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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. Birch please

    My religion say that non-believers must be killed.... and laws against murder go against my freedom of religion.

    April 13, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • andyst

      Im hoping that you are just trying to start an argument with someone, because I cant believe that someone who would say that would have enough active brain cells to carry on any manner of existance.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
  2. andyst

    Keeping your legs closed is a right that you can freely execise. Contraceptive devices and medication is NOT a right it is a convenience for those that cant exercise the previously stated right.

    April 13, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • solex

      I am betting that your dance card is wide open...

      April 13, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • Birch please

      If medical treatment is not a right then guess we should start turning away all those sick children and let them die in the streets.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • andyst

      Im not saying you cant use it but dont confuse it with a right. Also this is not a case of someone injured or dying, so how could you compare it with sick children, very callous and also not it the same league at all.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
  3. ART

    Where o where are they hiding the little boys, under their robes

    April 13, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  4. St Xavier

    Church an State should be separate in all matters no matter where in the world.

    April 13, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  5. Andrew

    the contraception debacle is such a non issue. this just smacks of old men trying to be relevant.

    April 13, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  6. Mark

    The catholic church makes me sick

    April 13, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
  7. Dan

    It's the 21st century. When will people forget about this little fairy tale?

    April 13, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Birch please

      When we stop the brainwashing of children

      April 13, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
  8. Larry Pooface

    Tax 'em.

    April 13, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
  9. RB

    In all this debate about women's contraception and the Catholic Church, I am would like to know what the churches position is on vasectomies and more interesting do the insurance plans allow single men to obtain Viagra? If so, shouldn't the church abolish that as well. What does a single guy need Viagra for?

    April 13, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Birch please

      Because men are more important.. duh

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

      I am a single woman pregnant with my 9th child and strictly follow the rules and don't take contraceptives. While all the libtards in here are spewing venom against contraceptives – I'm having the last laugh because it is their tax dollars that are giving me child tax credits and food stamps. While my life on earth is hell look forward to having the last laugh again in heaven when all the jerks commenting on this story are in hell. GOD IS GREAT.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
  10. Luis Cipher

    I am an agnostic, dyslexic, insomniac. I stay awake all night wondering if there is a Dog.

    April 13, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
  11. Gawd

    We need to start taxing this corrupt business.

    April 13, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
  12. Cate

    Purely political ploy on their part..R.C. now means Republican Catholic and is why I left the Church. There is NO WAR on religious freedom...If they want to play politics then PAY TAXES

    April 13, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
  13. Dana

    It is unbelievable that people continue to give these pedophiles money every week.

    April 13, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
  14. Dadster

    They lost all respect and now want to change the focus from them to this lame excuse.
    The Republicans must be offering them the world to do this.
    If they really wanted respect they should have announced a "Pedophile Freedom" campaign.

    April 13, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
  15. Renait

    You know what is also an American issue? Protecting our children from pedophiles.

    April 13, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • budburgoonclark

      The paedophile and CASTRATION scandal killed the Roman Church; they just haven't gotten around to burying the body.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
  16. Religion Liberty

    Just because a catholic business has to pay for contraception does not mean that the catholics that work there have to take it. Beliefs can be prejudiced and wrong, forcing someone to not receive birth control (even a married woman for example) is up to her alone. I agree, churches who make over a certain amount should be taxed. It's sickening how much funding they receive from states and the federal government in the US so I have no sympathy for their complaining.

    April 13, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
  17. Luis Cipher

    Religion is for suckers.

    April 13, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
  18. Flicka

    As a Catholic, I dont mind that a place that I work at, even Catholic, would have health insurance that pays for contraception. I say this because it does not matter if the option is there, what matters is what I as an individual choose on my own. It means more to have an individual choose the right way despite the available easy temptations.

    April 13, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
  19. Dan

    It's not my most cherished freedom. Don't speak for me.

    April 13, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
  20. Birch please

    Our government needs freedom from religion!

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

      In what ways is our government bound by religion?

      April 13, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • Lee

      Our government HAS freedom from religion. How would one be afforded the freedom of their own religion without the freedom from everyone else's?

      April 13, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Birch please

      Alex, that is the whole point of this debate.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:06 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.