An RNS Story on the new USCCB Statement—Catholic bishops issue rallying cry for ‘religious freedom’

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"If we face today the prospect of unjust laws, then Catholics in America, in solidarity with our fellow citizens, must have the courage not to obey them," the statement says. "No American desires this. No Catholic welcomes it. But if it should fall upon us, we must discharge it as a duty of citizenship and an obligation of faith."

The document cites a number of other perceived threats to religious freedom besides the contraception policy, such as harsh immigration laws that could impede the church's social ministry and university policies targeting campus student religious groups.

The statement also makes a concerted effort to portray the Catholic campaign as bound up with the fight to defend American values from an overbearing central government.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack ObamaSenate* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

11 Comments
Posted April 13, 2012 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Br. Michael wrote:

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, head of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, noted that many church-affiliated agencies operate on taxpayer dollars and therefore should follow public policy guidelines.

“When taxpayers are forced to support sectarian agencies that refuse to meet the needs of women, gay people and other communities that’s a real violation of religious liberty,” Lynn said. “If the bishops want to run sectarian social services, they ought to collect the money from their parishioners, not the taxpayers.”

As the Federal Government sinks its claws and taxes into every sectarian based program will be forced out of exisistance.  For example exerting federal control over private universities if even one student recieves federal assistance.

April 13, 11:16 am | [comment link]
2. Henry Greville wrote:

This so-called “Catholic” position should be laughed out of the public square. OF COURSE taxpayer dollars should only be spent in accordance with public policy guidelines. Besides, no one in federal office is suggesting that the nation’s government should prevent or punish anyone’s religious teaching or devotional practice. Now I understand why there is a growing “Freedom From Religion” movement in this country.

April 13, 12:22 pm | [comment link]
3. Sarah wrote:

RE: “Besides, no one in federal office is suggesting that the nation’s government should prevent or punish anyone’s religious teaching or devotional practice.”

Yeh . . . only force them to violate their religious teaching. 

No big deal.

April 13, 12:50 pm | [comment link]
4. Henry Greville wrote:

Re#3: Sarah, how spoiled have churches become in the USA! Withdrawing public funds for something a religious group wishes to do equals compelling force against the religious group?

April 13, 1:45 pm | [comment link]
5. Jackson wrote:

#1 This is right on. As a result there are a number of schools, included one that I attended, that don’t accept federal funding. Its very liberating.

April 13, 2:13 pm | [comment link]
6. Br. Michael wrote:

Clearly, accepting federal funds gives the feds full control, and those accepting ferderl funds were fools.  But this is not what the Obama administration did.  Under the law, if you have over 50 employees, even if you don’t take a dime of federal funds, you must provide the items the federal government has said you must provide.  That is, you must contract with a private insurer and the insurance must provide the specified items.

This is despotism.  In the case of religious providers it is double despotism as they are required to pay for items that are contrary to their religious doctrine.  This has nothing to do with taking federal tax funds.

April 13, 2:35 pm | [comment link]
7. Jim the Puritan wrote:

#6, you are correct, and that is the core of the challenge to Obamacare.  The Left will always try to confuse the issue by saying it’s because the churches/schools receive public funding, which in many cases isn’t true, and in any event has nothing to do with the Obamacare mandates being forced on people.

April 13, 2:47 pm | [comment link]
8. Sarah wrote:

RE: “Sarah, how spoiled have churches become in the USA!”

Yes, how dare we expect our country’s government to follow the Constitution which they are sworn to uphold!!!

RE: “Withdrawing public funds . . . “

Not certain why you are inserting the phrase “public funds” into this article about companies which wish to not cover abortifacients with their insurance plans.

April 13, 2:55 pm | [comment link]
9. Sarah wrote:

But hey—if you insist on talking about “taxpayer dollars” then why am I forced to support secular/humanist/materialist religions which are supported with “taxpayer dollars”?

Hey, I’ve got an idea. Let’s cut taxes, whittle away the size of the Federal government, strip insurance companies of the *mandated* coverages, and allow any organization to fund the insurance policies of its choice, covering whatever that organization pleases.

April 13, 2:58 pm | [comment link]
10. Albany+ wrote:

We see here and increasingly elsewhere why attention to culture—tedious as it is—matters. Our rights are only as solid as the shifting sands of popular culture.

April 13, 5:10 pm | [comment link]
11. Capt. Father Warren wrote:

Our rights are only as solid as the shifting sands of popular culture

That is precisely what this administration and the decades of Progressivism which preceeded it want.  That is why they have turned public education and public universities into indoctrination mills and declared war on religion.

The Founders knew that a populace schooled in religion and in the basics of liberal knowledge [not to be confused with liberalism] were essential to the operation of a representative republic with a limited central government.

Progressives have just as clearly understood that an uneducated and irregligous public is needed so that a strong [dictatorial] central government can thrive.

The recipe for liberating our rights from “shifting sands” is clear.  Leadership and courage at all levels of society are the essential elements to ignite the change.

April 13, 7:31 pm | [comment link]
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