Yesterday was the National Day of Prayer and the White House, nominally headed by “devout Catholic” President Joe Biden, celebrated by going after an Oklahoma Catholic hospital system for being too Catholic.
Biden’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is threatening to pull the accreditations of Saint Francis Health System, which includes the largest hospital in Oklahoma and the 12th largest in the United States.
The issue has nothing to do with their refusal to perform elective abortions or “gender-affirming” care, or even the standard of care they are providing to patients. It’s centered instead on a candle.
HHS told Saint Francis that if it doesn’t snuff out the flame on its eternal candle in each of hospital’s chapel sanctuaries, it’ll pull their Medicare, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) accreditations.
That will force then to stop serving the elderly, disabled, and low-income patients.
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty has agreed to take up the case, and on Tuesday Lori Windham, its vice president and senior counsel, drafted a 13-page letter to administration officials threatening to file a lawsuit.
“In twenty-five days, you will cripple the operations of the premiere hospitals in the State of Oklahoma, simply because they keep a candle in hospital chapels,” she wrote. “You have threatened to deny accreditation because Saint Francis keeps a candle— an eternal flame—in its hospital sanctuary.”
Windham continued, “In requiring Saint Francis to extinguish its flame, you are trying to extinguish not just a candle, but the First Amendment rights of Saint Francis Health System, as well as vital healthcare for the elderly, poor, and disabled in Oklahoma.”
She explained that the Saint Francis Hospital System consists of two facilities: one in Tulsa where the flame has burned continuously for 15 years; and the second in Yale, where it’s burned for 63 years.
In a separate press release dated Wednesday, The Becket Fund said that at stake are the livelihoods of more than 11,000 Oklahomans who work for the system, plus the nearly 400,000 patients they care for each year.
The Saint Francis Hospital System “has given away more than $650 million dollars in free medical care in the past five years,” the press release said.
Windham described the significance of the eternal flames in a twitter thread, and explained that they “are shielded by glass holders and a brass top” and are kept separate from the medical facility itself.
“The living flame is an indispensable sign of the living presence of Jesus,” she said.
“The government has a simple choice,” Windham concluded: “stop this attack on Saint Francis’ faith or expect a legal firestorm.”
Despite claims of being a “devout Catholic,” Biden and his administration have shown little other than hostility toward the religious rights of Americans.
Examples include its promotion for bans on religious services during the COVID pandemic, its reluctance to accept religious exemptions from vaccine mandates, its prosecution of pro-lifers, and his support for abortion on demand at any point in the pregnancy.
The single best traffic cop preventing total administration control has been the federal court system, which ended mandates, permitted religious exemptions and even struck down Roe v. Wade after nearly 50 years, making abortion strictly a state issue.
Some of those decisions were based on religious freedom, as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution.
The Pilgrims set sail on the Mayflower in search of religious freedom, and nearly two hundred years later John Adams wrote in a letter to Benjamin Rush in 1812, "Nothing is more dreaded than the national government meddling with religion.”
And another 200 years later, we need to remind Biden to stop meddling.
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to Newsmax. He is also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter. Read Michael Dorstewitz's Reports — More Here.
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