A religious broadcaster took one on the chin Thursday when federal judges ruled that government-mandated contraception and other health requirements pose little burden on religious beliefs.
“We are extremely disappointed that the Court has refused to protect our religious freedom,” Michael Warsaw, chairman and CEO of Alabama-based EWTN Global Catholic Network, said in an online statement. “The decision by the Court of Appeals ignores the arguments that EWTN and numerous plaintiffs around the country have made with regard to this mandate.”
The 2-1 ruling by the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta, he added, compels the network to violate its religious convictions to comply with federal mandates that employer-sponsored health care plans provide contraception, abortion inducing drugs and sterilizations.
“We accept the plaintiffs’ sincere belief … that the accommodation puts them to a choice between honoring their religious beliefs and facing significant penalties,” AL.com reported. “We nonetheless conclude that the accommodation imposes no substantial burden.”
EWTN’s lead attorney disagreed.
“This is wrong,” Lori Windham, senior counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, said in a statement posted on the EWTN website. “Rather than provide these drugs and devices through its own exchanges, our government wants to punish EWTN for practicing its faith.”
Windham vowed more legal action.
“The government’s unconstitutional mandate has lost repeatedly at the Supreme Court, and we believe it will lose again.”