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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. anonymous

    These leaders do not represent the whole of the Catholic population. Many of us think the opposite. They do not speak for all of us.

    April 12, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
  2. DsOpinion

    Some clarity in this article would be useful, the church in many of these cases is not simply required to do those things, they are required to do those things in order to be subsidized by the government. Essentially, they want government money. Note that they themselves say that in some states they are being "run out of business", thats exactly right, because they are a business.

    April 12, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • CatSh

      Thank you!

      April 12, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • RynB

      Exactly!!!! They don't mind government interference when it is mailing a check or avoiding tax on millions of dollars being brought in – that is OK.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • Casey

      I'm sorry, but the Church does not receive any government funding. They do have a tax exempt status, so they don't PAY taxes... except the priests pay income tax like everybody else. The Church gets their income from donations. No government funding.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • MN

      @Casey- another person who really has no idea what the topic at hand is. The main point is that BUSINESSES that churches run, like hospitals, universities, and the like, need to abide by the same rules as ALL OTHER BUSINESSES, they don't get to make up and decide which laws they feel like following. And they certainly DO take government money for these businesses. This isn't about the actual church, they already have an exemption from the law, but their BUSINESSES do not. Please be informed before trying to MISinform others.

      April 14, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  3. Jim

    If you want to see what is wrong in America today, just read through these comments. I'm not Catholic, but I was shocked at the amount of discrimination, name calling, and hatred I found. It always amazes me how narrow minded and quick to judge people can be. It is just as wrong to say that all Catholics are politically-motivated pedophiles as it is to say that all non-religious people are lazy, degenerate drug-addicts. Neither one is even remotely true. Regardless of what side you take on this issue, we will never accomplish anything until we learn to respect other people's values and have an open, mature discussion.

    April 12, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • Casey

      Thank you

      April 12, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Ahahhhah. What a laugh that Casey is pretending to agree to acceptance of others' views!

      Hypocrite, thy name is Casey.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • wolfloversk

      Ditto! You people have honestly forgotten the Holocaust haven't you... shameful. Don't you know where the path of stereotypes leads? It means losing our freedom, and a world full of war and hate. Think outside the box... Before you judge someone see life through their eyes.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
  4. seyedibar

    need more lions... and a bigger Colisseum.

    April 12, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • CatSh

      Or slower Christians......;)

      April 12, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
  5. HumeSaves

    Those fairyologists are hindering the progress of man.

    April 12, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • wolfloversk

      I wouldn't call this progress. Climate change, recessions, wars, hatred, stereotyping- nope, not progress. If the government required you to do something you thought was completely wrong would you fight it or not? Try to see the views of others before you judge them

      April 12, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
  6. CatSh

    If they want religious freedom, they shouldn't be taking money from the government. I don't want my tax dollars supporting a religion I don't believe in anyway.

    April 12, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • Casey

      Ummmm... what? The Church receives no support from the Government. Please do some research. You have no idea what the Church is, or does. You just don't like it because it's politically expediant?

      April 12, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • CatSh

      Read the article, Casey. The church is complaining because the government changed their contract....

      April 12, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Casey can't read.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • Casey

      Please! who can't read?? LOL... it says that the Gov is going to make the Church refer all the people they help immigrate (as paid for by the Catholic Church) to abortion and contrecption services. The Church does all sorts of good things... like helping immigrants... but they are very clear that they feel abortion is murder. They don't want the government forcing them to teach or refer people to these services.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Casey, you write as if you're about 15 years old. Alert the media when you're either literate or eligible to vote.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Of course the church receives support from the government-in that it pays no taxes. If it is going to employ people to work for it, it must obey the laws of the nation.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
  7. Bob

    We have separation of church and state and yet these people insist on forcing their religion on the rest of us. As far as I'm concerned every religion should be replaced by a secular organization that both accepts what we have learned from scientific discovery.

    April 12, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
  8. seyedibar

    For starters, lets take away the tax exempt status of every religious based organization that turns a profit. One of my cities' churches just lost their tax status and they have to pony up 8 million dollars for 2011 alone! Think of the much needed boost that would give our public coffers.

    April 12, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
  9. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Really, it's just a laugh how the male religious nuts think replicating is a religious and patriotic duty, especially when they aren't the ones who are doing the heavy lifting.

    Get bent, you little dick wads. You want to support population growth? Get a job. Grow a brain. Unless you are prepared to support the birth rate you're advocating, get lost.

    Women aren't going to be your brood mares.

    April 12, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • pucksprite

      Eew. Like the Duggars? Ick, those people are so disgusting. I wonder if they do it while all 19 children are at home. Ick

      April 12, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
  10. Tom from Atlanta

    The Catholic Church is so concerned about the common good. They have hidden child molesters for years and still are.

    April 12, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • Hadenuffyet

      I doubt they have a monopoly on it..

