Faith-based providers do not seek to turn people away; they seek, instead, the freedom to fulfill their caring mission consistently with their character. (photo: Mr. Nikon / Shutterstock)
COMMENTARY: Religious hospitals serve the public, and promote the public good, but they should not be expected to sacrifice or compromise their character, their mission, or their foundation.
By Richard W. Garnett, EWTN News,
Richard W. Garnett is the Paul J. Schierl/Fort Howard Corporation Professor of Law and director of the Program on Church, State & Society at the University of Notre Dame.
This is the latest in a series of articles from the Religious Freedom Institute.
Hospitals, as we know them today, began as religious ministries. And, in many cases, they still are.
Faith-based hospitals are more than garden-variety nonprofits; they are more than players in the “health care industry.” They are institutions animated by a deep sense of mission and inspired by the call to love and care for our neighbors.
It is true that religiously affiliated hospitals — like schools and colleges, adoption and refugee resettlement agencies, food banks and homeless shelters — do many things that governments now also do. But they did them first, and often do them better.
As the Gospel of Matthew puts it, they clothe the naked, heal the sick, and visit the imprisoned. They have been doing so for centuries — not because of policy, but because of faith. …