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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.”

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

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. Carmella

    If 10 year old boys could get pregnant the Catholic church would pass out birth control with communion.

    April 13, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • Kent

      Best post all day.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      LOL. so true.

      how do you get a nun pregnant?

      dress her up like an altar boy....

      April 13, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • Isabel

      I wonder if they feel "pretty in pink".

      April 13, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Stan

      We are a sovereign nation that shouldn't be taking orders from the Vatican government.

      April 13, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • Edith

      If conservative are all in for "states rights", then they should have no problem with some states kicking out Catholic adoption agencies for discriminating against gay families. That is America at work and at its best. I couldn't be happier about those decisions. Now I'm waiting for the next states to grow a spine.

      April 13, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • Erica

      They would need to sell off a basement full of gold to buy diapers and milk.

      April 13, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  2. Jason

    What I find amazing with the majority of these posts is that you are missing the larger point that those of the Catholic faith are trying to make. This contraception coverage proposed by the administration is in direct contradiction to the teachings of the Church. This is a direct contradiction to our liberties in that the government should have no role in our faith. And since when is birth control vital to a woman's health? I've never heard of a woman dying, or suffering some horrible death, because she is unable to have birth control. Besides, most women can get a prescription filled for less than $10.00 a month. Most people spend at least that much a month on dining out. As for the larger point which the Catholic Church is trying to make is that the rights of man come not from government, but from God. Think about it. God gives us freedom. Freedom to choose what we want, how we conduct ourselves, and how we treat others. When the government 'gives' us rights, they also take them away. Our country is the most free and unique country in the world because of the faith our founding fathers had that God lead them to the establishment of a country in which all were free, in particular, free from religeous persecution....which I see a lot of in these posts and in our country today. I love the Catholic faith and will stand up for our beliefs. I know that all this rhetoric means nothing for in the end heaven awaits those who lived their lives as Christ has called us to live them. In love and harmony and in accordance with the scriptures and ten commandments.

    April 13, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Henry

      As a gay man, I want freedom from religion. The church as victim won't fly.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • blastoff

      Nobody is telling you what to do with your body. It is about what insurance coverage you offer to your employees.
      So you, as a catholic employer, still do not have to use contraception if you don't want to. No problems, right?

      April 13, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Josef Bleaux

      They are not trying to force the Catholic Church to have insurance that covers birth control. What they're trying to do is to make Catholic run BUSINESSES, provide the same level of health insurance coverage that any other business would provide. Catholic run businesses hire people that are not Catholic. If Catholics don't want to use birth control, that's fine, but non-Catholic employees may want to use it.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • Han

      You should check out the stories of women needing birth control pills to battle ovarian cysts. Just because you haven't heard it doesn't mean there aren't women in need of these medicine.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • Kent

      God supposedly sends non-believers to hell. Where is the freedom in that? I choose freedom from religion. They have no power over me.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Craig

      The Catholic church won't be happy until there are 22 million more people in Mexico City and the last remaining three trees are chopped down for a Catholic church parking lot.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • LAWgistics

      i SUPPOSE YOU ARE ONE OF THOSE SILLY GEESE THAT WOULD "RAISE" 20 CHILDREN IN ABJECT POVERTY AND STARVATION WITH LITTLE OR NO OPPORTUNITY BECAUSE THE CATHOLIC CHURCH DOESN'T LIKE CONTRACEPTION?

      April 13, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • LAWgistics

      KEEP THE CATHOLIC CHURCH OUT OF THE BEDROOM.

      April 13, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Stan

      If the government should have no role in religion, then please get religion out of government so that the inalienable rights of gay Americans can come to fruition.

      April 13, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • LMC

      It seems more like a war on women than a war on religion!

      April 13, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • T

      Catholic Church continues to push what they believe the bible is saying? The point is, no one is truly free until man stops believing that he has all the answers from God….because he doesn’t and neither does all of the white guys in the picture on this page. Believe what you what, support and stand with whoever, but in the end, I hope you don’t sacrifice the religion of man for your Salvation in Christ!! Christ did not say to Peter in the bible that he would build religion, but a church!! To hell with religion, but to Heaven with Christ!!

      April 13, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • yourenotascholar

      that just means that you don't understand how birth control works. if you're not familiar with a particular medical use of birth control, that doesn't mean that use doesn't exist, just that you're not a doctor and women (unsurprisingly) haven't confided in you about their medical issues. I sure as shootin would not talk to a religionist about medicine - I'd want science, not magic, to address my medical concerns.

      religion creates ignorance. medicine is based on evidence, not ideology, which is why the churches are constantly attacking science and medicine.

      April 13, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  3. Joe

    Wow look at all the white men.

    April 13, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Jezebel

      They want respect of their religion, then dutifully disparage gay families. I can not offer respect when they themselves don't know how to give it.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • dumbox

      blame the photograph

      April 13, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
  4. LAWgistics

    Hey, back in the day, the Vatican voted to decide whether or not women were HUMAN – the Pope cast the tie-breaking vote.
    Why should this surprise you? They themselves (Cardinals and the Vatican) are quite hypocritical and lacking in the religious morality on many fronts, all in the name of God (wonder if God resents being made party to some of the garbage Vatican spews....?)

