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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. bradtvx

    What's the big deal? OK so, contraception is provided is by "whatever" health plan. Well, a 'good' Catholic simply wouldn't use it. What's all this hub-bub? Quit mixing politics with religion. Either that or tax religious organizations. There oughta be a RULE on the campaign trail...."NO RELIGIOUS SPEAK".

    April 13, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  2. Steve

    Only zealots could describe intolerance and hate as religious freedom. Newspeak strikes again.

    April 13, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  3. Godoflunaticscreation

    Keep up the good fight! Donate to organizations that fight against the churches abuse of power and refusal to follow U.S laws. Make a difference now for the future of the world!

    April 13, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      The internet is a powerful resource of the people. Take your money from the frocks of pedophiles and put it in the hands of those fighting for liberty and good. www AU.org is a good start.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      The "futorialness" of the dribbles do all and ever will do irregardless what symphony one clamours to be a part and parcel of!

      April 13, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      I see you failed 4th grade English. Thanks for sharing.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  4. Phil

    8 year olds, Dude.

    April 13, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  5. DF

    give me a break... no freedoms are being trounced upon. so what if your insurance company pays for contraceptives... if you don't believe in using them, DON'T USE THEM... don't go dragging those of us who believe in the division of church and state into your fanatical religious ideologies...

    April 13, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • Capitalism

      They are being trounced upon get real. Interesting how you liberals try to sweep the obvious under the rug like it does not exist.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      @Capitalism – please define what legally or constitutionally protected freedom this law infringes upon.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      Capitalism. You are brain dead. The church is fighting to take away the freedom to choose and you think that giving people a choice is an attack on freedom. The brain washing took well with you. Nothing left but pudding in there.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Josef Bleaux

      @Capitalism – I see you've been partaking a bit too much of the holy water (Koolaid), grow a brain dude.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Lewis Keseberg

      Love me some of that holy wine. Nothing like a little Jesus-blood to get the day rolling.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  6. mightyfudge

    No one knows what happens when we die, and ANYONE claiming such knowledge is a liar who probably wants your money... in this case, your tax dollars.

    April 13, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  7. Darlene

    If you are against birth control, don't use it. If you are against abortion, don't have one.

    Meanwhile, leave the rest of us alone. What about OUR religious freedom?

    April 13, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Capitalism

      You are completely misguided.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Josef Bleaux

      Darlene, you hit the nail squarely on the head.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  8. *facepalm*

    Still waiting for the RCC to complain about having its businesses' taxes used to fund the DoD. I guess controlling what non-Catholics do behind closed doors is more important than promoting peace.

    April 13, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  9. Al

    What hypocrites. First they support pedophiles, now the are upset they can't use government funding to discriminate against gays and women.

    April 13, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  10. Are you kidding

    Time to stop this massive cess pool of greed/corruption/abuse. Organized Religions time is thankfully coming to an end. I try to do the best I can, best the best I can and speak to GOD on a daily basis. I Don't need a building to do that.

    April 13, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
  11. JEN

    THESE PRIEST ARE WORRY BECAUSE THEIR FANS ARE STARING TO GET SMART BY NOT GIVING THEM ANYMORE MONEY. THESE LAZY FU=KERS NEED TO GET A JOB AND PAY TAXES

    April 13, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Babui Boomerang

      These guys are bigger than government. They don't need jobs. Presidents come and go. They stay, act like God.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  12. jb

    Just hurry up and ban religion all together. You know it's coming.

    April 13, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • Josef Bleaux

      No, just ban ultra-religious fanatic bigots. That would be a good start anyway.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      Get off your imaginary cross. Persecuting others while claiming persecution is getting old.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      Stinkin thinkin is stinkin up the places of the stunk ups' thunk thoughts! 🙂

      April 13, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • JustDoIt!

      It's definitely coming, whether folks believe it or not.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  13. Caz in BOS

    “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 our right to be privileged bigots. If we want to be mean to women, gays and other minorities, then we should be legally protected to do so."

    April 13, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      And do you protractively moon everyone this way?

