Dr. Kevin Schmiesing — Marching in Opposite Directions: Religious Liberty, American Past & Present

Dr. Kevin Schmiesing, Research Fellow at the Acton Institute, discusses Catholic politician Al Smith in this excerpt from his talk entitled “Marching in Opposite Directions: Religious Liberty in the American Past and Present”.  Dr. Schmiesing’s talk was part of the Truth, Conscience, and Religious Freedom Conference, sponsored by the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Richard Jusseaume — “The Heart of the Matter: Academic Freedom and Religious Liberty”

Richard Jusseaume, President of Walsh University, delivers his talk “The Heart of the Matter: Academic Freedom and Religious Liberty”. Mr. Jusseaume’s talk was delivered at the Academic Freedom and Revealed Truth Symposium, which was part of the ongoing Fidelity and Freedom Series at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

The series seeks to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Saint John Paul II’s Ex corde Ecclessiae through an in-depth exploration of its meaning and import. Over the course of the year, scholars representing various viewpoints will weigh in on the issues at the heart of the document.

A response to Mr. Jusseaume’s talk was given by Dr. Daniel R. Kempton, Vice President for Academic Affairs at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Other talks delivered at the conference included:

*Note: Not all talks in this series necessarily represent the viewpoint of Franciscan University and its faculty.

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William Saunders — The Human Right to Religious Liberty: How Does the U.S. Measure Up?

William Saunders, Esq, Senior Vice President for Legal Affairs and Senior Counsel for Americans United for Life, delivers his talk entitled “The Human Right to Religious Liberty: How Does the U.S. Measure Up?”  Mr. Saunders’ talk was part of the Truth, Conscience, and Religious Freedom Conference, sponsored by the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Robert A. Destro — ‘Non-Establishment’ Principle: Text, Structure, and the Politics of Power

Robert A. Destro, Director of the Interdisciplinary Program in Law and Religion at the Columbus School of Law, Catholic University of America, delivers his talk entitled “Rethinking the ‘Non-Establishment’ Principle: Text, Structure, and the Politics of Power”.  Professor Destro’s talk was part of the Truth, Conscience, and Religious Freedom Conference, sponsored by the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Gerard V. Bradley — The Culture of Religious Liberty

Gerard V. Bradley, Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame School of Law, delivers his talk entitled “The Culture of Religious Liberty”.  Professor Bradley’s talk was part of the Truth, Conscience, and Religious Freedom Conference, sponsored by the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry — Protecting Our Religious Freedom

Jeff Fortenberry, the Republican Congressman of Nebraska in the United States House of Representatives, speaks about “Protecting Our Religious Freedom” at the 2012 Defending the Faith Conference here on campus in Steubenville, Ohio.

Dr. Helen Alvaré — Religious Freedom

Dr. Helen Alvaré, professor of law at George Mason School of Law, addresses Religious Freedom after delivering the annual Henkels Lecture at Franciscan University of Steubenville, as part of the Distinguished Speakers Series. Her talk, “Religious Freedom and Sexual Liberationism,” looked at how secular society’s interpretation of birth control, co-habitation, and abortion as the new norms has generated an incredible mistrust among the sexes.

Richard Doerflinger — The ‘Catch-22’ of the Contraceptive Mandate

Richard Doerflinger, associate director of Pro-Life Activities for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, came to Franciscan University to speak on “Freedom for me but not for Thee: How ‘Reproductive Rights’ is Threatening Freedom of Religion,” on October 24, 2012. In this excerpt he speaks on the “catch-22” nature of the HHS mandate. Doerflinger’s talk was sponsored by the Institute of Bioethics.

Richard Doerflinger — The Sweeping Consequences of the Contraceptive Mandate

Richard Doerflinger, associate director of Pro-Life Activities for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, came to Franciscan University to speak on “Freedom for me but not for Thee: How ‘Reproductive Rights’ is Threatening Freedom of Religion,” on October 24, 2012. This excerpt is on the sweeping consequences of the HHS contraceptives mandate. Doerflinger’s talk was sponsored by the Institute of Bioethics.

Richard Doerflinger — Freedom for Me, but not for Thee

Richard Doerflinger, associate director of Pro-Life Activities for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, came to Franciscan University to speak on “Freedom for me but not for Thee: How ‘Reproductive Rights’ is Threatening Freedom of Religion,” on October 24, 2012. Doerflinger’s talk was sponsored by the Institute of Bioethics.

Dr. Janet Smith — On Religious Freedom and the HHS Mandate

In Addition to speaking at our Defending the Faith conference this past summer, Dr. Janet Smith, chair of life ethics and professor of moral theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, had a moment to sit down with us here at Franciscan University and reflect on Religious Freedom and the HHS Mandate.