    April 13, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  5. Kent

    An "American" issue? I think not. It is a religious issue. A woman can still deny the birth-control even if it is offered. The church still thinks that their "flock" can't think for themselves and this proves it.
    Also, the fact that a bunch of men are deciding what women should do with their bodies once again proves that religion is man-made.
    As for a "religious freedom" goes, they want to retain the freedom to opress their followers.

    April 13, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  6. Michael Robinson Gainesville FL

    People, people. When are you believers in imaginary friends going to learn that it's all fake?
    Wake up, people. And keep your easterbunny jesus out of ALL conversations...

    April 13, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • 84 Million Strong

      So what's your take on the Eucaristic miracle of Lanciano, Italy in the 8th Century A.D.? I'd like to hear your take on it

      April 13, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Michael Robinson Gainesville FL

      All made up. Your Moses was an ancient goat herder, and his knowledge back then was very limited. An 8 year old knows more about the universe than your so called moses. He made up a bunch of stories(fables at best), and to explain your 8th century "miracles", just more made up stories.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
  7. Meghan

    Freedom of religion should not be used as an excuse for discrimination and bigotry. True freedom of religion means that no religious organization can impose its beliefs on its employees, patrons, etc...

    April 13, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • LAWgistics

      Ah, but it works for them !

      April 13, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • LAWgistics

      It is almost impossible to work for a Catholic organization or hospital without first being a Catholic – but, that's not discrimination !?!?!?!?

      April 13, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Deo

      You are correct, imagine if they refused to offer blood transfusions, based on their religious faith, and the so called religious freedoms they are talking about, is really them telling you what they believe is good for you.

      April 13, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  8. Nii

    BOOTY
    I have made this observation several times on this blog. Other times I just don't bother. Its like the atheists use the LGBT slurs then turn round to say we love gays. If u insult your enemy that he's a co.ot then turn round to tell me u love blacks I'll find it strange indeed.

    April 13, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  9. † 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 13, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Funniest post of the day. We have a winner. There is not a enough time in the day to respond to all of the silly things packed into this one post. I am impressed!

      April 13, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Michael Robinson Gainesville FL

      Prayers for what? Imaginary friends called jesus, and his sky daddy?

      April 13, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • T

      I guess this really helps bring them closer to God now.....geehish lost aren't you,,

      April 13, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Michael Robinson Gainesville FL

      † Atheism cannot explain the origins of the universe, therefore God exists.

      That' the funniest crap I ever heard...

      April 13, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • sam

      +1 for sheer troll dedication.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Thinking

      I’m not sure if your serious or not. Your probably pushing people away from faith with these crazy posts.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      99.9% of people in prison beleive in god. Less than 0.02% are atheist.
      Countries where atheism is the majority (ie, sweeden, netherlands, ect.) ALWAYS are on the list of happiest places to live. Keep lying for your religion. In fact, isnt that one of your commandments: Though shall lie to protect gods horrible PR problem?

      April 13, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      this dummy must work for Fox news. just making up numbers and presenting them as facts, lol.

      here's some actual FACTS for you:
      atheists have a lower divorce rate than christians
      atheists have a lower crime/prison rate than christians
      atheists have a higher education level than christians
      atheists know more about the bible than christians

      but christians are the good guys? the statistics show otherwise...

      April 13, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • dave

      obvious troll is obvious

      April 13, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • biobraine

      IGWT: Though I am also a non-beiliever I don't think making fun of Christians with such an over the top sarcastic post is beneficial to the discussion.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Angrymute

      What medication did you recently stop taking, and how quickly can you find it?

      April 13, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • AverageJoe76

      Good one. That really did make me LOL.

      April 13, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • Josef Bleaux

      The dumbest post I've seen all day. But about what I'd expect form an idiot that believes ancient mythology is real.

      April 13, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  10. Han

    It's funny how these men think being forced to provide contraception coverage is violating religious freedom. Even if they provide coverage, the women still have their FREEDOM to choose whether to use the coverage or not based on their RELIGION. If anything, giving the women a choice in coverage actually PROMOTES religious freedom.

    April 13, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Thinking

      Couldn't agree more, well said.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  11. TownC

    Good for these men. Our religious freedoms are under assault. All religious people need to speak up and ensure that the government and this administration does not take down this "wall of separation" of church and state. Freedom of religion was placed in our first amendment not just to protect government from religion but to protect religion from government.

    April 13, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      i love it. christians can't force their idiotic belief system down our throats and they cry their freedoms are impinged upon. LOL! what a joke.

      no one is stopping you from being a mindless cult member - but sowwy, you can't force your archaic belief system on everyone else. keeping you from forcing your beliefs on us is not infringing on your freedoms. soooooooooooooo dumb.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  12. bob

    U have to think about the mental state of people who give up their lives to wear costumes that look like they where made in medieval times.

