Rubio brings bill to floor, charging a violation of religious liberties
February 1st, 2012
06:55 AM ET

Rubio brings bill to floor, charging a violation of religious liberties

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – Sen. Marco Rubio has introduced the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 2012, bringing to the Senate the ever growing charge that President Barack Obama and his administration are violating the rights of religious Americans.

The bill looks to repeal health care reform mandates that “violates religious liberties and conscience rights of faith-based institutions,” Rubio said in a news release.

The main concern from religious organizations has been the Department of Health and Human Services’ decision to finalize plans that would require church-affiliated organizations to offer private health care that would include contraceptives.

“The Obama Administration’s obsession with forcing mandates on the American people has now reached a new low by violating the conscience rights and religious liberties of our people,” said Rubio, a Florida Republican.

Religious organizations have until August 1, 2013 to comply with the decision – a year longer than most other employers.

According the Catholic League, this decision means religious organizations would basically be paying for contraceptives even if they do not use them.

“What’s at stake is the First Amendment right to religious liberty, and nothing goes to the heart of this civil liberty more than conscience rights,” said Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League.

But while Rubio and Donohue may charge a violation of liberties, presidential hopefuls have been much harder on the president’s relationship with religion. According to some of the Republican presidential hopefuls, Obama, a Christian, is waging a “war on religion.”

Following the aforementioned HHS decision, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said “the Obama administration is engaged in a war against religion.”

At a campaign event in Jacksonville, Florida, Gingrich continued by calling the decision “a direct violation of freedom and religion - an example of the increasingly dictatorial attitude of this administration.”

Before Texas Gov. Rick Perry dropped out of the presidential nomination process, he regularly said the president was engaging in a war on religion. In one ad, he promised to “end Obama’s war on religion” and to “fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage.”

White House press secretary Jay Carney said in response to the criticism that the decision was made after “very careful consideration” of the way the rule would affect religious organizations.

"I think it's fair to say that while there are those who take issue with the decision, millions of American women will have access to preventive services, as they should, appropriately, through the health care reform bill,” Carney said.

Carney also said that the administration will “work with religious group during a transitional period to discuss their concerns.”

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Catholic Church • Florida • Health care • Newt Gingrich • Obama • Rick Perry • United States

soundoff (198 Responses)
  1. kibcryz

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    November 27, 2013 at 11:28 pm |
  2. Anya Khan

    Thank you Sen Rubio for this brave and much needed bill. My prays are with you, and that the bill passes without a veto. The presidents attack on Catholics must stop.

    February 5, 2012 at 8:37 am |
  3. Reality

    Only for the newbies:

    Catholic leaders do not believe in artificial birth control so why do they employ those who do? Did not the Supreme Court recently decide that religious organizations have the right to decide who they hire and fire? Bottom line: To reduce health insurance costs and to not be subject to Obama care regulations about supplying contraceptives, the Catholics should simply not hire those in need of contraceptives and fire those who demand such coverage.

    There are different opinions as to what a religion really is or what a non-profit is. To be fair therefore, there should be no tax-exemptions for any group and that includes the Democratic and Republican Parties. Faith and community initiative grant monies should also be cancelled and there should also be no tax deductions for contributions made to charities and non-profits.

    February 2, 2012 at 8:28 am |
  4. lou

    Why make infantile comments about passages you have no idea what they are about. I am not preaching.... I was only stating a few facts,,, but simplicity seems to have gotten under your skin. Look at what Jesus said in that passage and whom He was talking to...there is a message in Gods messages and a message in Gods methods.. He who has ears, let him hear.
    The Pharisees of the time would show off their knowledge of the old testament scriptures in loud haughty was, bringing praise onto themselves.
    .1 Thessalonians 5:14-18
    New American Standard Bible (NASB)
    14 We urge you, brethren, admonish the [a]unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. 16 Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
    If the Word of God offends you, do not let in be a stumbling block.
    If you have never sinned, even in thought, you have no worries,,,

    February 2, 2012 at 2:26 am |
  5. The South needs more Atheist!


    February 1, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • Alfred E Neuman

      Two are two too many atheists to be in the south.

