PLYMOUTH, N.H. -- Plymouth is a small college town of just under 5,000 souls. It is located near the geographic center of the state, where the New England Uplands give way to the White Mountains. Main Street hosts some of the old buildings of Plymouth State University, a white clapboard church, and a variety of storefronts. On the August morning when I drove into town, it was anything but sleepy, filled with people buying coffee and reading their papers, 20-somethings loading a beer keg into the back of a pickup truck, hikers emerging from a sporting goods store with last-minute additions to their gear.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Diocese of Nashville and seven of the Catholic entities operating in middle Tennessee have filed suit in federal court to block implementation of a mandate by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services requiring them to cover services they find morally objectionable.
The mandate, which went into effect Aug. 1 as part of the health care reform law, requires all employers to provide coverage in their health care plans for contraceptives, including some that can cause abortions, and sterilizations. The mandate has a limited religious exemption that would protect only Catholic institutions that seek to inculcate Catholic values and primarily employ and serve Catholics.
Catholic Charities of Tennessee, Father Ryan High School, Pope John Paul II High School, Mary Queen of Angels assisted living facility, Villa Maria Manor and St. Mary Villa Child Development Center, along with Aquinas College, which is owned and operated by the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia Congregation, are all independently incorporated under Tennessee law.
Paul Ryan, Republican candidate for vice president, claims to be an orthodox Catholic whose thinking owes more to St. Thomas Aquinas than to Ayn Rand. But this story seems barely more credible than Dagny Taggart's 80-car freight train in Atlas Shrugged that thundered through mountainous terrain from Cheyenne, Wyo., to Wyatt Junction, Colo., at an average speed of 100 miles per hour.
In fact, many of Ryan's ideas and policies appear to be directly at odds with Catholic teaching.
ST. LOUIS -- The day after Social Service Sr. Simone Campbell of NETWORK gave an impassioned speech at the Democratic National Convention, members of the organization's Missouri arm took an equally heartfelt message to lawmakers and politicians across the state as a continuation of the Nuns on the Bus tour.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Buttons were available at the Democrats for Life of America forum Tuesday during the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.
"Do We Count?" the button asks. The forum was an effort by pro-life Democrats to examine the question: "Can you be pro-life in a pro-choice party?"
The answer to both questions was mixed.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Mere steps away from the site of the Sept. 3-6 Democratic National Convention, the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte has posted two larger-than-life messages about the sanctity of life, marriage and religious liberty.
The diocese has suspended two banners on property at St. Peter Catholic Church in Charlotte: one on St. Peter's administrative building and another on a large brick wall adjoining the church.
There aren't any white Protestants on the presidential ballot this year -- a first in American history.
Instead, the race features two Catholic candidates for vice president and a Mormon Republican and African-American mainline Protestant for president.
While much ink has been spent, computer time logged and pundit talk devoted to specifics in the budget proposed by Paul Ryan and embraced by Mitt Romney, we would like to take a step back and look at the broader implications of what the Ryan-Romney fiscal philosophy would do.
WASHINGTON -- A cluster of federal court rulings in the waning days of August overturned several state efforts that might have limited who gets to vote this November.
Each of those rulings was likely to be appealed, however, and laws or regulations in several other states related to voter identification and poll access remained alive in federal courts.
WASHINGTON -- In a dozen courts around the country, attorneys representing more than 40 Catholic dioceses or institutions have filed briefs arguing against the federal government's call to dismiss lawsuits against its contraceptive mandate.
The Catholic entities are seeking to overturn a requirement that most religious employers provide contraceptives and sterilization to their employees.
The simultaneous filings Monday were in response to an Aug. 6 brief in which the Obama administration asked the courts to summarily dismiss the suits, saying they were premature and that the plaintiffs had no standing to challenge the Department of Health and Human Services' mandate.
"This case is about important rights to religious freedom protected by our founders under the First Amendment, assured by Congress under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, but trampled by Defendants under haphazard rulemaking," says the 36-page brief filed on behalf of the University of Notre Dame.