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Catholic college says contraceptive mandate makes it 'second-class' religious entity

Belmont Abbey College filed a new lawsuit Nov. 20 in its long-running fight against a federal law requiring most employers to provide free contraceptives in their health insurance plans.

In the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the college calls the contraceptive mandate "constitutionally flawed," "arbitrary and capricious," and says it "discriminates against religious organizations because of their religious commitment to promoting the sanctity of life."

'The hungry need to be heard,' Georgia bishops tell Congress

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Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory and Savannah Bishop Gregory Hartmayer called on lawmakers in Washington to listen to the needs of the hungry at home and abroad as they negotiate the 2013 farm bill.

"At stake in this political wrangling are programs that help the hungry here at home and abroad," the two prelates said in an op-ed published Nov. 13 in the Savannah Morning News daily newspaper.

Honolulu bishop calls same-sex marriage a 'manufactured civil right'

Following a special session of the Hawaii Legislature that for two weeks turned the state Capitol into high-spirited exhibition of populous democracy, Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Wednesday signed the bill causing all the commotion and made Hawaii the 15th state to legalize same-sex marriage.

Honolulu Bishop Larry Silva, who had vigorously opposed the legislation, called same-sex marriage a "manufactured civil right" that is "symptomatic of a profound misunderstanding of the purpose of human sexuality."

Something - or something less - for everyone in new farm bill?

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The farm bill, already one year late, could be even later if the House-Senate conference committee working on the compromise version takes its sweet time.

According to Bob Gronski, a policy analyst with the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, the lawmakers are taking the bill one "title" at a time until the conference committee is satisfied with the result.

The most contentious issue is likely to be the nutrition title, which includes the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, once known as food stamps.

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July 4-17, 2014

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