On Thursday December 19 U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan took a sledge hammer to the Constitution and ruled that the government has the authority to force you and every other American to violate your conscience and act in ways that go directly against your religious beliefs.
In other words, he said your First Amendment right to freedom of religion is subject to the government’s approval. He did so when he ruled against Priests for Life in our lawsuit against the HHS abortion mandate of ObamaCare. This is a sad day for all Americans. But the fight has only just begun.
Which is why I’m counting on you to CLICK HERE, make a contribution to Priests for Life’s Legal Fund, and take a stand for religious liberty! Your help is critically needed because, even as you read this, our attorneys are burning the midnight oil preparing the brief that they will file with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia tomorrow.
Our case is only the second one to be decided on the merits of the so-called "accommodation" that has been offered to groups like ours, which are religious but are not Churches. And it will be the first of its kind to go to the Appellate level. Here is the notice Robert Muise, Co-Founder of The American Freedom Law Center and Senior Counsel in the Priests for Life lawsuit, sent me when the court notified him of Judge Sullivan’s ruling:
Father Pavone, Bad news. The judge just ruled against us. Attached is the order and the opinion. We just filed our notice of appeal. I called and spoke with the emergency motion’s clerk at the Appellate Court. I will be filing our emergency motion for an injunction pending appeal (and having it hand delivered) by 4 pm (at the latest) tomorrow (hopefully sooner—David and I will be working through the night). They know we need a decision by December 31. The appeal is docketed . . . . Fight continues . . . .
In the short-term, we’re asking the Appeals Court to issue an injunction that will keep Priests for Life protected from the mandate (as we are right now) until our appeal to the same court can be heard and decided. In the long-term, our attorneys will ask the Appeals Court to overturn Judge Sullivan’s ruling. I remain confident of victory because it was just this past November that this same court overruled another ruling by the same judge on the HHS mandate of ObamaCare. That case was Gilardi v. U.S. Dep’t of Health and Human Services.Of course there’s no guarantee we’ll win at the Appellate level. But as you can see, we have some history on our side. Plus, Judge Sullivan’s decision is a complete contradiction to the one Judge Brian Cogan issued just a few days ago in New York for organizations situated similarly to us and using the exact same arguments. Judge Cogan recognized that these religious groups were being forced to cooperate with evil. Incredibly, operating in some mythical world, Judge Sullivan said we’re not being forced to cooperate with evil. In other words, he's allowing the government to decide what is and is not an evil act according to our Faith. His decision is wrong and we are confident of victory in our appeal.
Meanwhile, injunction or not, as I’ve told you in prior communications: We will absolutely NOT obey, cooperate with, or tolerate in any way ObamaCare’s unjust abortion mandate. As Scripture says, we will obey God rather than men. As for our appeal itself, we’re going to need your financial help big time because, while our funds are extremely limited, the government has the entire U.S. treasury to pull from. And no matter how the Appeals Court rules, one way or another, our lawsuit seems headed to the Supreme Court. So this is going to be a long, drawn out court battle. In the meantime, we’ve got to raise a lot of money before the end of the year in order to keep our lawsuit moving through the Appeals process ... and on to the Supreme Court. So please ...
CLICK HERE and make as large a contribution to our Priests for Life Legal Fund as you can. Nothing less than freedom of religion is at stake. And time is quickly running out on us if we are to preserve what our Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, rightly called our “most cherished of American freedoms,” namely, freedom of religion. What the Obama administration is trying to do through the HHS mandate – an attempt now sanctioned by Judge Sullivan – is give the federal government the power to determine what is and what isn’t an action that violates our conscience. That’s not how our Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution.
In fact, what the President wants to do flies in the face of the freedoms our Constitution guarantees all Americans. When it comes to practicing our religion, Priests for Life dictates to the government what our beliefs are and how we are required to act. Not the other way around. Please help us make that point in court!
CLICK HERE and make as large a contribution as you can to our Legal Fund so that, working together, we will preserve every Americans right to freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Thank you for doing this. I’ll keep you posted on developments in our appeal as they occur. In the meantime, keep our lawsuit, our attorneys, and the Court of Appeals judges who will hear our case in your prayers. God bless.
Sincerely yours in Christ, Fr. Frank Pavone National Director, Priests for Life NOTE: If you prefer to send a check, please make it out to Priests for Life and send it to us at PO Box 141172, Staten Island, NY 10314. If you have any questions, call us toll-free at 888-735-3448.