Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Religious Liberty - #3636 - Obamacare Awakens a Sleeping Giant - Heritage Foundation (2) Obamacare vs. The Catholics - Weekly Standard

It is a rare moment indeed when faith denominations of all stripes unite together in common cause, and it is rarer still when that cause is a political one, with a sole piece of legislation as its principal target. But when that law eviscerates the very foundation of religious liberty in America as protected under the First Amendment, it should not be surprising that Catholics and Jews, charismatic evangelical Christians, and mainline Lutherans alike find common cause in defense of their liberties. Such is the case with the firestorm of opposition to Obamacare and the Obama Administration’s attack on religious liberty. Under a new Obamacare mandate issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the White House is mandating that many religious employers, with the exception of churches, provide health care coverage for contraception — including abortion-inducing drugs — thereby trampling upon their constitutionally guaranteed free exercise of religion. And it is this mandate that has caused a vehement response in churches and synagogues across the country........The National Association of Evangelicals commented that “The HHS rules trample on our most cherished freedoms and set a dangerous precedent” and the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America stated, “In declining to expand the religious exemption within the healthcare reform law, the Obama Administration has disappointingly failed to respect the needs of religious organizations such as hospitals, social welfare organizations and more.” The Agudath Israel of America stated its opposition, as did the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America. .......... Obamacare has given the federal government broad power over one-sixth of the American economy and thereby purports to grant Washington the power to force religious institutions to take actions contrary to their faith. Addington writes that this kind of concentration of power “has proved to be a drastic and dangerous experiment.” America’s religious leaders and the faithful have awoken to this wolf at their door and are lashing out in defense of their freedoms. Congress, too, should act now by repealing Obamacare and restoring the religious liberty that is so central to our way of life.  Read more.......

This article is very interesting as it gives the background of Catholics supporting Obama in the last election and earlier assurances their religious exemption would be honored, great history on this explosive issue.
Obamacare vs. the Catholics - Weekly Standard - On the last weekend of January, priests in Catholic churches across America read extraordinary letters to their congregations. The missives informed the laity that President Obama and his administration had launched an assault on the church. In Virginia, Catholics heard from Bishop Paul Loverde, who wrote, “I am absolutely convinced that an unprecedented and very dangerous line has been crossed.” In Phoenix, Bishop Thomas Olmsted wrote, “We cannot​—​we will not​—​comply with this unjust law.” In Pittsburgh, Bishop David Zubik wrote that President Obama had told Catholics, “To Hell with your religious beliefs.” Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria asked his flock to join him in the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, which concludes: By the Divine Power of God / cast into Hell, Satan and all the evil spirits / who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. It was a remarkable moment, in part because despite their stern reputation, most Catholic bishops are not terribly conservative. They tend to be politically liberal and socially cautious. If they were less holy men, stauncher conservatives would call them squishes. Real live conservative bishops are so few and far between that whenever one appears on the scene, such as Philadelphia’s Archbishop Charles Chaput, he’s seen as a vaguely threatening curiosity. You can tell when a bishop is conservative because you will hear him referred to as “hardline” or “ultra-orthodox,” so as to mark him apart from the rest of the herd.

But what made the moment even more remarkable is that the bishops were not exaggerating. It is now a requirement of Obamacare that every Catholic institution larger than a single church​—​and even including some single churches​—​must pay for contraceptives, sterilization, and morning-after abortifacients for its employees. Each of these is directly contrary to the Catholic faith. But the Obama administration does not care. They have said, in effect, Do what we tell you—or else.  Read more.......

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