In the ongoing battle between religious freedom and the push for progressive policies, the war against people of faith has found a new battleground in the realm of health care. Attacks on religious health care groups have become increasingly frequent, raising concerns about the erosion of religious liberties and the right to provide and access life-affirming care.
The Biden administration and the far Left have been at the forefront of these assaults, making it increasingly difficult for religious organizations to fulfill their mission.
One recent incident exemplifying this trend involves the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under President Biden’s leadership. The HHS threatened to strip St. Francis Health System, one of the largest Catholic hospital systems in the United States located in Oklahoma, of its federal funding. The reason behind this threat was St. Francis’ refusal to extinguish a sanctuary candle in its hospital chapel.
The sanctuary candle holds significant religious symbolism for Catholics and is an integral part of their faith. By demanding its removal, the HHS effectively targeted St. Francis for practicing its religious beliefs within its own institution. This move highlights a disturbing trend of encroachment on religious freedom and the imposition of secular values on religious organizations.
Religious health care groups, such as St. Francis Health System, have long played a vital role in providing compassionate care to their communities while adhering to their religious principles. These organizations often serve vulnerable populations and prioritize the sanctity of life. However, the attacks they face from the Biden administration and the far Left undermine their ability to continue their crucial work.
Recently, the issue arose when the federal government raised concerns about the presence of a sanctuary candle at St. Francis Health System, citing it as a potential “safety threat.” It’s worth noting that local fire marshals and government officials had previously approved the use of this candle. However, the Biden administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) threatened to impose severe measures that could effectively shut down the entire St. Francis Health System. This action, if implemented, would have a significant impact as the institution employs approximately 11,000 individuals and provides care for over 400,000 patients in Oklahoma.
Recent actions taken by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) during the Biden administration have raised concerns among faith-based providers and workers in the healthcare field. Some individuals feel that these policies are disproportionately targeting and marginalizing people of faith.
One area of contention is the introduction of new rules and regulations that limit religious and conscience exemptions in healthcare. This has resulted in situations where doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals with conscientious objections are being required to perform procedures such as abortions, gender transition surgeries, and other forms of “gender affirming care.” Critics argue that this not only infringes on religious freedom but also disregards the ethical concerns of medical professionals, particularly when it comes to treating vulnerable populations like children.
Additionally, the HHS has faced criticism for its handling of the case involving the Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of Catholic nuns dedicated to providing care for the elderly poor. The HHS’s insistence on the inclusion of abortifacients in the nuns’ health insurance plan, contrary to their religious beliefs, led to a protracted legal battle that diverted the resources of the nuns away from their primary mission. This situation has been viewed by some as an example of the government placing burdens on religious organizations, thereby impeding their ability to serve the community.
This assault on religious health care groups is not an isolated incident but part of a broader pattern. The Biden administration has shown a consistent disregard for the rights of faith-based organizations. It has sought to repeal conscience protections for health care providers who object to participating in procedures that violate their deeply held religious or moral beliefs. Such actions directly target individuals and organizations who prioritize the sanctity of life, placing them at odds with the progressive agenda.