Loading
Bipartisan warning issued over religious freedom threats in health care
By Adelaide Mena
Rep. Dan Lipinski.
Rep. Dan Lipinski.

.- Members of the Congressional Values Action Team of the House of Representatives gathered at a special order to voice their concerns over threats to religious freedom posed by the recent health care overhaul.

Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) told Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) on June 14, that “religious freedom is our first freedom, as stated right there in the First Amendment.”

“This is not just freedom to worship as we hear it defined now in many ways. It is not just freedom to worship in our own homes, in our churches, synagogues, mosques, temples. It is freedom to practice and live out religious faith here in America.”

The congressman stressed that “this is not just a Catholic issue,” nor is it “just a Republican issue.”

“This is an issue for all Americans,” he said. “It's an American issue.”

The special order, “Conscience and Religious Freedom” organized by Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R- Neb.), addressed threats to religious liberty posed by the Affordable Care Act, particularly the controversial HHS mandate, which requires employers – including religious charities, hospitals, and schools – to offer health insurance plans covering contraception, sterilization and some early abortion drugs. 

Fortenberry explained that the opposition to this mandate “is not about politics. It’s not about partisanship. It’s about principle.”

“Americans who cannot in good conscience comply with this mandate will now be subject to ruinous fines if they do not obey – simply for exercising their First Amendment rights, exercising their religious freedom, exercising the deeper philosophical principle of the rights of conscience as rightly exercised by reasonable persons doing what they believe to be right, what they believe to be good, what they believe to be just.”

“We have lost our collective sense of respect for divergent views,” he warned, commenting on the shift in views leading to the mandate. “We have lost our sense that the government must protect that sacred right of conscience and not coerce her citizens into doing something that they fundamentally believe is unjust or wrong.”

He said that while “the HHS mandate is arguably a small component of the 2010 health care law, it does bring us face-to-face with a stark new reality here in Washington that we fervently hope will not become the new normal in America.”

Fortenberry noted that the mandate “is also a form of discrimination” and that it “primarily targets people in faith communities, the very people who have been the backstop of compassionate care for the poor, the vulnerable, and the marginalized in our society today.”

The congressman also voiced his concern over recent scandals that have unveiled the targeting of certain non-profit organizations by the IRS “because of their religious or philosophical or political leanings.” He noted that the “IRS is the very agency set to implement the new health care law” as it applies to religious organizations that object to the mandate.

“What kind of nation will we be when the IRS decides who gets to assemble, when the Department of Justice decides who reports the news, and when HHS decides what religious beliefs are worthy of First Amendment protection?” asked Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), also commenting on the recent public controversies.

He emphasized that religious freedom “means that the government does not get to tell you to violate your beliefs.”

“I'm not a Catholic. I'm not a Mennonite,” Pitts emphasized. “We don't share the same ideas about what is morally objectionable on everything, but I do not believe that my ideals should be forced on them.”

Lipinski – who is Catholic – reminded attendees that freedom “is what our country was founded on,” and that the U.S. Bishops will host a “Fortnight for Freedom to pray, educate, and act for religious freedom” from June 21 through July 4.

“We need to uphold that freedom, and the HHS mandate, amongst other efforts, other things that have been done by the Federal Government, unfortunately, in recent years has really run counter to freedom,” he said.

“Mr. Speaker, I want Americans to understand what this is about,” Lipinski said, explaining that at its core, the issue is “not about birth control or abortion.”

“It's about freedom,” he said. “It's about taking away Americans' freedom, requiring them to participate in activities that violate their conscience.”

Tags: Contraception mandate, Religious freedom, Health Care


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
John Paul II Center for Studies on Marriage and Family
Saint John Paul II on cartoon
Syrian Christian refugees
Papal Foundation Pilgrimage
Exorcism or prayer of liberation?
Jul
23

Liturgical Calendar

July 23, 2014

Wednesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 13:1-9

Gospel
Date
07/23/14
07/20/14
07/19/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Jer 1:1, 4-10
Gospel:: Mt 13: 1-9

Saint of the Day

St. John Cassian »

Saint
Date
07/23/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 13:1-9

Homily
Date
07/23/14
07/21/14
07/20/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: