Trump Passes Regulations Respecting Religious Liberties Against Forced Contraception Coverage

U.S President Donald Trump flanked by religious leaders speaks during a National Day of Prayer Event in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, on May 4, 2017. Photo by Olivier Douliery/ Abaca(Sipa via AP Images)

Photo by Olivier Douliery/ Abaca(Sipa via AP Images)

In a major victory for religious liberty, the Trump administration issued new regulations allowing more employers to opt out of providing contraception coverage that the Obama administration imposed on businesses and non-profits through the Affordable Care Act.

According to Christianity Today the Trump administration’s new “regulations exempt employers who object to treatments like birth control pills, emergency contraception, and sterilization due to ‘sincerely held religious beliefs’ or ‘moral convictions.'”

“The new rule is a victory for common sense,” said attorney Mark Rienzi, senior counsel with the Becket law firm, which represents the Little Sisters of the Poor. “The previous administration pursued a needless and divisive culture war. . . It should be easy for the courts to finalize this issue now that the government admits it broke the law.”

The Little Sisters of the Poor came to symbolize the opposition to the Obama administration’s mandate that would coerce the Sisters’ nursing homes — and similar Christian non-profits, hospitals, and businesses — to finance procedures that violate deeply cherished religious beliefs.

While Hobby Lobby won a Supreme Court case in 2014 that allowed religious exemption for certain private companies, according to Christianity Today “Christian colleges, charities, and non-profits have been battling the mandate in court ever since, and last year, the Supreme Court sent their cases back for more review.”

The rules of the Trump administration’s new policy are said to go into effect immediately once on display at the Federal Registrar’s office.

President Trump Honors Catholic Schools, Priests, Teachers, & Administrators

The White House issued a statement today from President Donald J. Trump honoring National Catholic Schools Week. President Trump said:

“In recognition of National Catholic Schools Week, I want to extend my heartfelt presidentTrumpappreciation to all of the dedicated Catholic school administrators, teachers, priests, and support organizations who work tirelessly to build and sustain quality Catholic schools across the Nation.”

“The theme of this year’s National Catholic Schools Week is “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge, and Service.”  I appreciate the many ways in which Catholic schools nurture devotion, impart wisdom, and minister to the 2 million students who enter their halls every day.  and to the diverse communities they serve.”

“Congratulations for the tremendous work you have done to educate our Nation’s youth each and every day. Your continued and sustained efforts are vital to our success and prosperity as a country.”



SCOTUS Nominee Studied with Eminent Catholic Philosoper

Last night as the nation watched in expectation President Donald J. Trump

udge Neil M. Gorsuch, President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court. Credit Al Drago/The New York Times

Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court. Credit Al Drago/The New York Times

announced from the White House his U.S. Supreme Court nominee. Appearing alongside the president was Judge Neil Gorsuch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, accompanied by his wife.

Judge Gorsuch’s impressive academic credentials include doing his undergraduate studies at Columbia University, receiving his J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he was a classmate of President Barack Obama, and receiving a doctorate in legal philosophy from Oxford University.

It is this last academic endeavor that struck me most, as I soon found out that Gorsuch’s doctoral studies at Oxford were supervised by one of the most eminent living Catholic philosophers in the world, John Finnis.

As a moral and legal philosopher, Finnis has done breakthrough work on natural law and natural rights, and is often identified as the godfather of new-natural law theory, a revitalization of Thomistic natural philosophy as an ethical system. He has written widely on such issues as abortion, gay marriage, and sexual ethics, exuding a pro-life perspective and one that defends the dignity of marriage on the basis of a natural law philosophy.


Professor John Finnis, moral and legal philosopher at Oxford and Notre Dame

One of Finnis’ protégé’s, who also did his doctorate under Finnis at Oxford, is the Princeton professor and public intellectual Robert P. George. George, a Catholic scholar, made public this post on his Facebook page about Judge Gorsuch a week before President Trump nominated him:

“Judge Gorsuch is a friend of mine and someone I greatly admire. He would be a superb Supreme Court justice. He is intellectually extremely gifted and is deeply committed to the (actual) Constitution and the rule of law. He will not manufacture “rights” or read things into the Constitution that aren’t there or read things out of the Constitution that are.”

