Skip to comments.Bishops Renew Call To Legislative Action On Religious Liberty
Posted on 02/10/2012 5:30:23 PM PST by Rutles4Ever
February 10, 2012
WASHINGTON The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) have issued the following statement:
The Catholic bishops have long supported access to life-affirming healthcare for all, and the conscience rights of everyone involved in the complex process of providing that healthcare. That is why we raised two serious objections to the "preventive services" regulation issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in August 2011.
First, we objected to the rule forcing private health plans nationwide, by the stroke of a bureaucrat's pento cover sterilization and contraception, including drugs that may cause abortion. All the other mandated "preventive services" prevent disease, and pregnancy is not a disease. Moreover, forcing plans to cover abortifacients violates existing federal conscience laws. Therefore, we called for the rescission of the mandate altogether.
Second, we explained that the mandate would impose a burden of unprecedented reach and severity on the consciences of those who consider such "services" immoral: insurers forced to write policies including this coverage; employers and schools forced to sponsor and subsidize the coverage; and individual employees and students forced to pay premiums for the coverage. We therefore urged HHS, if it insisted on keeping the mandate, to provide a conscience exemption for all of these stakeholdersnot just the extremely small subset of "religious employers" that HHS proposed to exempt initially.
Today, the President has done two things.
First, he has decided to retain HHS's nationwide mandate of insurance coverage of sterilization and contraception, including some abortifacients. This is both unsupported in the law and remains a grave moral concern. We cannot fail to reiterate this, even as so many would focus exclusively on the question of religious liberty.
Second, the President has announced some changes in how that mandate will be administered, which is still unclear in its details. As far as we can tell at this point, the change appears to have the following basic contours:
·It would still mandate that all insurers must include coverage for the objectionable services in all the policies they would write. At this point, it would appear that self-insuring religious employers, and religious insurance companies, are not exempt from this mandate.
·It would allow non-profit, religious employers to declare that they do not offer such coverage. But the employee and insurer may separately agree to add that coverage. The employee would not have to pay any additional amount to obtain this coverage, and the coverage would be provided as a part of the employer's policy, not as a separate rider.
·Finally, we are told that the one-year extension on the effective date (from August 1, 2012 to August 1, 2013) is available to any non-profit religious employer who desires it, without any government application or approval process.
These changes require careful moral analysis, and moreover, appear subject to some measure of change. But we note at the outset that the lack of clear protection for key stakeholdersfor self-insured religious employers; for religious and secular for-profit employers; for secular non-profit employers; for religious insurers; and for individualsis unacceptable and must be corrected. And in the case where the employee and insurer agree to add the objectionable coverage, that coverage is still provided as a part of the objecting employer's plan, financed in the same way as the rest of the coverage offered by the objecting employer. This, too, raises serious moral concerns.
We just received information about this proposal for the first time this morning; we were not consulted in advance. Some information we have is in writing and some is oral. We will, of course, continue to press for the greatest conscience protection we can secure from the Executive Branch. But stepping away from the particulars, we note that today's proposal continues to involve needless government intrusion in the internal governance of religious institutions, and to threaten government coercion of religious people and groups to violate their most deeply held convictions. In a nation dedicated to religious liberty as its first and founding principle, we should not be limited to negotiating within these parameters. The only complete solution to this religious liberty problem is for HHS to rescind the mandate of these objectionable services.
We will therefore continuewith no less vigor, no less sense of urgencyour efforts to correct this problem through the other two branches of government. For example, we renew our call on Congress to pass, and the Administration to sign, the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act. And we renew our call to the Catholic faithful, and to all our fellow Americans, to join together in this effort to protect religious liberty and freedom of conscience for all.
I do hope this is real and not some hoax. Haven’t heard a thing about it on Fox (maybe it’s still too early).
Obama Epic Fail!
Yeah, they crawled into the sack with Satan, and then when he wants his due they get all moral and stuff.
Oh, it’s real. Follow the link above.
Not all of the bishops were on-board, but too many were. I say better late than never.
“Second, the President has announced some changes in how that mandate will be administered, which is still unclear in its details.”
It’s like a concientious objector during the Vietnam War. (the real ones,,,not the fake ones) They get out of serving because they don’t believe in violence, but then the govt. says they still have to buy the weapons for others to use to kill.
We wouldn’t even be having this discussion if we didn’t have a MARXIST for a pResident.
I'm not coming down off the mountain with the tablets here...but there is a reason why over the last 5,000 years and most recently in China and the old USSR, central planning and BIG GUBMINT has been the enemy of religious freedom. Statists want you to worship the STATE as God. They don't want any competition.
Thanks for posting the actual statement from the Bishops.
This is a good deal stronger than the earlier news stories reporting on it. They all quote that polite bit about its not being clear and that they will wait for more information.
But the rest of the statement is certainly strong enough, and it concludes with a determination to pursue a legislative solution to this fascist imposition on religions freedom.
Note also that it demands religious freedom for ALL who object to abortion, not just Catholic hospitals and schools. I hadn’t seen that in any of the earlier news reports. Very glad to see it here.
Correct. Weak statement. This “accommodation” should have been categorically and publicly denounced b4 Obama finished speaking.
As to this bishop Dolan, I suggest that instead of going to Rome to be promoted, that he check into a Catholic hospital to have a spine installed.
Both Dolan and the whore (Sister Carole Judas Ascariot Keehan) have given Obama ample political cover over this critical weekend. Disgusting and shameful.
If the Bishops hold their ground, this is good.
Obama didn’t do a damn thing but shift the unconstitutional rule from one party to another.
He is a wannabe dictator, and we have to fire his narrow ass in November.
Statists will take advantage of people of faith when it suits their purpose...then crucify them.
Next 0bama will force Jewish and Muslim schools to serve pork.
People of ALL faiths need to stand tall for religious liberty.
The unclear nature of Obama’s new plan is mentioned in this Bishops’ letter. They bring up the religious insurers for example. Then they also mention the need to address other non-profits as well as secular businesses who may have a need for a conscience clause waiver.
This brings to mind that many Catholic and Christian bookstores all over the country. These folks are usually lay people of faith. Why should they have to pay for medical care which is against their faith?
I think the bishops are wise to evaluate all the nuances of the entire issue. Notice how they are now raising the issue of legistlative action to address the religious concerns of everyone ion this country, not just the churches.
I feel much better after reading this response. I do not think they are going to cave under the Obama pressure. Notice again that they mention the fact that freedom of religion cannot be negotiated, as it is a fundamental right.
I W I S H it was for Constitutional reasons rather than their objection to an injustice directed at them.
I also wish they'd realize that without the USA they would face an existential threat they may not be able to withstand.
1. Did you read the statement?
2. Is English your first language?
Next he’ll want to have everyone fed by the government. After all, it’s necessary to health. Way more than contraception. We must be fed, and fed properly.
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