Are you wondering about that supposed “accommodation”? Are you unclear about the state of conscience in America and why people are suing the Department of Human Services? Here is a good 101:
The fact is that talk of accommodation is smoke and mirrors. The mandate holds as originally written. Nothing has changed to expand in any way the very narrow so-called religious exemption. Nothing has changed in the federal government forcing faith-based institutions to provide access to services our Church considers morally and religiously objectionable. Nothing has changed in the federal government forcing virtually every Catholic social service agency, university or hospital in the United States to violate their religious beliefs.” They concluded, “The filing of these lawsuits has nothing to do with politics. We did not pick this fight or this timing. The federal government chose to impose this on us now. In fact, this lawsuit takes the issue out of politics and places it in front of the courts, which exist to protect our constitutional principles and freedoms. The issue is simple. Can the federal government ignore religious freedom guaranteed in the Constitution and force the Church to do what it considers morally and religiously objectionable? We will not give to the federal government the power to make us choose between our sacred beliefs or shutting our doors because we cannot violate our conscience. That is why we have filed this lawsuit.”
All Catholics should be grateful for the staunch leadership of the bishops and Catholics institutions across the country in defending our constitutional freedoms and core religious beliefs. As we get ready for the Fortnight for Freedom, beginning June 21, all Catholics should pray not only for the lawsuits’ successful outcome but for a renewed respect for religious freedom and freedom of conscience among all citizens and especially among those who serve us in public office.
The editorial is from a Catholic paper, but it is, of course, more than all Catholics who should be grateful and standing alongside those defending our constitutional freedoms. The Fortnight of Freedom ought to be an ecumenical moment, an American moment. It’s not everyday most of us are called on to defend liberty itself. And yet here we are. We are being called out of our indifference and cynicism to take our civic obligation seriously. Pass on this 101 to someone from church, a family member, perhaps someone who used to go to church. Silence feeds the confusion.