HHS Mandate and the Catholic Church Taking Federal Money


#1

Can the Catholic Church really complain about the HHS mandates when the Catholic schools, hospitals and other Catholic institutions that are not really avenues of teaching the faith or places of worship, receive federal tax payer money. It seems to me that this can simply be resolved if the Church refuses to accept anymore tax payer federal money and only employ Catholics.

If they are going to take money from the U.S. government, then should they not abide by their rules? Does the Church not wave Her religious freedom once She begins to take money from a secular and non-Catholic government?

What are your thoughts?

Pax Christi


#2

Are American Catholics not Americans? Do they not pay their taxes? Do these Catholic schools provide an education to American Citizens which better the nation?


#3

Faith based Initiatives a la President Bush, are indeed Faith based. :wink:

Ergo Gov’t. should have** no** right to dictate terms when it conflicts with Religion.


#4

Yes, they are Catholics and they do pay taxes. The Catholic schools do provide an education to Americans but do they better the nation. I will refrain from commenting on what comes out of the American school system these days, for now.

Where are you trying to go with this? I don’t see the relevancy of your questions to the original post. All I am questioning is the wisdom in asking and taking money from an institution that has declared war against you. That does not seem very wise to me. If you don’t want to be beholden to someone, then don’t create a connection to them that will give them power over you.


#5

We’ve been down this road before. I don’t think this is even close to being an accurate description of the situation.

The Catholic Church does not [repeat **NOT] “take” government money. You talk as though whatever money the government gives the Church is a gift. It is not. The government has contracts with Catholic agencies, and the money is payment for services rendered according to the terms of those contracts. Now the government wants to impose changes to the contract without re-negotiating, and you ask why not under the guise of being objective? Gimme a break. If you had a contract with someone whereby you were to do “X” and he later wanted you to do X + Y, where Y was not in the original agreement, for no additional money, what would be your response? If the Church does not accept the new terms, it is perfectly within its legal rights to refuse to perform those changes and not renew the contract that included those changes, and it is also within its rights to demand payment for the services it did render. BTW, it is also ILLEGAL for the government to demand a contractor to perform things not in the original contract, even under the promise of payment. **


#6

Actually it wouldn’t matter if they took federal money or not. As for only employing Catholics - see how long the Department of Labor/ACLU/Department of Justice allows that to happen.


#7

So you don’t see a conflict with taking federal tax payer dollars?


#8

[quote="shocktrooper, post:7, topic:291062"]
So you don't see a conflict with taking federal tax payer dollars?

[/quote]

Why should it be a conflict?


#9

There shouldn’t be.


#10

] “take” government money. You talk as though whatever money the government gives the Church is a gift. It is not. The government has contracts with Catholic agencies, and the money is payment for services rendered according to the terms of those contracts. Now the government wants to impose changes to the contract without re-negotiating, and you ask why not under the guise of being objective? Gimme a break. If you had a contract with someone whereby you were to do “X” and he later wanted you to do X + Y, where Y was not in the original agreement, for no additional money, what would be your response? If the Church does not accept the new terms, it is perfectly within its legal rights to refuse to perform those changes and not renew the contract that included those changes, and it is also within its rights to demand payment for the services it did render. BTW, it is also ILLEGAL for the government to demand a contractor to perform things not in the original contract, even under the promise of payment. **

In addition to this, look where this is going - Catholic hospitals currently accept patients on Medicare and Medicaid, but now the government says, “if you treat these patients and accept Medicaid/Medicare payment for the services rendered, YOU ARE TAKING FEDERAL MONEY. And now we, the government will tell you that you must do also this, that, and that, because you are taking federal money…”

So, what if the Catholic hospitals will simply drop all the Medicaid and Medicare patients in reply, and let the government keep its money… Will that be better for the Medicaid and Medicaid patients who already have a hard time finding healthcare providers, because Medicare and especially Medicaid don’t pay free market rate for services rendered?


#11

I have a question. Could the Catholic hospitals/schools/universities say: “We have an honor code, according to which contraception and gay partnerships are gravely immoral. And we will only emply people, be they Catholic or not, who live by our honor code. Anyone breaking the honor code is subject to immediate firing.” Would this be possible, or would some law forbid this?