A Call for Witnesses

Father Terence Henry, TOR, president of Franciscan University, speaks on the obligations of Christians to be a witness of the faith to the world, including through active participation in political life. Father Henry delivered this homily at the closing Mass of this year’s Defending the Faith Conference.

August 2012: “In Defense of Life, Love, and Freedom” – Dr. Helen Alvaré

August 2012 Show: “Human Rights vs. Religious Freedom?”

With special guest Dr. Helen Alvaré

Religious liberty is a cherished American right. Today, that right finds itself in direct conflict with some people’s definition of human rights, such as the so-called “rights” to reproductive freedom and same-sex unions. Join us as we discuss this issue with Dr. Helen Alvaré, professor of law at George Mason University School of Law and a consultor for the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

Download the free handout: Human Rights vs. Religious Freedom?

Dr. Helen Alvaré — In Defense of Life, Love, and Freedom

Religious liberty is a cherished American right. Today, that right finds itself in direct conflict with some people’s definition of human rights, such as the so-called “rights” to reproductive freedom and same-sex unions. Join us as we discuss this issue with Dr. Helen Alvaré, professor of law at George Mason University School of Law and a consultor for the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

HANDOUT: Get Dr. Alvaré’s handout for this episode.

The Health Care Decision and the Future Role of the Courts in Upholding Constitutional Principles

Neither Left nor Right but Catholic

     The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the health care law is probably a disappointment to many readers of this column. One of the things many people are scratching their head about—and some expressing something like a feeling of betrayal—is why Chief Justice Roberts joined the majority. Obviously, I cannot “get into Roberts’ mind” to answer that question. One writer speculated that Roberts made the decision he did to protect the integrity of the Court as a non-political institution. Perhaps, but with half or more of the American public against the law it does not seem as if the Court would have suffered much damage to its reputation if it had decided the other way.

Obamacare Overreaches on HHS Mandate

 A Catholic biologist weighs in on what is wrong about one aspect of the federal healthcare mandate.

It’s an understatement to say that the Obama administration’s announcement that it will require all health-care plans to include free coverage for contraceptives, abortion-inducing drugs (abortifacients) and sterilizations did not go over as smoothly as planned.

While the new rule is similar to provisions already in place in 28 states, the administration distinguished itself by failing to include an adequate religious exemption.

As a result, Catholic charities, colleges and hospitals will be required to provide services that violate their religious beliefs.

The lack of a real religious exemption triggered a wave of backlash that appeared to catch the administration by surprise.

Opposition from many religious circles was to be expected, but the fact that publications such as USA Today and The Washington Post came out in opposition to the lack of a religious exemption could not have been anticipated.

Caught in a firestorm of controversy, the Obama administration tried to wordsmith its way out of the mess.

Read more at NCRegister.com.

Franciscan, Ave Maria, and Obamacare

Two Catholic universities’ decisions to drop student health-care plans show Obamacare’s long-term goal: Force Americans to choose government-subsidized plans over no insurance at all.

Two Catholic universities, Franciscan University of Steubenville and Ave Maria University, recently announced that they will drop their student health-care plans for the coming year. The schools also announced that they will no longer require students to have health insurance.

Given the giant range of institutions and people affected by Obamacare and its mandates, the impact of this decision by two universities, each with less than 3,000 students, may seem small. But it is not the scope of impact that matters so much as the broader problem the decision highlights. Two federal regulations that pushed Franciscan and Ave Maria to drop student health-care plans indicate quite clearly what will happen if Obamacare is allowed to stand: More Americans will become uninsured unless they transition into government-subsidized healthcare plans.

Read more at The Public Discourse.

Marriage and Procreation: The Intrinsic Connection

There is an intrinsic link between marriage and procreation, but this does not mean that infertile couples cannot really be married.

By Dr. Patrick Lee, the John N. and Jamie D. McAleer Professor of Bioethics and Director of the Institute of Bioethics at Franciscan University of Steubenville;
Dr. Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University; and
Dr. Gerard V. Bradley, Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame Law School.

Activists seeking to redefine marriage typically claim that it is unfair—even arbitrary—for law and public policy to continue to honor the historic understanding of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife. Believing that marriage has a degree of malleability that our legal tradition has heretofore failed to recognize, they maintain that “excluding” same-sex partners from marriage violates a moral right possessed by every individual to marry a person of one’s choice (with that person’s consent). Defenders of conjugal marriage reply (in part) that marriage is not malleable in the ways that their opponents suppose.

Read article at The Public Discourse.

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