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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)
  1. Chuck

    Wow, looking at these posts I'd call that hate talk. Most need to really back up what is said here. You would rather my tax money go to abortions which I feel is murder vs some women going to another health provide for birth control, or yah using my tax money for it.

    I ask all you science people out there. If we found a single celled life form on mars would we kill it or jump for joy because we found life on another planet? Reply all you want after reading most posts here I find some interesting, but most misinformed. Enjoy.

    April 13, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • jimtanker

      NO, we would rather give people the right to make choices for themselves. Since 98% of all Catholics in the US and 96% of all Catholic women in the US use birth control I think it is more a problem that the church has in controlling their sheeple.

      Just because they don’t want their own people to have abortions doesn’t mean that no one should be able get one.

      April 13, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      Chuck,,,,,,,,,,,, ,

      Do not women have misscariages? Do they not have still births? Who then is to say as you said I "feel" that abortion is murder when one considers the "natural" murdering ways of misscariages and still births?

      April 13, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • ortidefan

      I would rather my money go directly to poor people instead of giving these pedophiles tax breaks for their fancy buildings.

      END RELIGIOUS TAX EXEMPTIONS!

      April 13, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  2. WASP

    keep religion out of american politics............but truth give it a year and i won't live here anymore.........if a repub gets elected.

    April 13, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
  3. Luis Cipher

    While very few of us have ever been touched by and angel, most of us have been touched inappropriately by a priest.

    April 13, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
  4. prufrock

    Really, the Catholic Bishops. The same Bishops that hid pedophiles for years. The Church no longer has any say on issues of Morality.

    April 13, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • just sayin

      The church is disgusting as well as the followers. The followers clearly supporting r a p e

      April 13, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
  5. just sayin

    Catholic Church represents everything wrong and primitive in our society.

    April 13, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • just sayin

      In addition it is time to start taxing the churches. Start small...like boiling frogs slowly. Perhaps start a bracket. When the churches reacha certain size, then they start getting taxed. Time to update out tax code and laws.

      April 13, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      All, "built by the hands of humanists" churches have no heart nor soul nor holy spirit of God! They are as empty shells with no powers! The "True Churches" of the Kingdoms of God lay within/inside the bodies of the people and all other forms of Life upon this Earth and where ever within the Celestial Cosmos of Dimensional Tranquilities!

      April 13, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • just sayin

      Pipe, when I was a Chrisitan my views were more in line with what you state regarding churches being empty shells. The smaller ones seemed mor ein line vs the large money changer churches.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • just sayin

      In a way I am thanbkful for the churches being what they are. It pushed me to get to the root of my faith and walk into the wilderness. I sought a true relationship with Christ. Just me, my bible and the animals. My discovery was the void, no Christ, no Holy Spirit....just me, my creative mind and the animals around me. I have the corrupt church, fakes and delusional people to thank.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • just sayin

      Little side note, I was headed on a path to preach the word. Funny looking back, the outcome of my walk was far from what I had ever thought would happen. I have to chuckle.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  6. Marley

    Religious liberty?

    More like their financial liberty is being attacked.

    April 13, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  7. Nii

    Most people forget this fact that religions including atheism tend to develop a "4 legs good 2legs bad" philosophy in the long run. The govt shud strive to foster unity rather than division even in a diverse society otherwise it favours one. Atheism shudn't be favoured using a secular sheepskin.

    April 13, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Marley

      ATHEISM is NOT a religion. It is the LACK-of belief in religions.

      April 13, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Not collecting stamps is a hobby

      April 13, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Luis Cipher

      Atheism is the new enlightened movement. Free yourself of religion and free your mind.

      April 13, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Jonathan

      Atheism isn't a religion. Don't be stupid...

      April 13, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Aezel

      "Atheism is a religion like abstinence is a hot s∑x position."

      April 13, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • WASP

      @NII-tard: (crackes whip in direction) back in to your cave troll. atheist "belief" is about knowledge and the betterment of human-kind and the world. theists are all about dying and "going to a better place" lmfao get real.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • ortidefan

      Atheism is not a religion. Religions are based on IGNORANCE and FAITH. While Atheism is based on THOUGHT and REASON!

      April 13, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  8. DoNotWorry

    Why should anyone listen to a bunch of old pedophiles that live in luxury instead of following Jesus Christ as they claim?

    April 13, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
  9. CY

    I am certain the Catholic priest will be more willing to tell the police when their colleagues in-appropriately touch young boys. Clean your house before you clean our. You bunch of hypocrites. Contracetion is great for women. Something you will not know but want to have an opinion about.

    April 13, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  10. Sy2502

    There is no attack on religion. To these people, keeping religion out of politics IS an attack on religion.
    As for the contraception issue, an employer has no business sticking his nose in what a doctor prescribes their employees in the privacy of their office. Just like some employees wouldn't want the employer to know they are prescribed medication for delicate issues like mental illness, or bedroom dysfunctions, why should the employer know an employee is being prescribed contraception? It's not a matter of freedom of religion, it's a matter of privacy.

    April 13, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • Rbnlegnd101

      Churches are churches, and should have some special leeway. Putting the word "christian" in the name of your plumbing company, or on the sign, doesn't make you a church and doesn't mean you should be treated like one. Same with a hospital or a bank. If the catholic church insists that not letting any business have the special considerations due to a church, then we should re-think what those considerations should be.

      April 13, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  11. Maui62

    How about just stop diddling kids...

    April 13, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
  12. lance corporal

    any church with a budget over $100,000 / anum should be considered a business and should be taxed

    April 13, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • kamarasune

      I don't like that some beliefs feel that a black tarp should be tossed over women but those same women defend that very practice so who am I to tell them different...or what other may or may not believe?

      April 13, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
  13. ptsdLOADING

    Freedom of Religion, Ha – have you seen catholic school tuition prices? If you want to talk about free anything, that's where you should start!

    April 13, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
  14. Nii

    This is the funniest thing ever said about the Torah that because the last two chapters talk about Moses' death they were not written by him! Why, is it that people who write autobiographies can't ask for it to be finished by another? Don't write like an illiterate ignoramus.

    April 13, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
  15. Doc Vestibule

    The fact that the hierarchy of a caste that takes a vow of poverty lives in an opulent palace should tip people off to their inherent hyprocisy.

    April 13, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Plus the pink shawls might suggest you keeps your sons anuses as far from them as possible.

      April 13, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • Nii

      Why William Demuth? I thought u loved gays! Thats so bad! Shame on you! How do u now intend to have me encourage gay rights? Well speak up! I haven't got all day! Atheists love gays my foot. They love atheist gays only it seems. I dont even trust them there. Hah!

      April 13, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      Atheists don't equate pedo's with gays. You just make yourself look sooooo dumb. Religious people are great at feeling smart while they embarrass themselves.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  16. Patti

    THE ISSUE is that the Cardinals, Bishops and Priests can't mind their own business.

    April 13, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
  17. lance corporal

    how about they take on their clergymens attack on our children??? no?

    April 13, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
  18. HolierThanThoudisgustedgod

    Cool – if they don't want to follow fed rules and regulations will they stop being parasites and not accept any fed dollars either??

    April 13, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      Our voice will be heard! We have to actively fight this. Why should I be paying taxes for pedophiles to lobby politicians?

      April 13, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
  19. Voice of Reason

    POPE LEO X

    April 13, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  20. sick of republican phonies

    Tax the land the freeloading churches sit on. That should help the deficit.

    April 13, 2012 at 12:37 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.