Judie Brown: Support Belmont Abbey College President Bill Thierfelder

I previously reported on the firestorm at Belmont Abbey College which the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled Belmont Abbey College must include coverage for contraception (which often function as abortifacients) in its employee health insurance plan.

Judie Brown weighs in on this controversy in her blog post COLLISION OF CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS. Here is an excerpt:

The news reports are quite clear on exactly what happened at Belmont Abbey, a Catholic college in South Carolina. The college has been warned by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that if the administration doesn’t stop discriminating against female employees by denying contraceptive benefits in the college’s health coverage plan, the EEOC will take them to court!

“Contraception, abortion and voluntary sterilization came off Belmont Abbey College’s faculty health care policy in December 2007 after a faculty member discovered that coverage, according to an e-mail Belmont Abbey College President Bill Thierfelder sent to school staff, students, alumni and friends of the college,” reported the August 5 Gaston Gazette.

In a subsequent exclusive interview with Thierfelder, LifeSiteNews.com reported that "officials at the Charlotte division of the EEOC told him that a decision to close a discrimination complaint against the school for failing to offer contraception coverage was reversed after the matter went to the nation's capital.”

Sound like a strong-arm tactic? Well, read on!

"From a religious freedom standpoint, you don't have religious freedom," he said. Thierfelder stressed, however, that the college has "gotten a lot of support from people who are not Catholic, and who may not share our beliefs on abortion, sterilization, contraception…they see the principle and what they're saying is, 'Belmont Abbey College is not trying to tell anybody what they have to do, it's just saying what Belmont Abbey College will do.' And I think that's an important distinction."

"To try to make us change [our beliefs], there's something very wrong with that," he continued. "And I think that's why this has garnered so much attention, and especially with the health care debates that are going on right now, and with all the things that are going on with Catholic hospitals ... what they are basically saying is, if you're Catholic, or if you are of any faith, it doesn't mean anything. You're going to do what the government tells you to do."

Thierfelder acknowledged that the fight could go to the courts, and emphasized that BAC officials were united in maintaining fidelity to Catholic Church teaching against pressure from the government.

"All of us need to have moral courage in today's world," he said. "We are so resolute in our commitment to the teachings of the Catholic Church that there is no possible way we would ever deviate from it, and if it came down to it ... we would close the school rather than give in.

"So it is absolutely, unequivocally impossible for us to go against the teachings of the Catholic Church in any way. There is no form of compromise that is possible."

American Life League applauds BAC’s courageous defense of Catholic moral teaching and proper Catholic medical ethics. We also understand what is at stake if the Obama administration presses forward with this overt act of intimidation.

It is obvious to us, when one considers O’Neill’s version of the Constitution versus that of Catholic/Christian pharmacists, health care workers and BAC administration officials, that something is incredibly askew. While it may be that the Constitution of the United States has a very large number of interpretations depending on whose ox is being gored, the Constitution is not an elastic document.

Obama has said he will respect health care workers’ rights of conscience. But look at what is happening at BAC under his administration!

Obama has also said that his health care reform proposals would not force anyone into a particular situation. But look at what is being attempted here.

NOW’s O’Neill may, in a very perverted sense, have hit the nail on the head, even though a careful reading of the Constitution would deny that this is so.

For those who need a refresher course, the First Amendment of the Constitution reads as follows:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Taken at face value, this amendment should protect not only the policies in force at BAC with regard to the removal of contraceptive coverage from the employee health insurance policy, but it should also protect the rights of those who are opposed to government policies that violate their religious beliefs or otherwise impose untenable requirements on their right of conscience.

As law professor Lynn D. Wardle pointed out in congressional testimony a few years ago, “Protection for rights of conscience underlie and historically preceded the First Amendment. In June, 1776, even before the Declaration of Independence, the Virginia Declaration of Rights provided, inter alia, that "all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience."


The Constitution does, in clear and undeniably concise language, protect freedoms that you and I and millions of Americans hold dear and, until recently, took for granted. No longer!

This is indeed a grave situation. Clearly the politics of constitutional rights have turned the founding document of this republic on its ear. What was once wrong is now a right, and what was always legitimately part of our national heritage is now under siege.

Such contradiction forces me to make but one assumption: If you don’t play ball with the Obama administration, there could be a price to pay, especially if you are a Catholic entity with every desire to serve Christ and His Church first and foremost.

Please write or call Belmont Abbey College President Bill Thierfelder and express your support for his courageous position:

William Thierfelder, President
Belmont Abbey College
100 Belmont-Mt. Holly Rd
Belmont, NC 28012
Call toll-free: (888) 222-0110

Please write or call the EEOC and express your concern over the bully tactics being used to intimidate BAC:

Stuart Ishimaru,
Chairman, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
131 M Street, NE
Washington, DC 20507
Phone: (202) 663-4900
TTY: (202) 663-4494


  1. It's so amazing to me that anyone could seriously consider the accusation that this policy is discrimination against women. Huh? Makes no sense.
    Lord have mercy.


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