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"Our reliance is in the love of liberty which God has planted in us. Our defense is in the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands everywhere. Destroy this spirit and you have planted the seeds of despotism at your own doors. Familiarize yourself with the chains of bondage, and you prepare your own limbs to wear them. Accustomed to trample on the rights of others, you have lost the genius of your own independence and become the fit subjects of the first cunning tyrant who rises among you."
"We are concerned as pastors with the freedom of the Church as a
whole—not just for the full range of its institutional forms, but also for the
faithful in their daily lives—to carry out the mission and ministry of Jesus
~ Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a final rule (June 28, 2013) on its mandate requiring employee health insurance for contraceptives, including abortion-causing drugs, and female sterilization. The final does not appear to eliminate "the need to continue defending our rights in Congress and the courts," said Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York and President of the USCCB.
Cardinal Dolan listed three areas of concern based on the March 2012 statement of the Administrative Committee, United for Religious Freedom: (1) the narrow definition of "religious employers" that are exempted, (2) the "accommodation" of religious ministries excluded from that definition, and (3) the treatment of businesses run by people who seek to operate their companies according to religious principles. Based on the March 2012 statement, the final rule shows that the first and third concerns still have not been addressed. Additionally, the second area of concern appears mostly the same, except for three relatively small changes that will require more time and analysis to evaluate.
In short, while the administration has delayed implementation of the HHS mandate for certain non-profit entities, moving the enforcement from August 1, 2013 to January 1, 2014, we must nonetheless continue to pray and take action on the religious liberty threats faced by the HHS mandate. We will continue to seek relief from the courts and from Congress for those who object because of religious or moral convictions.
Check out the action alert and contact Congress to include conscience provisions!
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