A U.S. civil liberties group sued the federal government Monday, charging it violated the Constitution by contracting a Roman Catholic entity to help victims of human trafficking.
The American Civil Liberties Union said the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was imposing its beliefs on victims of human trafficking by not allowing federal grant money to be used for contraception or abortion.
When the bishops applied for the contracts, they said they would not work with subcontractors who provided abortion services or contraceptives, such as condoms, which conflict with Catholic teachings, according to the ACLU. . .
The suit asks the court to stop the department from allowing its grants being spent in a way that is restricted by religious beliefs.
(Via the Corner.)
I see two ways to read the ACLU’s position: The first is that not only is abortion constitutionally protected, but it is actually unconstitutional for an organization to withhold funding for abortions. That would be amazingly radical, but the other is even more so. The second reading is that it might be okay to withhold funding for abortion, provided you can provide a secular basis for doing so, but you cannot do so for religious reasons. In essence, if you do business with the government, you cannot permit your religion to affect ethical decisions. Alas, the most natural reading of the suit is the second.
Were the ACLU to prevail, it would create a bizarre situation wherein Catholics would be prohibited from doing the exact same thing as non-Catholics, simply because they are Catholic. How a supposed civil rights organization could support such a clear violation of freedom of religion is beyond me.
Oh, it also gives a window into the ACLU’s priorities. Stopping human trafficking is less important than keeping Catholics out of the public square.
UPDATE: Changed the post title, which may have been unduly harsh.