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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. mike

    Yes, all religion is ridiculous. this is why it's time to end the "Jewish State" and implement a One STATE SOLUTION FOR PALESTINE! Religion is outdated and as we all know, race is a social construct. So why does the world need a Jewish state? Lol, somehow, I think all you "militant atheists" will suddenly have a change of heart on this issue. why could that be?

    April 13, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      Agreed.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Thomas R. McCormick

      At least for me... I don't care anymore. You guys will be and have been fighting forever. But what in the world has this to do with Catholic Bishops?

      April 13, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  2. JustObserving

    I'm amazed, and appaled, by the ignorance, stupidity and lack of maturity that saturates this post.

    April 13, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
  3. Bill

    “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.” – Get your cheesy little Santa Claus god out of my face you mediaeval pagan losers.

    April 13, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Bob

      Nice display of hatred.. Too bad your views are the only one's you allow, Bigot !

      April 13, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
  4. Godoflunaticscreation

    http://taxthechurches.org/

    April 13, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  5. CTVINCE

    God help us all if some these responding wingnuts get to make any decisions about anything. The expression of a policy whether attributed to a government or a religious organization is rooted in a philosophy. Whether we acknowledge it or not there is a growing religion of liberal sectarian nihilism which has an ethic built on what feels good rather than what serves our higher nature. It values abortion over the death penalty. The President's intrusion into our spiritual life is shocking and needs to be stopped before it gets started. Kudos to the Caothoci Bishops for stopping this before it gets started.

    April 13, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      You are really embarrassing yourself with that statement. Liberalism is not a religion. Please purchase a dictionary or visit a website where you may be taught the meaning of simple words that the rest of us already comprehend.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Thomas R. McCormick

      Good luck with that. Is the plural of Catholic or did you spell it wrong?

      April 13, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Josef Bleaux

      What an utterly stupid comment.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  6. thank you all who put the catholic church in it's place..

    a victim of clergy abuse..

    April 13, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  7. Al

    Once more the catholic's decree their beliefs as synonomous with those of everyone in this country! Quick to condemn anyone who is not a catholic, and always trying to take the 'high-ground' as 'christians" (i.e. if your anything else you are not a true christian). This from a religion that has been historically, and still is a hypocritical bearer of moral integrity! Our forefathers. in their wisdom specifically established the seperation of Church and State! This from years of experience dealing with the power and subsequent abuses of the Catholic church in England. Now the Catholics once again have decided to violate the wisdom of those who established this country and reenter the political arena! They are at the front of the line when it comes to saving the unborn...but are unable to control their own bishops from abusing children...and are the first to dispute anykind of social programs to help the poor give these children, once born. a chance at a good education and a quality life! Out of sight...out of heart and out of mind!!!

    April 13, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • CTVINCE

      Sorry you missed the inquisition Al..

      April 13, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
  8. Save Us Jeebus!

    Catholic bishops are so cute. Just look at those little outfits and sashes. And they don't like contraception, that's so sweet. God love 'em.

    April 13, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • FreedomFromReligion

      Screw the catholic church, bunch of lies and scams.....

      April 13, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Tyrone Hogglegg

      I heard they may be adding propellers to their little pink hats soon....

      April 13, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  9. Pipe-Dreamer

    Freedom of Religions is not Religions of Freedom nor can one have it both ways. Either one is the one way or the other. Choose wisely and wise you may become,,,,,,,,,,,,

    The so-declared "two-way-streets" are akin to a field being fenced but unlike the fielded fences, the two-way-streets carry things one way and another. Knowing which way one is traveling is the importance of one's direction and destination. Moreover the road to Hell is much traveled while the road to the Heavens is less sought to be traveled upon and toward.

    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!

    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?

    Losing one's faith in one thing, faith is found in another thing. The measuring of faith is shared and in sharing faith among others such faith becomes them

    April 13, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • mary smith

      I see you are very good at rationalizing things. Tuck it away, will you?

      April 13, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  10. Dante Gateson

    I can see it now. Along with all the usual diatribe about freedom to operate a corrupt religion and freedom to "educate" small boys, they'll publish a travel brochure – "Join us in our exciting journey back to the Dark Ages."

    April 13, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  11. Joseph

    It seems to me that the choices should be in the hands of the people, not the organization. If I were Catholic and female and wanted to follow church teachings by not using contraceptives, I should be able to, but should I choose otherwise it should also be my decision.

    That is freedom of religion. Personal freedom to choose. If choices are removed, I lose that freedom.

