The Bishops Have Spoken—Now Let YOUR Voice Be Heard.

By now I’ll bet you’ve heard: On March 14, the U.S. Bishops released a response to the White House statement regarding the HHS Mandate.

Depending on where you get your news, you may have heard that the bishops seem to have “calmed down” or are preparing to “accept the accommodation.”

The editors of America magazine embarrassed themselves with an editorial
encouraging the bishops to get over it and accept the White House’s program—with the result that the White House felt confident in lecturing USCCB staff on how to interpret Catholic teaching in light of the HHS mandate.  The hubris of this Administration was recognized even by the Wall Street Journal, which called their ideology “chilling.”  Thomas Peters (American Papist) highlighted the WSJ’s editorial:

As a study in ideology and power, the anecdote [of the White House meeting] is chilling, compounded by all the recent claims by Democrats and liberals that Catholics who actually abide by their faith are opposed to modernity.  Such prejudice is supposedly defunct in contemporary America, except when it’s practiced against religion.

Actually, the Bishops are NOT caving to pressure, are NOT giving up in their rightful defense of the Catholic Faith. The key points of Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s new statement, which represents the unified voice of all the U.S. Bishops, are:

  1. Government has no place defining religion or religious ministry.
  2. We will continue to seek protection for conscience rights of institutions and individuals.
  3. We will continue to explore all opportunities for action, whether with the public, the White House and Congress, or through the courts.

This dispute, Cardinal Dolan reminds us:

  • Is not about access to contraceptives, which are easily affordable without subsidies by the Church.  Rather, it is about the government’s forcing the Church to provide them.
  • Is not about the Church wanting to force anybody to do anything.  Rather, it is about the federal government forcing the Church—consisting of its faithful and all but a few of its institutions—to act against Church teachings.
  • Is not a Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal issue; rather, it is an American issue.
  • Is not about the Church’s opposition to universal health care; rather, the Church has voiced its concern about health care for all since 1919.
  • Is a concern not just for the Catholic Church, but also for “those who recognize that their cherished beliefs may be next on the block.”

Please go to the USCCB website to read the statement in its entirety.

SO WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?

Well, of course, you should contact your legislators:  Call the White House, your Congressman, your Senator.  Voice your concerns in the public square.  Tell your friends to do the same and explain to them, once again, that this is NOT about the Church trying to prohibit birth control.

I’d like to recommend two other, specific ways to become involved:

Visit www.StopHHS.com. There you’ll find news updates, watch videos, read a message from radio host Al Kresta, and network with other like-minded Americans who want to preserve and protect our constitutional rights.  You can sign the citizens’ petition calling for a rescission of the HHS Mandate, and learn how to organize a petition drive in your own community.  (There were more than 76,000 signatures last
time I looked—Add your name to the list!)

Participate in the Nationwide Rally for Religious Freedom. The Rally is scheduled for Friday, March 23 at noon, local time, outside federal buildings, Congressional offices and historic sites across the country.  The theme for the Rally is “Stand Up for Religious Freedom—Stop the HHS Mandate!”

Thousands of Americans of all faiths will be participating in these peaceful rallies, organized by the Pro-Life Action League and Citizens for a Pro-Life Society to oppose the new mandate from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that requires all employers provide free contraceptives, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs through their health plans, even in violation of their consciences.

Religious leaders and other public figures will speak out against the HHS Mandate at each Rally site. Holding signs reading “Stand Up for Religious Freedom” and “Stop the HHS Mandate,” participants will offer hymns and prayers for our nation and pass out literature to the public about why the HHS Mandate is unconstitutional and Un-American.

You can join your voice to the voices of thousands of other citizens, and help Washington to understand how seriously we regard any assault on our First Amendment liberties.  Last I heard, more than 110 locations had been chosen across America.  To find a Rally location near you, to organize a Rally in your own area, to register or to obtain more information, go to http://standupforreligiousfreedom.com/.


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