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After contraception controversy, Catholic Church announces 'religious freedom' campaign
The American Catholic bishops.
April 12th, 2012
05:25 PM ET

After contraception controversy, Catholic Church announces 'religious freedom' campaign

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - The Roman Catholic Church announced a major campaign Thursday aimed at bringing attention to what it said were growing threats to religious liberty in the United States, including the pending White House rule requiring health insurance companies to provide free contraceptive coverage to employees of Catholic organizations.

An official with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said the initiative would stretch out over the course of a few years and that it would include everything from encouraging priests to address religious liberty concerns in church to sending inserts for church bulletins.

“Religious liberty is under attack, both at home and abroad,” the American bishops said in a new document titled “Our first, most cherished freedom.”

Compared to other Catholic communications campaigns, “This is bigger in that it’s not a one-time thing, not aiming for a specific Sunday” said Sister Mary Ann Walsh, the communications director for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “It’s going to be extensive and it’s going to be occurring over a few years.”

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The Catholic bishops say a proposed White House rule connected to the Affordable Care Act requiring health insurers to provide free contraception coverage forces the church to fund an activity it opposes for religious reasons. The White House tweaked an earlier version of the rule that required employers, rather than insurance companies, to pay for contraceptive coverage, mollifying some Catholic groups who objected to Catholic colleges and hospitals having to fund contraception coverage.

But the bishops said the so-called White House compromise didn’t go far enough.

In their Thursday document, the bishops also said that a handful of American states and municipalities have driven Catholic foster care and adoption services out of business because Catholic charities refused to place children with gay couples or unmarried straight couples.

The document also said that the federal government recently revised its contract with the Catholic Church’s Migration and Refugee Services to require it to provide or refer women to contraceptive and abortion services, in violation of Catholic teaching.

“Religious liberty is not only about our ability to go to Mass on Sunday or pray the Rosary at home,” the bishops said in a Thursday statement. “It is about whether we can make our contribution to the common good of all Americans. Can we do the good works our faith calls us to do, without having to compromise that very same faith?”

“This is not a Catholic issue,” the statement said. “This is not a Jewish issue. This is not an Orthodox, Mormon or Muslim issue. It is an American issue.”

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church

soundoff (2,540 Responses)
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    August 5, 2012 at 10:52 am |
  3. Smokey

    I was born into a Catholic family. My Uncle was a Catholic priest. I went to Catholic Elementary & High schools. I sent my daughter to Catholic Elementary & High schools. I still have great Faith and try to live an honest and caring life.
    But I no longer believe in Catholicism or any other Religion for that matter. I believe the Clergy especially the Catholic Clergy have become for the most part Politicians with a Clergy Collar. They are really Wolves in Sheep's clothing.

    April 27, 2012 at 10:56 am |
  4. Reality

    Beyond religion and politics:

    The reality of se-x, contraception and STD control: – from a guy who enjoys intelligent se-x-
    Note: Some words hyphenated to defeat an obvious word filter. ...

    The Brutal Effects of Stupidity:

    : The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill ( 8.7% failure rate) and male con-dom (17.4% failure rate) have led to the large rate of abortions and S-TDs in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or co-ndoms properly and/or use safer methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.- Failure rate statistics provided by the Gut-tmacher Inst-itute. Unfortunately they do not give the statistics for doubling up i.e. using a combination of the Pill and a condom.

    Added information before making your next move:

    from the CDC-2006

    "Se-xually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. While substantial progress has been made in preventing, diagnosing, and treating certain S-TDs in recent years, CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.1 In addition to the physical and psy-ch-ological consequences of S-TDs, these diseases also exact a tremendous economic toll. Direct medical costs as-sociated with STDs in the United States are estimated at up to $14.7 billion annually in 2006 dollars."

    And from:

    Consumer Reports, January, 2012

    "Yes, or-al se-x is se-x, and it can boost cancer risk-

    Here's a crucial message for teens (and all se-xually active "post-teeners": Or-al se-x carries many of the same risks as va-ginal se-x, including human papilloma virus, or HPV. And HPV may now be overtaking tobacco as the leading cause of or-al cancers in America in people under age 50.

    "Adolescents don’t think or-al se-x is something to worry about," said Bonnie Halpern-Felsher professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. "They view it as a way to have intimacy without having 's-ex.'" (It should be called the Bill Clinton Syndrome !!)

