Supreme Knight says HHS mandate has re-shaped country's political landscape



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ABSTRACTSupreme Knight says HHS mandate has re-shaped country's political landscape :: Catholic News Agency (CNA) Editors Service About us Donate Spanish Portuguese Follow us: Loading News Headlines Vatican Americas Asia - Pacific US Europe Middle East - Africa Most Read Most Commented Archive Mandate Resources Abortion Advent Apologetics Benedict XVI Bible Cardinals Catechism Catholic Womanhood Church Fathers Life & Family Liturgical Calendar Liturgy Mary Politics Prayers Sacraments Saints Virtue Tools Catholic Podcast RSS Feeds CNA TV CNA Audio Columns A Life Worth Living Answering the Tough Questions Bishops' Corner Book Reviews Both Oars In Catholic & Single Catholic Men Guest Columnist Harvesting the Fruit of Vatican II In Good Company Indispensable Economics Inside the Church during WWII Led Into the Truth Movie Reviews Preparing the way for the Roman Missal – 3rd Edition The New (& the Old) Evangelization The Spirit of the New Translation The Way of Beauty With Good Reason Your Moment in the Mass Documents Pope Benedict XVI Pope John Paul II Pope Paul VI Pope John XXIII Pope Pius XII Pope Pius XI Pope Pius X Pope Leo XIII Vatican II Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith Pontifical Council for the Family United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Cardinal James Francis Stafford Archbishop Charles J. Chaput Bishop Samuel J. Aquila Catholic Womanhood Home » News » US Supreme Knight says HHS mandate has re-shaped country's political landscape By Benjamin Mann Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. Credit: Knights of Columbus. Indianapolis, Ind., Jun 26, 2012 / 10:20 am ( CNA/EWTN News ) .- Whether the federal contraception mandate stands or falls, it has changed U.S. politics forever, the head of the Knights of Columbus observed during the 2012 Catholic Media Conference. “It definitely has changed the political landscape,” Supreme Knight Carl Anderson told CNA in a June 22 interview at the convention held in downtown Indianapolis. “What we see clearly, is an attempt to redefine the role of religion in American society.” The Obama administration, he said, is applying a “very narrow” conception of religion and its social role. “So that leads us to ask the question: What will the administration do next, whether or not it wins on the HHS mandate?” He predicted that U.S. politics would be permanently changed by the assault on the Church's freedom and its role in society, even if the HHS mandate eventually fails. “Once of the 'genie is out of the bottle,' it's going to be difficult to put it back in,” the head of the Catholic fraternal order noted. “It ought to give us all very serious concern.” Anderson, a veteran lawyer, explained that the administration's restrictive view of religion was previously seen in the “Hosanna-Tabor” Supreme Court case, pitting the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against a Lutheran church and school. In that 2011 case, Anderson recalled, the government attempted “a redefinition of what constitutes 'ministry,'” claiming that a teacher of religious and secular subjects was not a “minister” and could not be fired at the school's discretion. The school's rights, however, were unanimously upheld by the court. Shortly after that decision was handed down, Health and Human Services finalized its contraception mandate, forcing religious institutions – except those covered under a narrow exemption – to provide services that violate their moral principles, including sterilization and abortion-causing drugs. According to Anderson, both the Hosanna-Tabor case and the HHS mandate are part of a larger effort to redefine religious freedom and marginalize faith-based institutions. In Hosanna-Tabor, “the administration was arguing for the most narrow possible, most restrictive possible, definition of ministry.” Similarly, the HHS mandate granted an exemption only to institutions that primarily employ and serve those of the same faith for the purpose of spreading “religious values.” The Obama administration, Anderson said, “has continued to attempt to redefine religion, by taking an extremely narrow definition of what constitutes a 'religious institution.'” “Many institutions that we would normally think of as part of the charitable or service mission of the Church, suddenly are defined out of the ambit of being a faith-based religious institution.” Even if the HHS mandate is defeated in court, or fundamentally changed by the administration, the thinking behind it will persist and continue to shape political life. “What we're seeing is a paradigm shift – in how religion is viewed in American society, and the role of religion. Once you make that shift, the logic leads on down a certain path. And that path is: 'Wherever we can find a less inclusive .......