So what has been going on, for the past couple of years, with the Sisters of the Poor and the federal health-care mandate requiring them, and many other religious institutions, to offer their employees health-insurance plans covering sterilizations and all FDA-approved contraceptives?
Journalists: Does anyone believe that these regulations require elderly nuns to go to a nearby drug counter, whip out the religious order's charge card, and purchase "morning-after pills"?
Is that what Attorney General Jeff Sessions meant when, in a recent speech on the rising tide of disputes about religious liberty, he said the following (which is typical of the language he has been using)?
"We’ve seen nuns ordered to pay for contraceptives. We’ve seen U.S. Senators ask judicial and executive branch nominees about their dogma -- a clear reference to their religious beliefs -- even though the Constitution explicitly forbids a religious test for public office."
What does he mean when he says the nuns have been ordered to "pay for" contraceptives, and lots of other things that violate the doctrines at the heart of their ministry?
So many questions! Was he talking about nuns using a charge card at the pharmacy? Or was Sessions discussing a requirement that they use ministry funds to offer a health-care plan that includes these benefits, requiring them to cooperate with acts that they believe are evil?
It's the latter, of course.
So what are readers to make of the language in the overture of this recent Religion News Service story (it does not carry an analysis or column label)?
(RNS) -- Standing beneath the cast aluminum statue of Lady Justice in the Department of Justice’s Great Hall, Attorney General Jeff Sessions made a bold statement last week: “Many Americans have felt that their freedom to practice their faith has been under attack.”
He spoke of Catholic nuns being forced to buy contraceptives. (Actually, the Affordable Care Act required the nuns to cover the costs of contraceptives in their employees’ health plans.)