Kathryn Jean Lopez of National Review Online recently talked to Sister Constance Veit, L.S.P., communications director for the Little Sisters of the Poor, about the lawsuit and religious freedom:
LOPEZ: Does this state of affairs in the U.S. surprise you?
SISTER CONSTANCE: On the one hand, we have seen a gradual secularization of American society and were aware of numerous recent threats to religious liberty (such as the Hosanna-Tabor case) prior to the HHS mandate, so this should not be surprising.
On the other hand, our nation was founded by those who came here seeking religious liberty, and we Little Sisters have pursued our mission in the United States for 145 years without ever facing religious discrimination, so we do find the current situation disconcerting.
When the Little Sisters of the Poor settled in Washington, D.C., in 1871 they received unprecedented attention and support from the federal government. On at least two occasions, Congress passed legislation to provide the Little Sisters with grants to enable them to expand their work on behalf of Washington’s elderly poor, especially recently emancipated slaves. It is sad to think that Washington is now putting up obstacles to our mission and the work of other religious groups on behalf of the poor.