Washington D.C., Mar 19, 2012 / 17:09 pm America/Denver (CNA).
The U.S. bishops have launched a nationwide prayer campaign to defend religious liberty against recent threats such as the federal contraception mandate.
The campaign centers around a newly-released “Prayer for Religious Liberty,” which asks God to grant “a clear and united voice” to all who gather to defend rights of conscience “in this decisive hour in the history of our nation.”
At a Washington, D.C. administrative committee meeting on March 13-14, leaders of the U.S. bishops' conference called for the campaign in response to imminent threats to religious liberty, including the Obama administration's controversial contraception mandate.
Bishops from every diocese in the country have spoken out against the mandate – announced by the Department of Health and Human Services on Jan. 20 – which will require employers to offer health insurance plans that cover contraception, sterilization and early abortion drugs, even if doing so violates their religious beliefs.
In a March 14 statement assessing the threat to religious freedom posed by the mandate, the bishops urged all people of faith to engage in “prayer and penance” for the protection of conscience rights in America.