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TULSA, Oklahoma (LifeSiteNews) — A Catholic hospital system has emerged victorious after the Biden administration attempted to force it to snuff out a sanctuary candle or forfeit federal funding. 

Earlier today, vice president and senior counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty Lori Windham announced that “the government has seen the light and has abandoned its attempt to force an Oklahoma hospital to blow out a small candle or stop serving elderly, disabled, and low-income patients.” 

“The government knew it was playing with fire—today it announced its decision to allow the living flame so Saint Francis can continue to serve God and its community, as it always has.” 

As previously reported by LifeSiteNews, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) ordered Saint Francis Health System to extinguish two sanctuary candles at two of the group’s hospitals in February, threatening to revoke accreditation and federal funding. In response to a letter sent to the CMS and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) by the Becket law firm, the HHS informed the religious organization that it could continue its work without abandoning its religious practice, which also follows safety protocols. 

“At the heart of Saint Francis’ mission is love for God and man,” the system’s chief executive officer, Dr. Cliff Robertson, said in a statement. “The living flame of our chapel candle indicates to all who enter our hospitals that we will serve them with religious devotion as Christ commands us.” 

“We are grateful for the support of Becket and Yetter Coleman, of the Oklahoma Delegation, and of countless persons all throughout the nation, and we are grateful for The Joint Commission and HHS’s recognition of our religious liberties.” 


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