      February 1, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
  6. Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer causes small kids to get hit by buses when they aren't paying attention.
    Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
    Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
    Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
    Prayer fucks up your knees and your back.
    Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
    Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
    Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
    Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
    Prayer makes you post really stupid shit.
    Prayer makes you hoard cats.
    Prayer makes you crave the smell of kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
    Prayer wastes time.</b

    February 1, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • lou

      Your logic is astounding ...
      Lets see... Whales have blue eyes, John has blue eyes.. .John is a Whale.......

      February 2, 2012 at 2:29 am |
  7. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    Prayer changes lives

    February 1, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • Nope

      ~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.

      February 2, 2012 at 8:16 am |
    • BMW57

      The cry of the ignorant for the intervention of the non-existent.

      February 3, 2012 at 2:02 am |
  8. iamdeadlyserious

    White Christian Americans have to be the only people in the world who can be in power and feel persecuted at the same time.

    February 1, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • PrimeNumber

      Most western nations have reached zero or below population growth. These populations cannot replace their populations at the current rate of birth. Russia provides an example of what might happen. By 2050 Russia's population will have decreased by about 35 million. It's economy will have collapsed and it will be vulnerable to it's old enemy, China. China, with it's one child per family policy will possess a massive elderly population with relatively few young people to sustain them. The world will then have two desperate countries armed to the teeth with nukes.

      In a hundred years or so the US will be up for grabs between Catholic Latin American countries and Muslim ones. The grand-daughters of our current pro-choicers may be wearing saris. We don't expect the pro-choice proponents to think much higher than their pants. But the current office holder of the US presidency might give demographics some thought.

      February 1, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest


      Your stats might make sense for the U.S. except for the fact that the replacement birth rate needed by a country is 2.1 children per woman, and America is currently at 2.06. This number does not include immigration. In the last 10 years the american population increased 9.7%.

      h t t p://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/census/2011-01-06-us-population_N.htm

      That's where I got those numbers from btw.

      February 1, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • Flying Spaghetti Monster

      You do realize whites are only like 8% of the world's population and dwindling, right?

      February 1, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest


      The subject of ethnicity was not apart of the discussion, nor does it have any real bearing.

      February 1, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • Flying Spaghetti Monster

      just sayin.. don't make fun of minorities, that can get a man sued!

      February 1, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      When did I make fun of minorities?

      February 1, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • Dalila

      @PrimeNumber, if the US is going to be overrun by Muslims and Latin Americans, why would our granddaughters be wearing saris?

      February 1, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • Flying Spaghetti Monster

      Well, since I was talking to the OP, I'd say you probably haven't. Do you have some kind of complex? You know, like my wife does? Making everything about you?

      February 1, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest


      Your post came directly after mine....this is why people put the @(whoever) at the top of posts sometimes, or mentions who they are replying to in the post. Otherwise it is assumed that you are replying to the post directly before yours.

      February 1, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • Waqar

      Behdad, Je suis sfbr que je parle pour beaucoup plus de vos fans en plus de moi quand je dis que j'appre9cie nimraevt votre perspective de l'art de production de musique et de la ge9ne9rosite9 du fait de le distribuer. Dites merci!I apologize if my translation is bad, I am still learning the French language.Jay B.Virginia Beach, VA USA

      April 4, 2012 at 1:25 am |
  9. AGuest9

    A young, enti.tled republican forcing his views upon others. How original.

    February 1, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • captain america

      A dumb canadian forcing its views on Americans. How unoriginal (and totally useless) There's your sign

      February 1, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Hey cappie how's the trolling tonight, having fun? Feeling like the big man?

