Bishop Leonard P. Blair called on people to remain vigilant in fighting for religious freedom at the Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally sponsored by Annuniciation Radio and held on March 23, 2012 on the Lucas County Courthouse lawn in downtown Toledo.
The bishop was one of several speakers asking the Obama administration to rescind the Health and Human Services mandate that requires employers to provide contraception and abortifacients in their health care plans.
The local rally was part of a nationwide grassroots movement with rallies hosted at 140 cities nationwide. In Ohio, rallies were also held in Dayton, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus. Twenty-two bishops were scheduled to speak at nationwide rallies, according to the national organizer’s website, www.standupforreligiousfreedom.com.
During his talk, Bishop Blair quoted Thomas Jefferson in saying, “the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”
Religious institutions aren’t asking for an exception but demanding their religious right, Bishop Blair added.
Please visit the Catholic Chronicle for the rest of this article.
BISHOPS PROMISE TO CONTINUE ‘VIGOROUS EFFORTS’ AGAINST HHS VIOLATIONS OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN HEALTH CARE REFORM MANDATE
Declare government has no place defining religion, religious ministry
Seek protection for conscience rights of institutions, individuals
Stress action with the public, White House, Congress, courts
WASHINGTON—The U.S. bishops are strongly united in their ongoing and determined efforts to protect religious freedom, the Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) said in a March 14 statement.
The Administrative Committee, chaired by Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, president of the USCCB, is the highest authority of the bishops’ conference outside the semi-annual sessions of the full body of bishops. The Committee’s membership consists of the elected chairmen of all the USCCB permanent committees and an elected bishop representative from each of the geographic regions of the USCCB.
The full statement can be found at www. www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/upload/Admin-Religious-Freedom.pdf
Click here to read the rest of this press release from the USCCB
CARDINAL DOLAN VOICES DISMAY AT HANDLING BY WHITE HOUSE IN LETTER UPDATING BISHOPS ON HHS MANDATE CONTROVERSY
WASHINGTON—Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York voiced dismay in the Administration’s handling of the church as the White House and the church seek to work out religious freedom problems found in a mandate in the new health care reform bill.
The mandate drew church ire when it required that all employers, including religious ones, pay for contraceptives – including abortifacients – and sterilization for employees despite church teaching against them.
He also promised to provide educational materials to parishes and to pursue legislative and judicial efforts to restore respect for religious freedom in the nation.
The letter can be found at http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/upload/Dolan-to-all-bishops-HHS.pdf
Click here to read Bishop Blair's commentary on the HHS Mandate in The Blade (2/16/12)
Cardinal Dolan warns that government assault may have just begun
Washington D.C., Feb 23, 2012 / 03:45 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- President Obama's contraception mandate may only be the beginning of a historic attack on religious freedom, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan warned his fellow U.S. bishops in a Feb. 22 letter. Click here to read the story.
Lutherans find common with Catholics on Obama mandate
ST. LOUIS (RNS) Lutherans and Catholics are not historically known for their theological sympathy, but earlier this month the president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod told the U.S. House that he will "stand with our friends in the Catholic Church" in opposition to a recent government ruling on contraception.
History aside, the Rev. Matthew Harrison made it clear that the Missouri Synod now has "large consensus with the Roman Catholic Church on moral issues."
Click here to read the full story.
Every Single Bishop Has Condemned the Obama/HHS Mandate! Click here to read the story.
Six Things Everyone Should Know About the HHS Mandate...
1.The mandate does not exempt Catholic charities, schools, universities, or hospitals.
2.The mandate forces these institutions and others, against their conscience, to pay for things they consider immoral.
3.The mandate forces coverage of sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs and devices as well as contraception.
4.Catholics of all political persuasions are unified in their opposition to the mandate Catholics who have long supported this Administration and its healthcare policies have publicly criticized HHS's decision, including columnists E.J. Dionne. . . , Mark Shields. . . , and Michael Sean Winters. . . ; college presidents Father John Jenkins. . . and Arturo Chavez. . . ; and Daughter of Charity Sister Carol Keehan. . . , president and chief executive officer of the Catholic Health Association of the United States.
