Loading
Catholics, Baptists come together over conscience rights bill
Archbishop William Lori addresses the 2012 USCCB Fall General Assembly, Nov 13. Credit: Michelle Bauman/CNA.
Archbishop William Lori addresses the 2012 USCCB Fall General Assembly, Nov 13. Credit: Michelle Bauman/CNA.
By Adelaide Mena
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Catholic and Baptist leaders are collaborating to ask national legislators to support a bill that would offer conscience protections to healthcare workers across the country.

“While Catholics and Southern Baptists espouse different theological views, we are united by the belief that Congress must act to help preserve our freedom of religion and conscience,” Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore and Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention wrote in a June 21 letter to members of Congress.

“We urge you to do all that you can to ensure prompt enactment” of the Health Care Conscience Rights Act, they said.

Archbishop Lori chairs the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, and Moore is president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.

The letter was released on the first day of the 2013 Fortnight for Freedom, a two-week period of prayer, education and action leading up to the Fourth of July, which encourages greater respect for religious liberty both in America and abroad.

The religious leaders explained that the proposed legislation “would address threats to religious freedom and rights of conscience that have become particularly grave in the field of healthcare.”

“As many people are being forced – and many others will soon be forced – to either follow what the government compels or suffer for their faith, now is the time to pass legislation that protects our God-given freedom,” they stressed.

The Health Care Conscience Rights Act has been introduced both chambers of Congress, by Senators Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Deb Fischer (R- Neb.) in the Senate and by Rep. Diane Black (R- Tenn.) in the House of Representatives.

Moore and Archbishop Lori highlighted the “unacceptable” threats to religious liberty posed by the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate, which would force employers to offer health insurance plans covering contraceptives, sterilizations and some drugs that can cause early abortions, even if doing so violates the employer’s deeply-held religious beliefs.

They also detailed infringements on the rights of healthcare workers who conscientiously decline to perform abortion procedures and experience subsequent discrimination in the workplace.

Without a law protecting the conscience rights of healthcare workers, “even Americans’ right to serve the sick and needy without violating their religious convictions on human life is not secure,” said the Christian leaders.

The proposed legislation would seek to address threats to religious freedom by extending existing conscience protections to the Affordable Care Act and expanding nondiscrimination laws to protect healthcare workers with conscientious objections to certain products and procedures.

Archbishop Lori and Moore noted that under current law, healthcare professionals “do not even have a right to go to court to defend their God-given rights of conscience,” and they subsequently often face “pressure and threats to take part in the destruction of innocent life.”

“The Health Care Conscience Rights Act would address these serious problems in ways consistent with our federal government’s long history of bipartisan consensus on respect for rights of conscience,” they said.

Archbishop Lori further expressed his support of the bill in a statement by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, saying that the “right to live out our faith in the public square – in our churches, our schools, and our places of employment – is too important not to defend.”

Tags: Religious freedom, Health Care, Conscience Protection

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?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
Dec
22

Liturgical Calendar

December 22, 2014

Advent Weekday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Gospel
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: 1 Sam 1: 24-28
Gospel:: Lk 1: 46-56

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
12/15/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Homily
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14