From the State Journal-Register, with my emphases:
It seems as if the state is at war with the Catholic community, Springfield Bishop Thomas John Paprocki says.
“In many ways, it does certainly feel like our principles and our ways of acting within our religious beliefs are under attack,” Paprocki said in an interview.
The decision by the Department of Children and Family Services to sever its foster care and adoption services contracts with Catholic Charities is just one example, Paprocki said. He also cited an order by ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich requiring pharmacies and pharmacists to dispense emergency contraception. The order was struck down by a Sangamon County judge in April.
“We have concerns down the line about requirements mandating contraception in insurance plans and ultimately even requiring Catholic hospitals to perform abortion,” Paprocki said.
Following Circuit Judge John Schmidt’s ruling that Catholic Charities does not have a legal right to extension of its state contracts to oversee foster and adoptive children, Peoria Bishop Daniel Jenky said “important elements of the political establishment in the state of Illinois are now basically at war with the Catholic community.”
Asked last week if he agreed, Paprocki said, “It feels like it.
“We’re simply trying to continue to do the social services we’ve done for decades,” he said. “Suddenly, they are telling us we can’t do that anymore. We are concerned that this is not just an isolated case. We see a growing secularism in our society.”
Paprocki agreed that nobody has a right to a state contract. But that is only part of the argument, he said.
“The point is that, although nobody has a right to contract with the state, on the other hand, the state is not free to refuse to contract for basically illegal reasons,” Paprocki said.
Just as an employer can’t refuse a job to someone because of race, he said, the state can’t refuse to issue a contract to an organization because of the group’s religious beliefs.
“Our argument is the state has chosen an illegal reason not to contract with us,” Paprocki said. “It’s our religious practice not to place children with unmarried, co-habitating couples. This is not aimed at the homosexual community. We believe that people who are co-habitating without marriage are living in a sinful condition.”
Attorneys representing Catholic Charities in its lawsuit have said they are going to ask Schmidt to stay his ruling pending further legal action. They also said they will ask Schmidt to reconsider “whether the state can refuse to contract on the basis of exercise of religion.”