5.Many other religious and secular people and groups have spoken out strongly against the mandate.
6.The federal mandate is much stricter than existing state mandates. HHS chose the narrowest state-level religious exemption as the model for its own.
Please read the article in its entirety by clicking here
Six More Things Everyone Should Know About the HHS Mandate...
1. The rule that created the uproar has not changed at all, but was finalized as is.
2. The rule leaves open the possibility that even exempt “religious employers” will be forced to cover sterilization.
3. The new “accommodation” is not a current rule, but a promise that comes due beyond the point of public accountability.
4. Even if the promises of “accommodation” are fulfilled entirely, religious charities, schools, and hospitals will still be forced to violate their beliefs.
5. The “accommodation” does not even purport to help objecting insurers, for-profit religious employers, secular employers, or individuals.
6. Beware of claims, especially by partisans, that the bishops are partisan.
Please read the entire article by clicking here.
Contact your U.S. Representative by e-mail, phone, or FAX letter:
MESSAGE: "Please co-sponsor the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (H.R. 1179, S. 1467) and help enact it into law. The Obama administration’s decision to require even religious institutions to provide coverage of sterilization and contraceptives, including drugs that can cause an abortion, makes passage of this measure especially urgent. Please ensure that the rights of conscience of all participants in our nation’s health care system are respected.”
Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at: 202-224-3121, or call your Members’ local offices. Additional contact info can be found on Members’ web sites at: www.house.gov and www.senate.gov Find your local representatives and senators in the upper right hand corner of those pages.
Send an e-mail through NCHLA’s Grassroots Action Center by clicking HERE
From Bishop Blair
Bishop Blair's February 13th letter on the HHS madate. English Spanish
Click here to read Bishop Blair's January 26th letter on the HHS mandate.
A note from Bishop Blair on January 20, 2012:
"...an unprecedented attack on freedom of conscience and of religion."
"On January 20, 2012, it was announced that the Obama Administration has refused to rescind its requirement that sterilization, abortifacients and contraception be included in virtually all health plans by 2013, without regard for religious belief or conscience.
For the United States this is an unprecedented attack on freedom of conscience and of religion. It prompts a troubling question as to just how far the heavy hand of government will go, despite protestations and assurances to the contrary, to impose what Pope Benedict has called ‘powerful new cultural currents which are not only directly opposed to core moral teachings of Judeo-Christian tradition, but increasingly hostile to Christianity as such.’ ‘It is imperative,’ the Pope says, ‘that the entire Catholic community in the United States come to realize the grave threats to the Church’s public moral witness presented by a radical secularism which finds increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres.
I urge everyone in the Diocese of Toledo, beginning with the clergy, to address this issue squarely, to inform people what is at stake, to prepare them to make sacrifices for their faith, to keep our country in their prayers, and to work to overturn what we Bishops have called a ‘literally unconscionable’ decision by the Obama Administration."
Information and resources are updated regularly on the USCCB website. Click here Share this page with others so they can get informed & take action, too. Social media & e-mail options are found under "SHARE" at the upper right of this page -- and at the upper right corner of Cardinal-designate Dolan's video
Will contraception really be "free" under this coercive mandate? Read Richard Doerflinger's column "The High Costs of 'Free' Birth Control" to find out.
There's lots of confusion about what the HHS edict involves. For a quick summary, see our 2-page FAQ called The HHS Mandate for Contraception/Sterilization Coverage: An Attack on Rights of Conscience.
Links to recent news articles:
Boehner Pledges Congress Will Overtun New Obama Mandate
Ave Maria University Will Not Comply
New Poll Shows Catholic Voters Oppose HHS Mandate
Over 150 congressional leaders demand repeal of HHS mandate