Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sen. Brown Calls For Protection Of Religious Liberty

Res Publica
Sen. Brown Calls For Protection Of Religious Liberty
by David Trumbull -- February 24, 2012

U.S. Senator Scott Brown (Republican, Massachusetts) has issued the following statement on the Department of Health and Human Services mandate under the 2010 health care law that religious organizations either participate in health care plans that violate their religious beliefs or face punitive fines:
"One of our most cherished liberties is freedom of religion. Like Ted Kennedy before me, I support a conscience exemption for religious organizations in health care. No one should be forced by government to violate the teachings of their faith. I encourage President Obama to re-examine his health care law and make sure no one is being forced to do something that is contrary to their religious beliefs."
Recently The Pilot, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Boston reported that Timothy Cardinal Dolan of New York said that President Barack Obama's revision to the contraceptive mandate in the health reform law did nothing to change the U.S. bishops' opposition to what they regard as an unconstitutional infringement on religious liberty.

The Obama Administration has posted a set of false and misleading claims that the President has compromised with the Catholic Church. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has responded, pointing out that --
  • The original rule that violated our religious liberty so severely has not been changed, but finalized.
  • HHS has promised some kind of “accommodation,” but only after the election.
  • The promised “accommodation”—even at its best—would still force our institutions to violate their beliefs.
  • There is no exemption for objecting insurers, secular employers, for-profit religious employers, or individuals.
Speaking of the Obama Administration's attack on the Catholic Church, Cardinal Dolan said: "Never before has the federal government forced individuals and organizations to go out into the marketplace and buy a product that violates their conscience. This shouldn't happen in a land where free exercise of religion ranks first in the Bill of Rights."

Cardinal Dolan also said that some very prominent attorneys, some of them non-Catholic and even nonreligious, had already volunteered to represent the bishops. This is the central issue. If Obama can force Catholic hospitals to pay for something they believe to be morally impermissible, then any President, liberal or conservative can force anyone to do anything he wants. Liberals who think this through should be as afraid of the precedent as are conservatives.

Now it sits with Congress and the Courts to thwart the President's power grab. Will they act to protect freedom of religion in America? Or will our children and grandchildren see come to pass the prediction of Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago? Cardinal George, in 2010, said: “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.”

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