Got a problem with religious freedom? Redefine religious.

Got a problem with religious freedom? Redefine religious.
The Supreme Court yesterday refused to hear an appeal by Catholic Charities of Sacramento in which the organization asked to be exempt from a law forcing non religious employers to include birth control in health benefits. The Charities said forcing them to pay for contraception would conflict with church teaching and would violate the First Amendment, which allows the free exercise of religious beliefs.

"If the state of California can coerce Catholic agencies to pay for contraceptives, it can force them to pay for abortions,'' said Charities attorney Kevin Baine.

In March, the California Supreme Court also ruled against Catholic Charities, saying the ministry was not a religious employer because most of its employees are not Catholic and its services—counseling, low-income housing, and immigration services—are secular.

After that ruling, Ned Dolejsi, executive director of the California Catholic Conference, said, "This case was never about contraceptives. … It was about our ability to practice our religion—providing food, clothing, and shelter to the neediest among us—as a religious organization which is part of the Catholic Church."

The California Catholic Charities and the California Catholic Conference have yet to comment on the decision. Planned Parenthood and the ACLU applauded it.

Pro-life groups worry that states will soon force religious organizations such as hospitals and schools to pay for abortions. "California is just one court case away from requiring employers, even churches, to cover abortions in their health-insurance policies," said Jan Carroll of the California Pro-Life ...

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Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's executive editor. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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