EEOC vs. Belmont Abbey, Continued

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5 Responses

  1. valuemonitor says:

    I have two points: one, it is very unlikely that a survey of the faculty and students would find that they are predominantly Catholic(particularly if the adult degree program is included). I’ve been waiting for somebody to get down there and count noses ever since this controversy started. So far, the only one to do so is a student, who is it said found that forty percent of faculty and students are Catholic. However, many of those do not share the ‘tenets’ of the administration as regards contraception. A majority of tenet sharing employees is required for a religious exemption under the NC Contraceptive equity statute.

    Two, the US Supreme Court has made its position on conflicts between the First Amendment and public policy very clear. Public policy wins. Read the NY and CA Catholic Charities decisions. These State Supreme Court decisions were 6-0 [one justice didn’t participate] and 6-1 against the Catholic charities. The US Supreme Court refused to hear the appeals. If the US Supreme Court had thought that these religious liberty arguments that you, the Catholic charities, and others have been making had merit, they would have heard the appeals.

  2. Yaakov Menken says:

    valuemonitor, your facts and numbers are mistaken. The majority have to share the tenets, plural, not the individual question of contraception. The majority, according to other students, certainly agree the college shouldn’t be paying for it. Apparently the State of North Carolina also agrees, because the college did receive a religious exemption under that statute.

    The EEOC also decided in favor of the college when it comes to the religious freedom question. Provision of contraceptive services by a college health plan is a very different question than under what circumstances a hospital will perform an abortion. [Hospitals find innovative ways to get rid of patients they don’t want, so the impact is also very different.]

    The public policy folks don’t have their act together. NC says a religious entity like BAC can exempt itself from providing contraception. Initially, the EEOC in NC agreed. Then the national office got wind of the decision and the EEOC reversed itself. I am glad you find it very clear, but the EEOC itself does not, much less the State of North Carolina.

  3. Baruch Pelta says:

    It seems to me that both Dr. Neipert’s argument and R’ Menken’s argument hinge on what sort of institution Belmont Abbey officially is. R’ Menken and Dr. Neipert disagree on their reading of the decision in the case deciding if they can receive money, a decision I admittedly haven’t looked at.

    I thought that R’ Menken’s original argument (not mentioned here) that this has something to do with the Obama administration was specious. However, I agree with R’ Menken that Dr. Neipert’s argument that this is like a Catholic bringing an unkosher sandwich to the Jewish hospital he works at was not a proper comparison.

  4. valuemonitor says:

    R. Menken: I realize that I can only post once, but I wanted to provide some evidence to support my contentions which you disagreed with above. These articles are from the Gaston Gazette, dated February 19 and February 22, 2008. Note that both quote the spokesperson for the NC DOI as saying that a religious exemption had not been issued. On March 13, 2008, the NC DOI sent a letter which the administration distributed saying that a recent NC Supreme Court decision, Harris v. Matthews (2007), prohibited any state agency from making determinations regarding religious doctrine, so they couldn’t make a determination on the religious exemption.

    According to the second article, of 1,270 students in early 2008, 394 self identified as Catholic.

    Thanks for your thoughtful discussion of this topic.

  5. Yaakov Menken says:

    VM, the end result of that was to grant the exemption, because the DOI can’t interfere.

    The students, it should be mentioned, are not directly affected and aren’t part of any litmus test for religious exemptions. Nonetheless, the student body has two distinct components — residential, full-time students, and adult commuters. The latter, of course, are much less involved with school life and may take as little as one course per semester, and choose the school simply because it offers a course they want to take. Given that North Carolina isn’t known as a bastion of Catholicism, it is unsurprising that the (vast) majority of those commuter students are not. But the majority of residential students are, and even those who are not are in the main supportive of the school.

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