      April 12, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
  11. DMR

    Since the Bishops wish to involve the CAtholic Church in politics, then they should be required to pay taxes. It is time to end the tax exempt status of the Catholic Church as they do not understand that part of the limitation in relation to their tax exempt status is they cannot be politically involved. It appears the bishops fail to appreciate that limitation.

    Suggesting that it is time to start taxing the Catholic Church is hardly anti-church, but rather a reflection of the Catholic Church and their administration demonstrating once again their contempt for the laws of the United States. Their tax exempt status is a gift from the local, state, and Federal governments that has some requirements, the bishops are electing to ignore those requirements. The legal penalty for ignoring the requirements is a revocation of their tax exempt status.

    April 12, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
  12. Casey

    The Catholic Church is working to protect the freedoms that our County was founded on... and indeed what is written in our Const*tution. How can anyone be against that? Or... are all you peeps willing to give up your personal freedom so you can win an election? REALLY????

    April 12, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
  13. † In God We Trust †

    Reasons why Atheism is TERRIBLE and unhealthy for our children and living things...

    † Atheism is a religion that makes you stupid, ignorant & blind.
    † Atheism is a disease that needs to be treated.
    † Atheism makes you post stupid things (90% of silly comments here are posted by closet Atheists)
    † Atheist are satanic and have gothic lifestyle.
    † Atheists causes problem in our religious society.
    † Atheists are mentally ill, that's why they have no faith.
    † Atheism won't take you to kingdom of heaven and paradise.
    † Atheism making you agree with Stalin, Hitler (Denied his faith later), Mao, Pol Pot & other terrible mass murder leaders.
    † No traditional family lifestyle, no holidays, no culture, boring and feeling 'outsider'
    † Atheists are angry, drug additcted and committ the most crime.
    † Atheist try to convert people over internet because they feel "safer" behind closet.
    † Atheists do not really exist, they just pretend that they don't believe in God and argue with religious people.
    † Atheists have had terrible life experience, bad childhood and not being loved.
    † Most Atheists are uneducated... No Atheists could run for presidency.
    † Atheism brought upon the French Revolution, one of the most evil events of all of history.
    † Atheism cannot explain the origins of the universe, therefore God exists.
    † All atheists believe in evolution, which means they don't believe in morality and think we should all act like animals.
    † The Bible says atheism is wrong, and the Bible is always right (see: Genesis 1:1, Psalms 14:1, Psalms 19:1, Romans 1:19-20)
    † Countries where Atheism is prevalent has the highest Suicide rate & Communist countries = Atheism!
    **Only 2-3% of the U.S. are Atheists/Agnostics VS. over 90% who believe in God (80% Christians) in the U.S.**

    †† Our Prayers goes to Atheists to be mentally healthy and seek their creator ††

    April 12, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • pucksprite

      Hey, would you like to be a human sacrifice? It's for a religious cause... God will praise you.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • Atheism Turned Me Into A NEWT!!!!!

      I got better . . .

      April 12, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • Bob

      Hey Mr. Manson, I'm sorry you didn't get paroled today, but you don't need to take it out on the rest of us.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • NoTheism

      I am going to ignore most of your claims and focus on two in particular because they are particularly stupid..
      † Atheism cannot explain the origins of the universe, therefore God exists.
      If god can be eternal, why can't the universe be the same? You can't explain the origin of God, and if everything has a beginning, then why is God exempt from this? That's called special pleading.
      † All atheists believe in evolution, which means they don't believe in morality and think we should all act like animals.
      ABSOLUTELY FALSE. Intelligent atheists believe in evolution, but atheism is NOT a belief system and other than not accepting the claim that a god exists, an atheist can be a capitalist, a communist, a liberal, a conservative, or even a theologian, actually.
      "they don't believe in morality and think we should all act like animals."
      Watch Shelly Kagan and William Lane Craig debate, then come back, because you clearly know nothing about morality.

      More or less, all your statements are either false, misleading, or otherwise ridiculous.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • LMAO

      Okay, here is the best line: "Atheism makes you post stupid things (90% of silly comments here are posted by closet Atheists)"

      Yes, that is just sayin admitting that he is a closet atheist!

      April 12, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • Groucho Marxist

      This infantile rant makes me want to stay far away from religion if it is populated by ignorant, misinformed sheep.... like this poster.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • DsOpinion

      Indeed, the bible helps with lots of different situations:

      And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money. Ex.21:20-21

      April 12, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • CatSh

      Can you PLEASE STOP posting that silly rant on every article on the Belief section? It's getting OLD......

      April 12, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • Voltaire

      So let me guess, talking to invisible creatures in the sky is the product of a sane mind?

      April 13, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  14. seyedibar

    It's far past the time of outlawing all this primitive nonsense. The founders of this country did their best to provide us freedom from religion in our legal framework, but after 2 and a half centuries, it just isn't working out. Let's stop placating these madmen and their invisible sorcerors.

    April 12, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • Casey

      You should move to a different Country... I would suggest North Korea, or perhaps Russia. Then you can have the Government Ban all the things you want, or don't understand. You are clearly NOT AN AMERICAN. So... why don't you just leave and go someplace you'll be happy?