      April 13, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Here it comes

      So if a person of faith disagrees with the worldviews of others he is immediately deemed a bigot and intolerant. Interesting how left wing activists decry everyone who disagrees with their views as intolerant and bigots, yet refuse to accept the fact that tolerance must go both ways - i.e., recognizing that not everybody agrees with their views and that's the whole point of the First Amendment.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      By all means disagree. Now start following NPO laws or start paying taxes!

      April 13, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  14. bear79

    how this is an attack on religious freedom is beyond me. Nobody is forcing women to take contraceptives. Thank you, once again Catholic Church for trying to reverse progress.

    April 13, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • independentlyowned

      It's what they do best.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • momoya

      There's nothing like the church or god believers to label things exactly opposite of the way that they are.. It's like they recognize the irrationality of their position so they reverse the values.. Thus, "We're limiting the freedom of women," it becomes, "You are limiting our religious freedom to take away other people's religious freedom–you bas.ta.rds!".

      April 13, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  15. Kat

    The Catholic Church is waging a campaign to bring ATTENTION to religious liberty.
    Bring attention to something that is a value is not a mandate or a law.
    The Catholic Church provides moral direction for people who want to choose wisely on issues.

    April 13, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • CarrotCakeMan

      The federal judge who revoked the 2008 California anti-gay H8te Vote that deprived LGBT Californians of existing marriage equality had in his possession a letter Catholic bishops wrote to Mormon leaders agreeing to hide from public scrutiny and refuse to report their illegal cash and in-kind contributions to the H8te Vote as required by California law. The letter serves as proof they knew by refusing to report these massive contributions they were violating campaign finance laws, as well as the letter itself being an act of criminal collusion.

      You really think committing criminal acts to poison our political process is good "moral direction"?????

      April 13, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • independentlyowned

      There's nothing wrong with that, but religious liberty does not entail being able to force others to comply to your religious standards. Plus, since when has a group composed entirely of women of authority with decision-making powers made any decisions about what men can and cannot do?

      April 13, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      Please explain how taking away someone's right to choose is pro liberty. Or maybe you purposefully wrote religious liberty knowing that it is at the expense of U.S citizens liberty.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Josef Bleaux

      Yeah, like the right to choose which choir boy you want for the night.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
  16. Colin

    God Meets His Physics Teacher

    Teacher: God, I have some bad news for you. You’ve been getting away with murder for eons, but I’m afraid that now you have to start abiding by the laws of physics.

    God: But I don’t want to!

    Teacher: I’m afraid that doesn’t matter. Look, you made this Universe and set the rules, you have to abide by them. One cannot tell his servants to do one thing while he does another. I think Jesus said that.

    God: That f*king kid. He’s been nothing but a problem since puberty. It’s his mother’s fault. All high and mighty the way she is, “I’m a virgin, I’m a virgin.” No big surprise there, she went to a liberal arts college and studied women’s rights. She loves the Indigo Girls and played a lot of sport. You do the math.

    Teacher: Anyway, the game is over. Time to start abiding by the rules.

    God: But I am omnipotent, I can do what I like.

    Teacher: Well….sorry to burst your bubble, but that’s the first thing that has to go. You see, the laws of physics state that an omnipotent being cannot exist. It is a meaningless concept, like a four-sided triangle, or a square circle. Once universal laws exist, omnipotence cannot.

    God: Not even for Rupert Murdoch?

    Teacher: No, not even for him. Now focus, we’ve got a lot of work to do. We’ve got to start with Archimedes and get you up to quantum mechanics by the end of the day.

    God: But I’m omniscient. I already know everything.

    Teacher: Sorry kiddo, strike two. Omniscience is essentially a meaningless concept, too. Knowledge requires data to be input, stored and recalled in a useful manner. To be truly omniscient would require an infinitely large data storage unit with access to all parts of it at over light speed. Given the natural limitations of data recall, you are actually a bit of a dunce, by the standards of the gods.

    God: Why only light speed? What does that have to do with anything?

    Teacher: We’ll get to that, around 3:30 this afternoon. This is going to be a long day.

