status and extending federal benefits to couples in six more states. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Attorney General Eric Holder announced the news on ... continue reading


Pew Research reveals Latinos growing as a group, but political power is low Watch

Image of A Pew Report shows that Latinos are weakly represented in the current midterm.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

When viewed by the numbers, Latinos are becoming an important demographic in American politics. While Latinos have always been an important group in the American cultural tapestry, only recently have their collective numbers risen to make them a substantial political ... continue reading


Will the Bush legacy live on with Jeb? Or will painful memories haunt the family and the GOP? Watch

Image of While many may be wary of another Bush candidacy, it appears the whole Bush clan is behind a Jeb Bush 2016 bid.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The 2014 midterm is right around the corner, but already rumors are rumbling about the roster of potential 2016 presidential candidates. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - While many Republicans want, or have thought highly of, Mitt Romney running for a third time, ... continue reading


Comrade Hillary Clinton astounds - says businesses don't create jobs Watch

Image of Clinton's claim was delivered during a speech for Martha Coakley.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Hillary Clinton has stunned listeners with the amazing proclamation that corporations and businesses don't create jobs. This leaves many Americans to wonder where their jobs came from instead. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - At a rally in Boston, Hillary Clinton ... continue reading


More people than ever before renouncing their United States citizenship Watch

Image of The growing number of renunciations by U.S. citizens and permanent residents is linked to a five-year enforcement campaign against U.S. taxpayers who have undeclared offshore accounts.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With 776 names on the Treasury Department list published last week for the third quarter of 2014, more people than ever before have renounced their citizenship in the United States. There are substantial numbers of people to renounce their U.S. citizenship or end ... continue reading


All Politics & Policy News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Philippians 1:1-11
1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 111:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
1 Alleluia! I give thanks to Yahweh with all my ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 14:1-6
1 Now it happened that on a Sabbath day he had gone ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 31st, 2014 Image

St. Wolfgang
October 31: Wolfgang (d. 994) + Bishop and reformer. Born in Swabia, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter