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Bishops reject Obama contraception compromise
Catholic Bishops called the HHS contraception mandate 'dubios' in a new statement.
March 14th, 2012
10:49 PM ET

Bishops reject Obama contraception compromise

By Kevin Liptak, CNN

(CNN) – An adjustment to a controversial federal rule requiring employers cover contraception in their health insurance plans was labeled “dubious” by Roman Catholic bishops on Wednesday.

The rule in question mandated all employers, including religiously affiliated organizations like hospitals and colleges, provide free contraception to employees through health insurance plans. Churches were exempted from the law.

After uproar from conservatives and religious groups, President Barack Obama announced an accommodation to the rule. Under the new plan, insurers will be required to offer complete coverage free to women instead of the religious institutions themselves.

On Wednesday the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops said the new rule remained “unspecified and dubious,” and said they would seek to engage in conversations with members of Obama’s administration to seek a more attractive alternative.

"We will continue to accept any invitation to dialogue with the executive branch to protect the religious freedom that is rightly ours,” the bishops said. “We will continue to pursue legislation to restore the same level of religious freedom we have enjoyed until just recently. And we will continue to explore our options for relief from the courts, under the U.S. Constitution and other federal laws that protect religious freedom.”

The group also attempted to push back on criticism from liberals that their opposition to the contraception rule was akin to restricting access to forms of birth control.

“This is not about access to contraception, which is ubiquitous and inexpensive, even when it is not provided by the church’s hand and with the church’s funds,” the group wrote.

The statement continued, “Indeed, this is not about the church wanting to force anybody to do anything; it is instead about the federal government forcing the church — consisting of its faithful and all but a few of its institutions — to act against church teachings.”
Responding to the bishops, Catholic League President Bill Donohue said the statement “leaves nothing on the table.”

“It debunks many myths about this issue: it is not about contraception; it is not just about Catholic religious rights; it is not about the Catholic Church trying to impose its will on others,” Donohue wrote. “It is about the federal government trying to impose its agenda on us.”

Thomas Reese, a Jesuit priest at Georgetown University, said the bishops’ statement used “strong and uncompromising” language while not becoming inflammatory.

“The statement’s reference to the administration’s adaptation as ‘unspecified and dubious’ highlights the bishops’ distrust of the White House and HHS,” Reese said. “The bishops do not believe the administration’s promises to fix the problem for faith-based organizations and self-insured plans.”

Reese pointed out a flaw in the bishops’ argument that employers who feel their conscience was violated by providing contraception coverage should be exempted from the law.

“The statement infers that religious liberty is an absolute right that cannot be restricted,” Reese said. “If this were true, Mormons and Muslims could practice polygamy and those who believe God demands the separation of the races should be exempted from civil rights legislation.”

-CNN’s Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Barack Obama • Belief • Bishops • Catholic Church • Church and state • Politics

soundoff (222 Responses)
  1. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer really changes things .

    March 19, 2012 at 7:41 am |
    • Jesus

      You've been proven a liar over and over again on this blog. A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested Friday morning...

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      Plus don't forget. The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!!

      March 19, 2012 at 7:59 am |
    • Ted

      The problem with your views is that you along with so many who find faith unthinkable is that God is our God not the one that will fix our health, prevent natural desasters or fix the many problmes that humanity has created for oursleves. Free will is aoubt making choices and some of these choices have consequences for ourselves and others, we have to live with these and through prayer we are proveded with the graces and relationship from God that enables us to do so. It is God that we look to for the Love and compassion and it through this example that we find our path to faith and the Love we have for God and eachother.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  2. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things.
    It can make you rich.

    March 19, 2012 at 2:36 am |
    • Mirosal

      And what is YOUR net worth?

