Religious Liberty  Press Release  Supreme Court

Supreme Court rules nuns do not have to ‘violate their religious beliefs’ to serve

‘These joyful nuns can now serve the poor without fear that Uncle Sam will try to be their Pope,’ Russell Moore said

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 8, 2020—Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, commended today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the case Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania

In response to the Court’s ruling, Moore said: 

“This victory for the Little Sisters of the Poor is a win for all Americans. Today the Supreme Court held, once again, that the government cannot force a group of nuns to provide contraceptives that violate their religious beliefs. The Little Sisters never wanted to be in court, and are not in any way political activists. All they want is to carry out their mission of serving the poorest and most vulnerable among us. One need not agree with the Sisters on their theological or moral beliefs to recognize that a free country should allow them to serve without state harassment. This is especially true since it was demonstrated, again and again, that the government’s policy of contraceptive availability, could be achieved by other means.

“This Supreme Court decision upholds one of the most important principles of the American experiment in liberty: that the state does not own the consciences of human beings. After years and years in court on this case, I am grateful to see, at long last, a just resolution. My hope is that now we can move on toward an American public square in which we can have moral and doctrinal debates without seeking to force people into choosing between their deepest held convictions and the callings of service to which those convictions lead. These joyful nuns can now serve the poor without fear that Uncle Sam will try to be their Pope. For all Americans, whatever our views, this is good news.”

The 7-2 ruling written by Justice Clarence Thomas upheld two rules issued by the Department of Health and Human Services that provided exemptions to the contraceptive mandate on religious and moral grounds. These rules provided the exemption long sought by the Little Sisters of the Poor, Guidestone Financial Resources and other organizations.

The ERLC joined an amicus brief with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and Samaritan’s Purse in November 2019.

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