July 8, 2020 // Bishop

Bishop Rhoades makes statement on several recent Supreme Court decisions


There have been a number of Supreme Court decisions these past several weeks on matters of importance to the Church regarding life, justice, and religious liberty.

Sadly, the grave injustice of Roe v. Wade denying the fundamental right to life of the unborn continues with legalized abortion. The June 29th Supreme Court decision striking down the Louisiana law requiring abortion doctors to have hospital admitting privileges was very disappointing. We must continue to pray and work for an end to the evil of abortion.

It was also deeply disappointing that the Supreme Court effectively redefined the legal meaning of “sex” in our nation’s civil rights law by including “sexual orientation” and “transgender” status in the category of “sex” within the prohibition on employment discrimination. As Archbishop Gomez, the president of the USCCB noted: “Protecting our neighbors from unjust discrimination does not require redefining human nature.”

On the positive side, the Supreme Court dealt a blow to the unjust and mostly anti-Catholic Blaine Amendments in many states’ constitutions dating back to the late 19th century. The Montana Supreme Court invalidated a tax credit scholarship program because families benefiting included those who chose to send their children to religiously-affiliated schools. Thankfully, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states cannot discriminate against religious persons and institutions in this way. We must continue to pray and work that the legacy of Blaine Amendments in many states, including our own, will end.

Another positive development is today’s decision of the Supreme Court defending and upholding the right of Catholic schools, free of government interference, to choose teachers who will teach and model the Catholic faith. This is a victory for religious liberty and the free exercise of our religion (First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution). Our Catholic schools carry out a ministry of the Church and we have an important right to decide who will teach and serve in our schools in fidelity to our Catholic mission.

Today there was also good news regarding religious liberty in the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of the Little Sisters of the Poor. The Church has vigorously fought government attempts to force our Catholic institutions to cooperate with immoral activities specifically through the “contraceptive mandate” of the Affordable Care Act. We must be free to operate our schools, health care facilities, and other institutions in accordance with the truths of our faith.

Finally, several weeks ago, the Supreme Court issued an opinion preventing the Administration from terminating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This reprieve for nearly 800,000 young people, including a number of wonderful young adults in our diocese, is encouraging, however, we still need legislation from Congress that will provide a path to citizenship for Dreamers.

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