      March 19, 2012 at 2:49 am |
    • Dodney Rangerfield

      More than the pole

      March 19, 2012 at 10:01 am |
  3. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer really changes things
    Prayer is talking with God
    Pray without ceasing in 2012

    March 18, 2012 at 7:39 am |
    • Jesus

      You've been proven a liar over and over again on the this blog. A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested Friday morning....

      March 18, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • Jesus

      Plus don't forget. The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!!! .. .

      March 18, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Jesus

      OH and don't forget. An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      March 18, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • just sayin

      moron

      March 18, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • Jesus

      "just sayin

      moron"

      Now we can both agree that "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things" is a moron oops but you are one in the same...so that mean you're a moron too.

      March 18, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • just sayin

      To it that takes the Lords name in vain Tom Tom you are the moron

      March 18, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • Jesus

      "To it that takes the Lords name in vain Tom Tom you are the moron"

      Hey LIAR – I am not Tom Tom. Keep proving to the world you're clueless and a LIAR!

      March 19, 2012 at 7:57 am |
    • Primewonk

      Why is jesus a moron?

      Seems to me that if you and your ignorant sockpuppet IDs want to spam every board, then jesus has every right to call you on it.

      March 19, 2012 at 8:51 am |
  4. DH

    Let their parishioners vote! 98% did and use BC...that is Democracy. Maybe they are not about that, If so why do they have a say?

    March 17, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  5. Easternsailor

    PS...Sam

    March 17, 2012 at 1:07 am |
  6. Mike

    Why does anyone even care what these bishops think? They should not even have a say in the matter. If they dont want to support medice, in its entirity, for their employees they should not be employers.

    March 16, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • BeeCee

      "This would be the best of all possible worlds, were there no religion" -John Adams
      "Christianity is the most perverse system ever foisted on Mankind: – Thomas Jefferson
      "You'll get better guidance from a lighthouse than a church" -Benjamin Franklin. The Founding Fathers were Deists, they believed in God but HATED and were suspect of religion. Hence, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof". Believe what you want, but keep your fairy tales and voodoo out of my face AND GOVERNMENT. I won't mind hell, I can't wait to see the look on Santorum's face when HE arrives

      March 16, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
  7. Name*terri

    Bishop should go to jesus and ask for forgiviness for real.

    March 16, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  8. Rosslaw

    If altar boys could get pregnant the bishops would have condom dispensors in every sacristy.

    March 16, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • Gerald

      If morons could get a brain you would be a good candidate.

      March 16, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • Ted

      did you even think about what your were thinking before you hit the send? it is this hate that gives humanity a bad rap

      March 23, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  9. Lil

    As catholic leaders, it is their job. Just think of them as the district attorneys of each Catholic community in the world. They do it because they are representing other people who expect this of them. The reason why they are all seniors is because they elect themselves, as opposed to having an external party elect them.

    March 16, 2012 at 8:19 am |
    • Mirosal

      asking a priest abour s-x and/or marriage is like asking Forrest Gump to explain quantum physics. It's way out of their league. What do they know about either of those things? Are they parents? NO!! Do they have a spouse? NO!! They need to STFU and keep their little beanie-heads out of the political arena. And before you start, I spent 12 years in Catholic (Jesuit) schools. So don't tell me I don't know about the Catholics.

      March 16, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • Primewonk

      So, you equate the Catholic Bishops with being district attorneys of the Parishes? Interesting. If the DA in your area knew that 98% of the people in your area were violating one of your biggest laws, what do you think they would do? Because 98% of Catholics use or have used birth control.

      March 16, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • SPA Knight

      Marosal – You may have spent 12 years as a Catholic but you don't understand Catholicism. If you think these men a sheltered life and don't understand human relationships and fatherhood it is because you haven't bothered to understand their mission within the church. BTW, their spouse is the church and their children are each parishioner wintin their diocese.

      March 16, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • Primewonk

      SPA Knight wrote, " BTW, their spouse is the church and their children are each parishioner wintin their diocese."

      So these guys are committing adultery on their wives by having incest with their children?

