EWTN chief criticises court

EWTN chief criticises court EWTN

The head of Catholic media group Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) has accused an appeal court of refusing to protect religious freedoms.

Speaking after a 2-1 decision by the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta to uphold the federal health care law’s Health and Human Services mandate EWTN chairman and CEO Michael P. Warsaw said the court had “in effect” ordered the Catholic network “to violate its religious beliefs” or “pay massive fines to the IRS”.

The court’s decision ruled on two cases, one filed by EWTN and the other by Catholic Education of North Georgia Inc. and Georgia’s Atlanta archdiocese and Savannah diocese. The majority opinion rejected the Catholic organisations’ line that complying with a requirement it opposes on moral grounds violates its freedom of religion, and rejected the idea that a proposed “work-around” would be unduly burdensome.

The mandate should, however, not be enforced until the US Supreme Court rules on the issue, the court decided. The highest US court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the case of Zubik v. Burwell on March 23.