      February 1, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
  10. WASP

    @angry christians: if you don't like the country i fought for and a few of my friends died protecting; then don't let the door hit you where the good lord split you. america is free by the hands of those willing to stand up for her, our willingness to sacrifice our lives to protect your rights to be ignorant. like those "christians" that protested at fallen soldiers funerals. when i read that type of bigotry, i was ready to gather a few of my friends and show them what the brotherhood of the enlisted are willing to do to protect everyones' rights. this charlatan is merely attempting to rally the ignorant masses to what he thinks america should be. america is land of the free and home of the brave because men and women throughout history gave their lives to protect your right to complain. remember freedom isn't free, it costs blood,sweat and tears. if the government has to emforce a law to make people understand that something as simple as a male contraceptive or female version will protect them from then spread of disease then so be it. hell they had to enforce a law making companies put the words "hot" in two languages on coffee cups because some half wits burned themselves with guess what.........hot coffee. so continue to be ignorant but when your daughter gets pregnant or your son gets a STD pray it away. don't tell them they could have prevented such problems with a simple understanding of how to use contraceptives and the fact that they work.

    February 1, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • urafkntool

      w-t-f are you babblin about? Are you goin senile or something? Miss your meds?

      February 1, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • urafkntool

      I've got an even better idea. Make wh0rin around against the law. Make only monogamous, committed relations legal. Anything else punishable by execution. That'll stop the spread of disease quick.

      February 1, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest


      Go troll somewhere else you tool.

      February 1, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • urafkntool

      go fk urself up the a-z-z with a red hot aluminum baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire 🙂

      February 1, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • PrimeNumber

      "like those "christians" that protested at fallen soldiers funerals" Just so you know, WASP. A year ago I was in MacAlester, Oklahoma. On that day, the town was burying a native son fallen in combat. There was a march and other memorials. The "christians" you refer to showed up to protest at the funeral. MacAlester is a predominately Baptist, conservative, Christian city. Those "christians" were firmly driven out of town, and not by just a few citizens. Please keep this in mind next time your liberal media news outlet begins chattering.

      February 1, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • natg83

      haha! i like your answer wasp!

      i went to catholic school and i could never understand why there was such hypocrisy in the catholic religion. nuns and priests clearly told us that anything that harms the body is a sin, so why do i see priests smoking cigarettes?! my cousin has a rare condition that forces her to take birth control in order to regulate her hormones, because if she doesn't she can develop cervical cancer within one year of not taking any form of birth control.

      the catholic church is obstructing public safety in my eyes! if people won't let abortion become legal in the US, then at least let girls 17+ get birth control!!

      February 1, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • WASP

      @primenumber: what i was refering to when i stated christian are the crazies that hide within religion for shelter. have your beliefs live by whatever doctrine you wish, but i just want religion to stay out of politics. if there is a law passed that helps the many but upsets the few, then so be it.....as long as it falls in line with equal treatment under the law and doesn't cause harm to anyone physically. a catholic doesn't want his daughter or son to use contresptives so be it, but if they are running a business and not for profit does make a profit, check the defintion, then they should abide by the law of the land that covers all business, the reason for my comparision to the coffee fiasco.my ranting was about that i fought for a free nation founded on equal rights and fair treatment, not a christian nation that seems to be the issue being pushed by some religious folks. if someone uses religion to fight reason then they are trying to force their beliefs into our laws and that isn't acceptible. next time i will attempt to be more clear as far as my statements.

      February 2, 2012 at 10:09 am |
  11. PeterVN

    I'm sorry I've been so mean everyone, I haven't had it up the butt lately since my g@y lover took off.

    February 1, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      Good heavens (pun intended) these boards seemed to have taken a sharp turn for the worse lately.

      February 1, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  12. cnnbot


    February 1, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  13. George

    I'm glad to see that someone is willing to stand up for Christians. I hope the trend continues. Obama is a pretend Christian who secretly longs for a completely secular society.

    February 1, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Brad

      I wish I could tell what people secretly long for, George. To my eyes and ears Obama has been an unusually diligent and honest president. I accept his claim to being Christian on the same basis as I do yours. I will, in all likelihood, vote for him in 2012.

      February 1, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • George

      Obama is a liar and deceiver. Unless he repents and becomes a true Christian he'll be gnashing his teeth for eternity in the unquenchable fire. We need a true Christian – and Evangelical to undo the evil Obama has done.

      February 1, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Brad

      How would you identify this true Christian Evangelical?

      February 1, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • George

      He will support an Amendment that will officially define this nation as a Christian one.

