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.”

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

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)
  1. YBP

    But what about the Church's war on everyone else (which has been ongoing since Constantine, for the past 1,700 years)?

    April 13, 2012 at 11:56 am |
  2. greg

    If this is an American issue, then liberty first. We are a nation founded on being free of religious oppression.

    April 13, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • mary smith

      who's oppressing who, here?

      April 13, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  3. WWJeffD

    The Vatican still doesn't get it. Since the Church is a Dictatorship it's incapable of understanding
    the nuances of either Religion or Democracy.
    So – One more time Morons – The church doesn’t get to tell the State what to do and vice versa.
    And by the way check the calendar – The Middle Ages are over.

    April 13, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • YBP

      Awesome post.

      April 13, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • notea4me


      April 13, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  4. Hmmmmm

    What the hell is that in the picture? A Good n' Plenty convention?

    April 13, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • YBP

      They're getting ready to march in the Pride Parade. Hot pink is the new black.

      April 13, 2012 at 11:58 am |
  5. MK

    The only reason the church has an objection to birth control is because this prevents the sheep from breeding and breeding more sheep for their flocks of mindless followers.

    April 13, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • YBP

      ...mindless followers with money to donate.

      April 13, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • sam stone

      you got to admit.....as gigs go, this is a pretty good one

      April 13, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
  6. notea4me

    Catholics don't listen to these fools. Why even put give them time on CNN? And by the way, since they want to be political activist, then they should lose their tax exempt status.

    April 13, 2012 at 11:54 am |
  7. Big Bang

    These so called "attacks" on christianity are nothing more than people exercising COMMON SENSE!! I know that the catholic church is not a big fan of this at all, but common sense works! Common sense would tell you to NOT TOUCH LITTLE BOYS... And it is obvious that they lack common sense! Here is an attack for the Card's: The Big Bang is real, we evolved from sincle celled bacteria, you are more closely related to a monkey than you are 'God', and the boogy-man/god... IS A FUXING PHONY cereated by the church to keep primitive people in line and afraid to think for themselves, because if they realize how much BS they were being fed, they would have revolted and killed every last one of those liars!

    April 13, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • sharon

      Couldn't have said it better.

      April 13, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • YBP

      It's not exactly "little boys" they're after. Their victims are usually impressionable, "sensitive" young men.

      April 13, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
  8. Copper's Donut Shoppe

    "a picture is worth a thousand words"

    the one above says it all – a bunch of old white men in drag

    April 13, 2012 at 11:52 am |
  9. CAH

    Maybe the Catholic church should get off it high horse and stop taking my tax dollars. I am not Catholic and I believe in birth control so by their way of thinking my tax dollars should not go to the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is attacking my beliefs of my tax dollars benefitting the common good. They are cherry-picking what they have to provide all the while taking our tax dollars. Maybe we need to start our own campaign against the Catholic Church and send it tax exemptions and federal handouts monies back to the people where it came from!

    April 13, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • notea4me

      That's right. And why are our tax dollars being used to bus kids to catholic schools. It's against my beliefs.

      April 13, 2012 at 11:56 am |
  10. Paul Elkins

    It's ironic that those demanding religious freedom are the same ones who demand we live by their religious doctrine

    April 13, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • PulTab

      Well said.

      April 13, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
  11. Frankezl

    I am hearing a lot of talk about how the Catholic Church is "out of touch with reality" and needs to "get with the times." I don't think that this could be farther from the truth. The Catholic Church if anything realizes that "the times" and "the reality" that we are facing are filled with great despair and require ACTION. Our society is currently based on three things: Individualism, Hedonism, and Minimalism. Not exactly the pillars that lead to a thriving populus. If everyone does something, does that make it right? I think that we all need to ask ourselves, "Am I living MY LIFE in a way that fosters the BEST VERSION of myself?" If we all strove to this ideal, the world would be a lot better place.

