August 6, 2012
As August 1 dawned, the federal government's mandate to coerce employers to provide contraceptives, abortifacients, and sterilization went into effect.
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and Chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, used the occasion to renew the Church's call to rescind this law and call upon the U.S. Congress to pass religious liberty protections before their current session ends.
Cardinal DiNardo's August 3, 2012 letter
to Congress reinforced the concerns of the U.S. Bishops and thousands of Americans whose First Amendment right to religious liberty will be violated as the HHS Mandate takes effect. The HHS Mandate requires employers to provide health coverage that defies the moral convictions of employers and employees who have no resources to its funding.
Furthermore, the Mandate’s exemption is so narrowly defined as to exclude Church-run schools, hospitals, and other entities, and completely fails to address the conscience rights of business owners.
“These are devout individuals and families who own and operate businesses, who without any word of protest from employees have been offering health coverage that does not violate their moral convictions,” wrote DiNardo. “Now their longtime practice will be contrary to federal law, punished by a tax of $100 a day per employee and other penalties.”
Cardinal DiNardo described efforts to address the Mandate concerns through the judicial process, but reiterated that Congressional action was imperative in order to obtain “timely” and “uniform protection” of conscience.
“I am writing again on this subject because, despite widespread opposition to this coercive policy by religious organizations, lawmakers and the general public, Congress has still taken no action to counter it,” he wrote. “The fundamental importance of the religious freedom issue at stake demands a timely congressional response,” he wrote.
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