Knights of Columbus call for end to HHS mandate
Knights of Columbus call for end to HHS mandate
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- The Knights of Columbus filed formal comments with the U.S. government on Monday, calling for an end to the Health and Human Services mandate and “a new course” that would not require Americans to cover medical services to which they have religious and moral objections.

The Knights, a Catholic charitable fraternal organization with 1.8 million U.S. members, invited the Obama administration to “make every effort to protect the conscience rights and sincerely held religious beliefs and practice of the American people,” Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said in an April 6 letter.

“The faith that lies at the heart of our charitable activity and our defense of human rights is  also the same faith that compels us to oppose participation in a government  mandate that would force us to fund, directly or indirectly, health plans that include objectionable services such as sterilization, contraception, or abortion-inducing drugs,” he said.
The federal mandate requires almost all private insurance plans to offer the objectionable drugs and procedures without a co-pay. Violators could face heavy fines. Over 150 employers and non-profit organizations, including Catholic health systems, universities, charities, and dioceses, have filed more than 40 federal lawsuits challenging the rules.

The Obama administration has altered the original mandate to require insurance plans, not employers themselves, to provide the objectionable coverage. The new proposals also modify religious exemption standards. However, the change has failed to address many objections.

Anderson said that the new proposals change “some minor details” but do not address the “critical moral and constitutional offense” of coercing individuals and organizations with objections to pay for the coverage directly or indirectly and to initiate coverage..

“The government places itself in the untenable position of deciding that some consciences are fit for protection, while others are not,” Anderson said.

He said the newest proposed rules do not expand the religious exemption and are implemented “in a manner that requires the employer to initiate and pay for such coverage.” Non-exempt entities “receive no protection and will lose the right to provide health care coverage that respects their deeply held religious and moral convictions.”

Anderson cited the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s teaching that people may not be forced to act against their convictions. He also cited James Madison’s defense of the free exercise of religion.

He also cited Thomas Jefferson’s 1804 letter to Ursuline sisters in the Louisiana Territory , in which Jefferson said that the U.S. Constitution is a “sure guarantee ... that your institution will be permitted to govern itself according to its own voluntary rules without the interference from the civil authority.”

Anderson suggested the Obama administration use principles adapted from the Church Amendment to the Public Service Act. That legislation, first passed in1973. That provision bars individuals and entities from being required to violate their religious beliefs or moral convictions as part of a government program.

Should the Obama administration refuses to rescind the mandate, Anderson said, the Knights of Columbus urge an expansion of the religious exemption to protect individuals and organizations from being forced to violate their beliefs.

The Knights of Columbus said thousands of its members and their families have filed comments by the close of the comment period April 8.

Tags: Contraception mandate, Religious freedom

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


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Pope Francis in the Philippines: Manila Welcomes the Pope
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Highlights
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Interview with Cardinal Ranjith
Pope Francis in SriLanka: Inter-religious Faith Meeting
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

Liturgical Calendar

January 25, 2015

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mk 1:14-20


Daily Readings

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »


Homily of the Day

Mk 1:14-20