George’s post continued: “Judge Gorsuch’s excellent book, *The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia* is published under my general editorship in the Princeton University Press New Forum Books series. He also contributed a fine essay to a collection of writings in honor of John Finnis that I co-edited with Professor John Keown of Georgetown. Professor Finnis, the eminent Oxford legal and moral philosopher who revitalized the study of natural law in Anglo-American analytical philosophy and jurisprudence, was Judge Gorsuch’s doctoral dissertation supervisor.”

FutureofAssistedSuicideandEuthanasiaWhile an Episcopalian, Judge Gorsuch has had a record that should make many Catholics happy. Not only has he opposed assisted suicide and euthanasia, showing respect for the sanctity of human life, but he has also been a supporter of religious liberty.

Writing for America, Michael O’Loughlin explains that Judge Gorsuch has sided with “both Hobby Lobby and the Little Sisters of the Poor in clashes with the Obama administration about provisions of the Affordable Care Act that they argued violated their religious freedom.”

In the same article Judge Gorsuch is quoted as saying, in his book The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, that, “All human beings are intrinsically valuable and the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong.”

In an article for The Federalist, Andrew Walker emphasizes that this is Judge Gorsuch’s main thesis, “His main principle—and the thesis of the book—is that human life is intrinsically valuable and that intentional killing is always wrong. He maintains that refusing unwanted and life-sustaining medical treatment is morally acceptable, but that intentional efforts to accelerate death are immoral.”

Robert George wrote an article in the Washington Post today emphasizing that with the nomination of Judge Gorsuch, “President Trump has without question fulfilled his pledge to appoint a justice in the mold of Antonin Scalia — a conservative intellectual leader.”

In addition to writing of his intellectual achievements, George comment on the character and integrity of Judge Gorsuch, “He’s a faithful husband, a good father, a caring neighbor, a generous friend, a man of probity who holds himself to the highest ethical standards.”

Judge Gorsuch wrote his dissertation about the moral and legal issues surrounding euthanasia and assisted-suicide under John Finnis. Many doctoral students who have worked under Finnis have become his intellectual protégés. Among these are Robert George and John Keown, who have done significant scholarship of approaching moral issues from a Catholic natural law perspective. Perhaps Judge Gorsuch, another protégé of Finnis, will be able to bring such a perspective to the Supreme Court.

Kellyanne Conway to Attend March for Life

Kellyanne Conway, the first woman to successfully lead a presidential campaign to victory in U.S. history and currently Counselor to President Donald J. Trump, will attend and speak at the 43rd annual March for Life this Friday in Washington, D.C., Lifezette reports.


Sean Spicer, White House Press Secretary, has confirmed Conway’s attendance at the March and has hinted at the possible involvement of President Trump, commenting on the matter during the second official White House press conference.

“I know Kellyanne is going to attend the event,” he said. “I think we’re still working through the details, but we’ll have further information about the president’s potential participation.”

In less than a week of the Trump administration’s presence in the White House the administration has already taken major steps in implementing a pro-life agenda, counter to the Obama administration. Earlier this week President Trump signed an executive memorandum to reinstate a policy – the Mexico City Policy – that stops taxpayer funding of groups that provide and promote abortions overseas.

Pro-life gains have even come in Congress. Yesterday the House of Representatives voted to permanently ban taxpayer funding of abortion in the U.S., legislation President Trump promises to sign if the Senate approves it.

Meanwhile Planned Parenthood, the biggest abortion-provider in the country that receives tax-payer dollars, has come under heavy criticism as an investigative video has been released, showing that Planned Parenthood has lied about providing prenatal care as part of its services, the Daily Wire reports, concentrating predominantly on abortion. Here is the video exposing Planned Parenthood:

The annual March for Life in Washington, DC, is the biggest demonstration of people marching for the sanctity of human life. The event is held in January in light of the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, the Supreme Court decisions that legalized abortion nationwide on January 22, 1973.

Bold Christian Prayer at Inauguration Early Sign of Hope

I read that the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump set a record as having the most prayers of any inauguration ceremony before it. I was especially moved by the prayer delivered by President Trump’s pastor Paula White-Cain, pronouncing the truth of the Gospel without shame as she entrusted the nation to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and proclaimed the power of the Name of Jesus as millions watched.

It is an early sign of hope, I feel, after an outgoing administration that, in it’s policies, was one of the most anti-religious administration’s in recent history—to the point that the Obama administration sued a Catholic hospital in Pittsburgh for refusing to perform surgical abortions—that this incoming administration may show much more respect for Christians and the gift of religious liberty.