“This is nothing less than a direct attack on religion and First Amendment rights,” said Franciscan Sister Jane Marie Klein, chairman of Franciscan Alliance, Inc., a system of 13 Catholic hospitals.
“I cannot understand it at all.”
“We are very disappointed in the decision,” added Galen Carey, vice president of Government Relations for the National Association of Evangelicals.
Carey told CNA on Jan. 20 that the mandate “fails to uphold” America’s “historic commitment” to religious liberty.
In December, the National Association of Evangelicals sent a letter to President Obama on behalf of more than 60 evangelical, Baptist and Jewish leaders.
The letter objected to the mandate, arguing that “the Federal government is obligated by the First Amendment to accommodate the religious convictions of faith-based organizations of all kinds.”
Carey said the association will continue to speak up and work with lawmakers in the hopes that Congress will pursue legislation that will restore protection to the religious liberty of all Americans.
Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, said that the “outrageous” decision meant “bad news” for the protection of religious liberty and freedom of conscience in America.
“It’s analogous to giving a man on death row a one-year stay of execution,” he said. “You can follow your conscience for one more year.”
Dr. Land added that the decision will likely lead many people “to hope and pray” that a new administration will be in place “to provide a reprieve from this squelching of conscience before the deadline arrives.”