      April 12, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You idiot, no one is banning anything. You are free to worship as YOU wish. You are NOT free to demand everyone else live by your silly beliefs.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • seyedibar

      born and raised. I believe in democracy through action and involvement, not whatever pitiful taliban-based theocracy you want to install.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, and by the way, dolt, you are free to be educated. I'm sad you've chosen to be ignorant instead.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Casey, I agree with what you wrote with the exception of an atheist ever being happy.

      Amen.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • Casey

      LOL... you talking to me TomTom?

      April 12, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • Casey

      LOL... you talking to me Tom-Tom?

      April 12, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Duh. Yeah, Casey, ya dimbulb. I AM talking to you.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • Casey

      Ah Tom... Tom... I see you have a very high opinion of yourself, and an odd need to belittle others, question their educational level, call names... and in general be a little jerk. Well... I know that one day when you grow up, the truth will be made known to you. Until that day, we all hope you learn basic civility.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, bite me, you little cunt. You wouldn't know basic civility if it bit you in the azz.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Casey, dear, any little drip who can't even figure out the rules of capitalization is hardly worthy of any respect. You want to dictate who should "move to another country", you little boob, get an education first. You aren't qualified to tell others what to do when you are too fucking stupid to understand that this nation is NOT a religious one. It is a nation of secular laws.

      If YOU don't like that, sweetie, then YOU'RE the one who should get your fat azz out of here.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • Casey

      Hey Tommy Tommy Tom Tom... do your parents know you use such language as that? Better watch out or you'll get you mouth washed out with soap. Hope it's not Life-Boy.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • Casey

      Awwww poor Tommy... you sound distraught.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Is that your best? Really, you little cunt, my parents are long gone. Get another line. This one ain't working' for ya, dumbazz.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Hardly. I'm immune to morons like you, Casey. You're as common as fleas. And less useful.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • Casey

      I'm sorry to hear you have lost your parents.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Idiots like Casey are all too common. And they all resort to the same lame-azz insults, which are all just as ineffectual as their arguments.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Casey, you're as ignorant as the day is long. Your parents will die, too.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • Casey

      Tom Tom... I'm not exactly sure what your problem is... but you seem to be a very hurtful and negative person. You also seem to be very unreasonable. I will pray for you.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Go fuck yourself, Casey.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And really, troll , do you think you're fooling anyone? Your use of language makes you quite recognizable. How unoriginal you are!

      I don't doubt you were quite a disappointment to your parents and your teachers. You were one of those kids who was just simply...meh.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
  15. pucksprite

    But my religious rituals require human sacrifices of professed Christians. Stop impeding my religious liberties!

    April 12, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      I do believe your parents sacrificed enough for the likes of you.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How in the world would YOU know what anyone else's parents have done, you prig?

      April 12, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
  16. Winnie

    "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful." – Seneca the Younger (ca. 4 BC – 65 AD)

    April 12, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Winnie, if you believe what you copied and pasted is witty, there's an oil can over in the corner waiting for you to grease up ... brittle bones.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      HeavenStank, maybe you should notify the author. I'm sure Seneca would be terribly impressed by your acu men.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      If he were retarded. At least he'd be on a level with you.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
  17. NoTheism

    Hey, bishops, what about freedom FROM religion?

    April 12, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      Then move out from the U.S.

      This is based on Judeo-Christian values.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It is not, you moron. You want to live in a theocracy, YOU leave.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      I already live under theocracy in the US of A – and love it!

      I love having churches everywhere where they are tax exempt, my holidays enforced in public, strict blue laws where I live, my God in our money etc. etc. 🙂

      April 12, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • NoTheism

      † In God We Trust †, I glad you like it but it doesn't seem that you understand the implications. This is a free country and just because you like something, it does not make it right, nor does it make it right to force it upon others.

      All those things you mentioned, by the way, should be fixed, starting with removing the reference to a god from our fiat currency.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
  18. jsleno

    So...
    The Catholic Church is concerned about assaults on religious freedom.
    And this assault is the government's stance that basically says "you have to follow the same rules as everyone else."
    And the Catholic Church's objection basically says "Well, we don't have to follow the same rules because of our beliefs!"

    Think about that for a second. They don't have to follow the same rules because they BELIEVE they don't have to. That's not an assault ON religion. That is the arrogange OF religion!

    April 12, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
  19. Bootyfunk

    “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.”

    LOL. it's a cult issue. you're all in cults. LOL.

    April 12, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
  20. Martin

    religious freedom??? smarts of an oxymoron
    photo is creepy.

    April 12, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • Velma Dinkley

      What could possibly be creepy about a bunch of gay-hating men wearing pink-trimmed dresses?

      And now for the creepy part: According to Vatican research, 4% of their clergy were involved in abuse. That means that, statistically speaking, one of the men in the picture was a molester.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:29 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.