      March 16, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • BeeCee

      I was raised roman catholic–talk about a cult...

      March 16, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Ted

      I hope you are right and this is thier motivation, there was a strong push last election against Obama by many bishops I hope that they don't think this well motivate Catholics to vote their way due to this issue, the majority of Catholics have used, use or will use contraception its not a church issue if it is used for politics.

      March 23, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  10. Mirosal

    Who really should care what a group of supposedly "virgin" ('butt' really boy-loving) 60-something year old men think about this?

    March 16, 2012 at 8:09 am |
    • SPA Knight

      Many priest are not virgins when they enter the priesthood similar to others who are not when they enter marriage. Once ordained though, they are called to be faithful and celibate but they fail at times no differently than those who stumble in married life. Over 50% of marriages are failing but we expect 100% fidelity from priests? Many of which grew up in these broken homes.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • J.W

      I don't expect complete fidelity, by at least they could have relations with adults.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • catholic engineer

      @Mirosal Who cares what they think? Well, every day we have the same enemies and atheists coming here and, like the town cryer, yelling "IRRELEVANT ! IRRELEVANT!" After seing this behaviour, I have to ask: If this is irrelevance, what would relevance look like?

      March 16, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • notatall

      If they reject paying for birth control for their employees 100%, then yes, I expect fidelity 100%. Can't stand hypocrites.

      March 16, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  11. Reality

    If the Pill and male condoms were used properly, abortion would not be an issue and Obama would not be president.

    March 16, 2012 at 8:02 am |
    • catholic engineer

      Apparently, the science community missed something when they popularized the pill. Namely, the brain is turned off when the pill is most needed.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:19 am |
  12. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    March 16, 2012 at 6:36 am |
    • Primewonk

      Unless you're an amputee.

      March 16, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • Jesus

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!!! .........

      March 16, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things
      Proven
      Powerful

      March 16, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • just sayin

      Regeneration is a work in progress. When God finally reveals those mysteries to mankind whatever will you find to b itch about?

      March 16, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • False Dichotomy

      Regeneration is indeed a work in progress – natural selection has done wonderful things for amphibians. Scientists at Wake Forest University Medical School are making astounding progress for human tissue. God – not so much.

      March 16, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • Jesus

      "Prayer changes things
      Proven
      Powerful"

      You've been proven a LIAR over and over again on this blog.

      March 17, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • just sayin

      It is God who reveals knowledge to mankind. Most scientists having made "discoveries" are equally amazed at the fact that it appears someone was there way before them marking a pathway of knowledge to follow.

      March 17, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • just sayin

      You look foolish repeating wonderful Truths 'prayer changes things, proven, powerful' and then posting a lie beneath those Truths. We are much amused with your stupidity. God bless !

      March 17, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
  13. achilles

    Stop fighting Israeli wars my good comrades.

    You owe them nothing. Not your pity, and certainly not blood and treasure.

    Tragic things if this sort will continue, as long as we bloody our hands on israels behalf.

    Jewsagainstzionism.com

    March 15, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • Miler

      I spent time yesterday to read the Public Protector's rpeort, and to say the least it is damning. The Minister is proven to be a liar on more than one occasion. The difference between something like this being rpeorted in the media and a Public Protector's rpeort, is that a rpeort is not official or formal notification of a transgression to the President, but a rpeort of a Public Protector is official and therefore the President is duty-bound to act.(It is important that we are fair, and hope Prof that you also highlight Afriforum's decision to rpeort a middle management official Tshwane to the Human Rights Commission, the official utilised his work email to send his ANC branch correspondence. But if I recall Helen Zille has been using her Premier email and even letterhead to send press statements of the DA). It seems that the leader of the DA is not able to distinguish between party and State.)It is also apparent that maybe the government does not even need this Minister, since he has been on sick leave for so long, and not a single municipality has even crumbled. Making it even easier for the Minister to act.

      July 29, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.