Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Religious liberty in New York ...

A Christianity Today article on court battles over funding contraception. New York seems to be going the way of California on this. (Via Bill Cork)

A New York law passed in 2002 requires employers' insurance plans to cover prescription contraceptives. "Religious employers" are exempt—but it's the law's definition of a religious employer that's the trouble. The only groups that qualify under the "Women's Health and Wellness Act" are those where "(1) the inculcation of religious values is the purpose of the entity; (2) the entity primarily employs persons who share the religious tenets of the entity; (3) the entity serves primarily persons who share the religious tenets of the entity."

In other words, if you're a church, you're fine. If you're a parachurch ministry, you almost certainly don't qualify. It's not terribly surprising, then, that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany (qualifies), which runs Catholic Charities (doesn't qualify), fought the law and sued over it when it was implemented. Perhaps more surprising is that the Catholics were joined by Baptist churches that don't oppose artificial contraception. They're concerned that the law lays the groundwork for requiring religious organizations to pay for abortion.

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