    April 13, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      Hit the nail on the head. Funny how religious organizations fight to take away freedom under the guise of religious freedom. Their favorite past time is claiming persecution while they persecute.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • swaflyer

      Well said.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • laa_guitar

      No one would be taking away your "personal freedom to choose" to use contraceptives. We just don't want our tax dollars to have to pay for your choice.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  12. Bob

    Remember, people have rights, not organizations.

    April 13, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
  13. Matt

    Could someone explain to me how these pedophiles still have any moral relavance?

    April 13, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
  14. beth

    I've been a Catholic my whole life. We used to watch out for the poor and persecuted, what happened to that Catholic Church? I'm not interested in turning my church into a right wing political machine. One way to stop it...QUIT DONATING TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH!!!!

    April 13, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Tom

      This church is about greed, money and controlling women to the point of death. They want to tell everyone what to do, and this means trying to get legislation passed that negatively affects all women. And they happily take government money, while paying nothing in taxes.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Robin

      I was brought up as a Catholic and no longer attend the Catholic church because of their disgusting acts of child abuse, among other things. The Catholic ministries need to stay quiet about such matters till they can get their clergyman under control. It's high time priests are allowed to marry and birth control be accepted. Get off your high horses Catholics. You have no room to judge nor speak.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Tony

      The RCC is losing members due to older population, TV broadcasts, more religious diversity and questioning of one's faith. The Church has come to a point were they need to evolve with some of their beliefs and not pick and choose their beliefs. If the Church can change their outlook then maybe they can survive this period.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  15. JImAR

    What we need is a good old Inquisition by the Catholic Church to bring about religious liberty.

    April 13, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      Im locked an loaded. Come get some!

      April 13, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • your god is irreducibly complex

      LOL, "religious liberty". That is a nice oxymoron. People cannot experience liberty if they are a slave to their god.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Peter

      I'm thinking an Inquisition style Investigation into the Catholic Church to root out the pedophiles, and anyone who helped with the coverup.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  16. Jimbo

    Seems that for the Bishops, freedom of religion means they are free to take away everyone else's freedom. Let's get it straight, they are not talking about our Freedom of Religion, only their freedom to oppress.

    April 13, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
  17. SconnieGuz

    Religion is a cancer on this planet and the biggest scam perputuated on mankind. Start paying your taxes you delusional freaks.

    April 13, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • no

      April 13, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • Eric

      Tax the churches. Now that's a novel idea. They're money making machines, the people should at least get a slice of that pie.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • FreedomFromReligion

      I agree. Religion is a yoke around your neck, one you don't even need, and when you discover you don't need it, you gladly discard it. I am glad I did.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • your god is irreducibly complex

      Read a book called "The God Virus". It explains religion and how it works very similarly to a virus of the mind.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  18. Enlightened

    Looks like an annual gathering of NAMBLA.

    April 13, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Eric

      Where's the like button?

      April 13, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
  19. Insightful

    Jimtanker:

    Most of the time (but should be all of the time), religious people base their morals, values, and beliefs on their religion. Therefore if people are making decisions make on their morals, beliefs, etc. how exactly are we supposed to seperate church and government? We don't. The decisions made by politicians SHOULD be based on what they believe in (even though most of the time they contradict one another.) Whether I agree with their opinion or not, I respect any person who stands up for what they believe in. Telling someone to "keep your religion in you church and in your home" is an ignorant statement. When will people like you understand that EVERYTHING in this screwed up society is connected one way or another?

    You developed your way of thinking just like any other person did, religious or not. You just have a different source.

    April 13, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      What's your point? Churches are currently receiving my tax dollars so they can lobby and they refuse to follow the laws regarding Non Profit Organizations. Has nothing to do with keeping faith in the church.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
  20. Eric

    So are we going to let companies owned by Jehovah Witnesses be exempt from having to pay for insurance that covers blood transfusions? What about Jewish owned business from having to cover a valve replacement using a pig valve? How about a Christian Scientist denying any coverage at all?

    This is not about religious freedom. This is all about personal choose and not being allowed to discriminate. Your religion should not be allowed to hinder my life and my decisions, you giving me a salary shouldn't be allowed to change that.

    April 13, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • justme

      wow! i have never seen so much ignorance in this site and i have seen much here so please try again so we even know how to respond.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • laa_guitar

      Yes Eric, that's the way it should be in a free market system. Companies get to make decisions about their benefits and workplace and people get to decide if they want to support the company. Employees get to decide if they want to work and get the insurance that is offered (or not offered) or go somewhere else to work. Let the market work and get government out of the way.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      Guitar, So the way it actually works is that NPO's need to follow the laws or start paying taxes. You left that one out.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:38 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.