    Obviously, political leaders in both parties, Planned Parenthood, parents, the "stupid part of the USA" and the educational system have failed miserably on many fronts.

    The most effective forms of contraception, ranked by "Perfect use":
    1a. (Abstinence, 0% failure rate)
    1b. (Masturbation, mono or mutual, 0% failure rate)
    Followed by:
    One-month injectable and Implant (both at 0.05 percent)
    Vasectomy and IUD (Mirena) (both at 0.1 percent)
    The Pill, Three-month injectable, and the Patch (all at 0.3 percent)
    Tubal sterilization (at 0.5 percent)
    IUD (Copper-T) (0.6 percent)
    Periodic abstinence (Post-ovulation) (1.0 percent)
    Periodic abstinence (Symptothermal) and Male condom (both at 2.0 percent)
    Periodic abstinence (Ovulation method) (3.0 percent)

    Every other method ranks below these, including Withdrawal (4.0), Female condom (5.0), Diaphragm (6.0), Periodic abstinence (calendar) (9.0), the Sponge (9.0-20.0, depending on whether the woman using it has had a child in the past), Cervical cap (9.0-26.0, with the same caveat as the Sponge), and Spermicides (18.0).

    April 17, 2012 at 12:09 am |
  5. Reality

    Some nitty-gritty:

    "Twenty-one states offer exemptions from contraceptive coverage, usually for religious reasons, for insurers or employers in their policies: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan (administrative rule), Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas and West Virginia."

    http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/health/insurance-coverage-for-contraception-state-laws.aspx
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    April 17, 2012 at 12:06 am |
  6. ElmerGantry

    Mattski states,
    Catholics don't have to pay for things they don't agree with on the same day that I no longer have to pay to supplement their tax exempt status.

    April 15, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Agreed!

    BTW, taxpayers are funding a "NOAH'S ARK PARK in the state of Kentucky!

    How do you taxpayers feel about that?

    April 16, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • Ronald Reganzo

      What a great idea ! A Noah's Ark Park !

      April 18, 2012 at 7:07 am |
  7. Bev

    Another group of men deciding what women want!

    April 16, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • Jarvis.Lorry

      I always found it odd that contraception is such an issue in the Church leadership. But I guess for a bunch of guys who never have to worry about having children themselves (or change diapers, or pay for college) they don't mind telling women to bite the bullet and have as many new Catholic babies as possible.

      April 16, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
  8. LR

    this is quite easy to solve. if you desire contraception, then you should buy it yourself.

    April 16, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
  9. LR

    The sloution is simple. if you want contraception, buy it yourself.

    April 16, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • M.F. Luder

      If your employer doesn't think you should take Crestor or Lipitor, I guess under your proposal, the employees are out of luck. I wonder if the church pays for Viagra?

      April 17, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
  10. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things ..

    April 16, 2012 at 7:54 am |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes otherwise intelligent and rational people into believing they can talk to an imaginary super friend.

      April 16, 2012 at 7:54 am |
    • Jesus

      *~Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      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.

      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!

      April 16, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • ElmerGantry

      Do not feed this repitive simpleton TROLL!

      April 16, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • ElmerGantry

      Do not feed the "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things" TROLL!

      It has a voracioüs apetïte for pulling people in.

      If you do not feed it will wither and go away!

      April 16, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • Jesus is Lord

      Prayer will always be encouraged and available.

      April 18, 2012 at 7:09 am |
    • Jesus

      "Prayer will always be encouraged and available."

      You're so full of crap. A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      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.

      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!!!

      April 18, 2012 at 11:14 am |
  11. Jim

    I am not a catholic, but I agree that the church should be able to operate among us in keeping with it's beliefs. The government should not be able to impose requirements on the catholic church that are against it's beliefs and doctrine. Beware, or you will see the government dictating to you to conform to what they think is best, even if it goes against your personal belief system.

    April 16, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • Lisannez

      Sure as soon as their hospital and schools stop taking federal money then t hey can do whatever they please. But until then not so much.

      April 17, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • M.F. Luder

      The government is dictating employee rights, which are well within its powers. The separation of church and state ends with employment legislation. The solution is simple, the church should not hire any employees. Many are already 1099s.

      April 17, 2012 at 11:16 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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.