WORLD Magazine has a cover story on how the case of a small Benedictine college—and federal attempts to pressure it to pay for employees’ contraception—could foretell the loss of religious freedom after Congress overhauls healthcare:
For the 18 Benedictine monks living in a 142-year-old monastery in the tiny town of Belmont, N.C., life is intentionally simple: They rise early for prayer in a Gothic-style Basilica with wooden pews and hand-painted windows; they take care of the two-story monastery built with hand-hewn bricks; and they vow fidelity to Roman Catholic doctrine and teaching.
These days, that simplicity has grown complicated by a thorny combination: healthcare and the federal government.
The trouble stems from a conflict brewing at Belmont Abbey College, the 1,600-student, Catholic college connected to the monastery. Earlier this year, eight Belmont Abbey faculty members filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) over a school policy rooted in Catholic doctrine: The college refuses to include birth control in its healthcare coverage for employees, citing Catholic teaching against contraceptives. The school also refuses to cover abortion or sterilization.