      February 1, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Brad

      I don't know of any candidate who supports such an Amendment. I suspect it's not a popular idea, particularly since it would require repealing the 1st Amendment.

      February 1, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Stormfront

      @George: Obongo is too busy being a muslim.

      February 1, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Rose

      "Unless he repents and becomes a true Christian he'll be gnashing his teeth for eternity in the unquenchable fire"

      You have no idea of his relationship with his God. For you to lie and pass judgment on him demonstrates why Evangelical Christians like you are such loser and don't follow the true teachings of Christ.

      February 1, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • The Bear Jew

      Getting enough fluoride "Stormfront"?

      February 1, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • Stormfront

      @TheBearTrash: Getting your garbage packed, Jew?

      February 1, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • The Bear Jew

      You're the last one "Stormfront".

      February 1, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Observer


      You guys don't wear robes and shit, do you?

      February 1, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Stormfront

      @TheBearTrash: I'm the last one, what, k-i-k-e? I think we proved not too long ago that I'm not the only one aware of what you k-i-k-e-s do.

      February 1, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Stormfront

      @Observer: hel-l-l-l-l-l-l no. I usually wear shorts and a T-shirt, but right now I'm in business casual (working.) Some of us wear jeans, some of us wear suits.

      February 1, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • George R

      This is the OP. The ONLY post that I made in this thread besides this one is the OP itself.

      February 1, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • AGuest9

      MANY of us long for a completely secular society.

      February 1, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • Woody

      "Obama is a pretend Christian who secretly longs for a completely secular society."

      The Founding Fathers, of the USA, longed for a completely secular society. The US Const-tution, whether you approve of it or not, IS a secular docu-ment. Nowhere in it's text,will you find the words "Christ" or "Christian", or the names of any other deity. The Founding Fathers were less than a century removed from the Salem Witch Trials and not too far removed from the Inquisitions in Europe. They well understood the dangers of a State sanctioned religion, and/or giving religious leaders political power. If you desire to live in a country where religion and government are one and the same, I suggest that your relocate to a Muslim controlled country. I suspect you will quickly appreciate the benefits of a completely secular society.

      February 1, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
  14. George

    Sombody has stolen my name and posting as if they were me. I can speak for myself, thank you. This site needs to require registration so that no one can post under another's name. It's so silly and juvenile. I guess I should find it flattering as the old saying goes about immitation.

    This is my first post of the day.

    February 1, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • George

      Fake George, stop lying

      February 1, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • George

      if it's so silly and juvenile, then why do i keep doing it then. Answer me that me!

      February 1, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Wholly Goats

      George: "This site needs to require registration so that no one can post under another's name."

      Or, you could just "pray" that nobody would post under your name... quite a few folks here allege that it works.

      February 1, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • RU12?

      Try /b/ , you'll enjoy it a lot more than trolling here.

      February 1, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • georger2012

      Ok, fake George, I've taken steps that you won't be able to immitate.

      February 1, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • George

      Well that kinda takes the fun of it georger2012. it was a good run though.

      February 1, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Janet

      You didn't answer the nspiatam question correctly, your comment was not saved. Press "Back" and answer the question better.Just to be sure that your message won't be lost – copy it now to the clipboard. 搞得我很紧张来着.. 特地来留言测试一下下....果然..是啥子插件啊?压根都木有问题出来

      March 31, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
  15. travelinpants

    And another thing. Americans are sh it e he ad s for not demanding health care fo r the po or and un for tun ate bein gs who nee d it no ma tt er what the politics and heal th ca re in du st ry say. These guys hav e bee n ma ki ng bi ll ion do ll ar pro fits throu gh one of th e mos t di fficul t times in our co ntr ys history in al mos t o ne hu ndred years. What a h old po li ti cs and cl ass ism ha s on the de ci din g vot ers in this cou ntry

    February 1, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
  16. travelinpants

    These elected officials have the aud acity to shoot down any form of health care options that step on the money toes of big health care in dus try in this country. This guy is a poli ti cian. His number one mission is to steal, kil l and destroy for whomever pays him the most money, point blank. He could care less about the working poor and their health.

    February 1, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
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About this blog

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.