    God: That doesn’t matter, I’m immortal. I have all the time in the World.

    Teacher: Ok, so how do I break THIS news?.... You’re not. To be a god means, at a minimum, that you must be a complex being at some level. Now that you are governed by the laws of physics, this means that you are subject to the laws of thermodynamics and entropy. Over the long term, you must decay. You can be sustained for a very long period, but ultimately it is a finite period.

    God: You mean…..I’m getting old?

    Teacher: Yep, I’m afraid so. Noticed that slaying the first born, sending plagues to kill thousands of innocent people and wiping out Canaanites has lost its allure? Nothing but a peaceful middle age, full of Viagra and memories ahead of you now. Look how fat Buddha’s become.

    God: So, if laws of physics exist, that means I’m not omnipotent, I’m not omniscient and I’m not immortal. Hell, I’m not even a god. Gods cannot exist. Jesus Christ, I don’t even exist!

    Teacher: You do the math.

    April 13, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • halfbakedlunatic

      Thank you Colin, you've made my day. Not I'm off to pray to the Flying Spaghetti Monster for a little while.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Johnny in NC

      That was absolutely horrible.... look up single-bodied system and rewrite that piece my friend. If you are going to apply physics to God....atleast try to understand the metaphysical precepts of monism...singled body...and pantheism or panentheism.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Eric G

      Sorry Johnny,
      Metaphysics is not a valid position in this discussion unless supported by verifiable evidence.

      10 yards from the spot of the foul. First down Colin.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Johnny in NC

      Sorry Eric, when you are talking God and physics....Metaphysics is the only way in which to approach it. That is why physicist do not talk about God. The Giant of our philosophical history all knew this.... I suppose you know better though.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      Plus, metaphysics is a lot more fun since you can just make it up as you go along since you're not limited to actual fact or evidence.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Johnny in NC

      Metaphysics is the only way in which to approach it. That is why physicist do not talk about God. The Giant of our philosophical history all knew this.... I suppose you know better though. I suppose you fully understand quantum entaglement and superstrings and how they defeat the "laws" of physics.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • Eric G

      @Johnny: Physicists do not talk about a "god" because no evidence exists to support the hypothesis that a god exists. To imply that your position is not subject to the same logical standard as a scientific position because it is "metaphysical" is intellectually dishonest.

      I suggest you stay in the shallow end of the pool while the adults talk.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  17. Jim McHale

    What pompous hypocrites. It is government funding that allows them to do much of the charity work they are complaining about, while they pocket a good 1/3 to cover their overhead. Why should they get to decide how our tax dollars are disbursed, ludicrous. And it costs the Church nothing to have insurance companies cover the cost of contraceptives (it's much cheaper to do than provide prenatal, birth and infant care) and deal directly with the plan participant – who one would imagine should have a say in the matter and who may or may not be Catholic AND practicing abstinence from contraceptives. Overreach again by a group that is seen as slipping centuries behind by its own members, 97% of whom use contraceptives themselves.

    April 13, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Johnny in NC

      Please verify your numbers... most of... 1/3... and 97%.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      Jim McHale,,,,,,,,,,,, ,

      I too am in aguishes regarding ongoing manifeststaions creations of the highly insured and the least insured and even the non-insured.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • CarrotCakeMan

      You know Mr. McHale can't post a URL here, Johnny, but he's actually wrong, 98% of Catholics use contraception. Can you prove his 1/3 figure is incorrect?

      April 13, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • growup

      At some point people will stop listening to these people and their fairytales. 7 billion people in the world. Contraception should be mandatory for those who listen to these clowns or any other religious clown.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  18. Godoflunaticscreation

    Please visit this site. We have to unite against this or all the rhetoric is for nothing. http://www.au.org/

    April 13, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  19. travis Lowe

    I hope the address and have some soulution for all of us who are suffering fromo abuse by the priesthood. Should that not be a concern at your meeting.

    April 13, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  20. tribecagal

    If the Catholic Church does not wish to abide by government regulations then stop accepting government funding.

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

      amen

      April 13, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      R'amen!

      April 13, 2012 at 1:53 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.