The Mormon BYU has a honor code. I think Catholic employers should also implement a honor code, but I don’t have any legal training to tell, whether this would be possible under the current law.


#12

] “take” government money. You talk as though whatever money the government gives the Church is a gift. It is not. The government has contracts with Catholic agencies, and the money is payment for services rendered according to the terms of those contracts. Now the government wants to impose changes to the contract without re-negotiating, and you ask why not under the guise of being objective? Gimme a break. If you had a contract with someone whereby you were to do “X” and he later wanted you to do X + Y, where Y was not in the original agreement, for no additional money, what would be your response? If the Church does not accept the new terms, it is perfectly within its legal rights to refuse to perform those changes and not renew the contract that included those changes, and it is also within its rights to demand payment for the services it did render. BTW, it is also ILLEGAL for the government to demand a contractor to perform things not in the original contract, even under the promise of payment. **

sedonaman,

I don’t recall “going down this road” with you. I apologize if I am late to the well.

Are you suggesting the Church does not accept federal grant money? I live in Louisiana and an entire addition to our parish was built primarily with FEMA grant money given the the Archdiocese. What is a grant? Is it a gift, payment for service or something else? Does the money help build something that may be a problem maintaining down the road? Think of a big house given to a low income family. What a great gift but what about the upkeep, the utilities. Eventually the family has to reach out for help, again. Grants should be freely given money with no strings attached, and for the most part, they are. But what about tomorrow? The best way to insulate yourself from another’s influence is to not partner with them. I do agree that services should be paid per the contract but who makes the rules, sedonaman? The law of the land can change and yesterday’s freedoms are today’s crimes. I think it is a slippery slope. These are my thoughts, that is it. I am not looking for an argument, my friend.


#13

I think it does matter.


#14

As I implied in my post, the term “taking” carries the negative connotation that it is a free gift and that the government is “giving” it out of the kindness of its heart; therefore, the receiver of government payments is beholding to the payer to do anything it demands. This is never the case because government cannot “give” to the people what it first hasn’t already taken from the people, as another poster pointed out. Somehow, taxes themselves are never recognized as an evil … necessary, but an evil nevertheless. The evil is the one who refuses to knuckle under to this con game.


#15

Yes, the Catholic hospitals will be forced to shut the door on these people or simply help them at the Church’s cost. We will be forced into the situation we should have always been in.


#16

Ok, so what about money that is not collected via taxes but foreign or donated by those that are anti-religous? And how do you know what you are receiving when “given” the money? This would remove the idea that all money given to the Church was once taken from the people.


#17

The Church provides many vital services for the public at large (not just Catholics). Financial government support makes sense because, overall, it saves money.

The main point, however, is that the government should have some say in how these hospitals, nursing homes, schools, etc. operate. They cross the line, however, when a mandate steps squarely on a religious belief or tenet.

Freedom of religious expression is one of the most precious freedoms we have. The founding fathers had the wisdom to realize the incredible value this freedom would provide its people.

Notice that it is freedom of religious expression we are concerned with and not freedom of worship. If we are free to worship for an hour on Sunday, but the other 167 hours of the week we are beholding to the whims of the government, we are not living our faith. This must not happen. Further, it is the responsibility of every American (Catholic and non-Catholic) to fight for this right. It really is a big deal!


#18

Yes, I agree this is a big deal.

Where does one draw the “religious expression” or belief line though? Contraception and sterilization, along with abortion is not seen by the government as religious issues, but health issues. The ones who make the rules win out in the end. Now I agree that nothing trumps God and His law is final.

If the government ruled by the laws of God, Catholic moral law, then we would have no problems.


#19

There is actually no connection between Catholic institutions taking federal money and the HHS Mandate. The Mandate stands by itself and is not a condition of receiving, e.g., federal grants, Medicare or Medicaid. It applies to Catholic institutions that receive no federal funding whatever, unless they require that their personnel and clientele all be Catholic.

But I do understand your point, which is whether Catholic institutions should allow themselves to become dependent on federal money.


#20

The government may view Kosher diets and circumcision as non- religious issues, but they are. One need only look as far as the Catechism to see that abortion, sterilization and birth control stand in opposition to Church law.

The freedom of religious expression is so sacred that the government should bend over backwards to avoid any possibility of trampling this right. I do believe that the Supreme Court will get this right if it ever gets there…At least I hope so.


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