    April 13, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • waitasec

      "the reality" of saying that it is better to get aids then to use condoms says it's time to change and progress

      April 13, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • Copper's Donut Shoppe

      and yet another glazed over christian fanatic has spoken

      April 13, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • Colin

      If altar boys could get pregnant, contraception would be a holy duty

      April 13, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • BucketDrop

      According to the church, "our times" have been going on for a couple thousand years and each year is full of "horrible human traits" that must be stamped down to make way for god's will. This is not true. Humanity has been getting far less violent (see Steven Pinker's book), more intelligent (see any science book), and far more capable at co-existence (see the size of our cities) than we ever have been in the past. The church offers a message of despair and redemption for this despair they have convinced you to have. Reason offers a message of positive prosperity and hope.

      April 13, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
  12. waitasec

    is an attack of free thought...

    April 13, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • BucketDrop

      No. Spirituality could possibly be an attach of free thought. Religion is the opposite (a pre-definition of what thoughts you should have by a particular body of human beings).

      April 13, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
  13. Pipe-Dreamer

    God is but God and though there may be many ever so many "elemental gods", there can be but One, Celestial God.

    April 13, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • waitasec

      says who?

      April 13, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • OOO

      "God is but God"
      Can you translate to 21st century english?

      April 13, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • todd in DC

      God is a Flying Spaghetti Monster with meatball eyes, and multiple noodly appendiges. All revel in His Noodleness.

      April 13, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      waitasec,,,,,,,,,,,, ,

      Says who? Who asks,"Says who"?

      April 13, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
  14. Pope Bubba the Drunk

    It goes against my religion to pay taxes, and my religion promotes smokin' meth. The govermnet is holden' mah people down!

    April 13, 2012 at 11:49 am |
  15. Catholicshutup

    I love how men who wear purple dresses are so against gays. Take away the Catholic and Mormon tax exempt status. They are now political organizations. As a Unitarian, nobody cares that MY religious freedoms are being limited: I am gay and that's fine in my church, however, my church can't "legally" marry me to my partner because the government does not honor my religion's belief. These holdovers from the Dark Ages actively seek special treatment for themselves and actively seek to to deny me MY religious freedom. Bishops shut up!

    April 13, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      Catholicshutup,,,,,,,,,,,, ,

      When humanists' eyes do no longer stay focued on the God of Creation, they begin to impart themselves as Godliness Beings even though they know not God's Truths and God's Mightiness Ways!

      April 13, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • BucketDrop

      Pipedreamer, when "god of creation" is defined by a bunch of old guys, you get the Catholic Church. You only know the capitalize the word "god" because some old guy (or girl) told you it was the way to do it.

      April 13, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
  16. Lee s

    Look at all those yamikas, sure this is catholic?

    April 13, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  17. DPGW

    HOLY BUNCH OF OLD WHITE GUYS, BATMAN! Is that the american catholic bishops or the board of directors for JP Morgan?

    April 13, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  18. Colin

    Who am I? I have never paid a tax in my life. I enjoy all the benefits and protections of the federal, state and local government, but contribute nothing to it. Not only that, but I have never worked in my life.

    I produce nothing, repair nothing and contribute nothing. I live off the generosity of others – off donations. In my entire adult life, I will do nothing but give people false hope for a life after death that any thinking person now knows is complete nonsense. Or, put another way, I am a parasite who lives off false promises. Worse, I am a self-deluded parasite who does not see what I am doing. I am:

    (a) A conman and loan shark
    (b) A rich kid who has lived at home his entire adult life; or
    (c) A Catholic Priest.

    April 13, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • Rob

      You forgot about molesting young boys, ruining their lives, and covering it up so they can continue to do it.

      April 13, 2012 at 11:56 am |
  19. blastoff

    With the rosters of the religious sects continuously dwindling, they are desperate to grasp on to something to "rally the troops" around. Traditionally that has been abortion, but that subject has been played out for 40 years now. No new ground to tread on there.

    But with Obama handing them a present in the guise of contraception, they can now resurrect that oldie, but goodie, the religious persecution card! However, we are now very aware what the tactics are, and I suspect this new campaign will also fade away soon.

    April 13, 2012 at 11:46 am |
  20. vtxrider

    There are no attacks on religious liberty, except for Christian attacks on Islam. These churches are upset because the more they try to force others to follow their beliefs, the more people push back.

    We have freedom of religion in our country. That does not give the right of one group to force others to live by their rules in the public sector.

    April 13, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • pottermaine


      April 13, 2012 at 11:46 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44
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.