    April 13, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • TownC

      Like supreme court judges!

      April 13, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      @TownC: No Supreme Court Judges are educated in the real world, these pedophiles are not...big difference.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:59 pm |

  13. † Consti.tution law = Christian law †

    Obey it, shut up or leave

    April 13, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      thank god you're wrong. or all g.a.y.s, non-virgin brides and disobedient children would be put to death. also anyone working the weekend at the mall - no work on the sabbath. if we had christian law in this country, it would be a horrible place to live. have you read that book? it's disgusting. god kills innocents left and right.

      so sowwy christians, but this is NOT a christian country.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      You forgot the / thingy through the = sign.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Kent

      Perhaps you wouldn't mind being crucified then?

      April 13, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  14. Pipe-Dreamer

    Pipe-Dreamer Rambles Ever Onward!

    And the dreamers do ever dream on and onward to ever consider and be considered. Some considerations are thoughtful while other considerations be as Truths to be reckoned and bantered about! Such are the meds of diaspercivities against the aspirins of unintentionalisms' bereavements cunning moments! eat freely and drink much with the zealots their fruited wines from their sheltered wineries!

    The ritualizationings of much bettered looneyliancies in the reprobations of libertarianisms will ever stir the cauldrens of wittiness regards. We are as crazed lots of infatuationists ever ready to be armed with integral remedials of looney binned temptrous algorythms of self-integridualousnesses. The shallowness of living waters will ever mire the grand boats but those boats of littleness will fair much better when the time comes to leave this dimensional plain of existentialism.
    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!

    1 Corinthians 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.

    Do not women have misscariages? Do they not have still births? Who then is to say as one said I "feel" that abortion is murder when truly 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 yet still faith can not be one's abundancy for it is measured equally between and can only be shared with a give me some and I'll give you some acronism.

    April 13, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  15. Rodeo_Joe

    Tickets to Heaven, Hocus Pocus, and the gravy train.

    The Kingdom of God is within You. Dial Direct.

    April 13, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  16. LolDems

    BO et. al. are certainly very busy, busy people. War on Wall Street. War on the rich 1%. War on TeaParty. War on SOTUS. War on Women. War on Religion. And continuing with the War on Terroists, and War on Drugs. Hey BO, tells us again how you're gonna unify? Figures, coming from a community organizer and Wright proselytizer.

    April 13, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  17. dumbox

    "best time to parry the axe is when it is in the air" GKC

    April 13, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  18. Bootyfunk

    LOL. look at this big group of virgin/celebate MEN deciding what WOMEN should do with their bodies. these guys wouldn't know what to do with a woman in any regard...

    April 13, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Steven

      These men help to thwart generation after generation after generation of civil and human rights to gay people all over the planet then cry victim when there is a suggestion of altering their insurance coverage? This is fresh! The church as victim does not hold water.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • dumbox

      we should never kill our own family. Murder is deadly to humans even if it is to correct an incovenience. Would you kill your own son or daughter? What did they do to deserve the death penalty? Is it their fault they ended up in their mother's body? Strange times when we offer up our innocent to satisfiy our comfort and wealth.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • El Flaco

      Don't be so sure.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Barry G.

      Wasn't the policy of celibacy introduced and imposed on priests to conter the corruption, which had developed?

      The church became the largest landowner and had enormous wealth. The priests found themselves overseeing vast holdings and wealth, and as we all know wealth attracts temptation, like moths to a flame.

      Jesus and the Apostle Paul taught, however, that not everyone could be celibate, only those special people, who had a special gift. Unfortunately certain segments of the church don't always follow the teachings of Jesus and the apostles..

      April 13, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  19. Daryl Revok

    While I agree private religious organizations have the right to run thier own organizations according to their own belief systems, I dont understand how a group of "celebate" old men living in palaces think they have the where with all to dictate to anyone about contraception or marriage. Ever since the enlightenment science has exposed the delusions and error of the bible/koran/torah one after another like dominoes, I still dont understand why people still cling to these religions.

    April 13, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      hard to escape the religious brain-washing. pressure on society to stay in the cult. but more and more drones are waking up, realizing religion isn't what they tell you it is. full of bigotry, prejudice, h.o.m.ophobia, misogyny.

      want a better set of ethics to live by? try Humanism, an atheistic ethical system. compassion and logic are the guiding principles of Humanism, as opposed to the pillars of religion: fear, guilt + ignorance.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • humbug

      Exactly. Why they have any credibility with mankind at all, anymore, is an enigma to me.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • FajitaBob

      You believe as you choose. let them do the same. I fail to see how you s hitting on someone else's beliefs makes your opinions more valid. Oh, and please tell us what science has disproven in modern religion...

      April 13, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  20. Mado

    This is starting to feel like the next inquisition. Maybe we should start taxing all churches and their holdings if they want special rules. All of them Catholic, Mormon, Evangelist and Scientology, Muslim and and all others.

    April 13, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Phosphorus

      I think all churches should be taxed at 10%, unless if they believe in the Trinity...then, they should be taxed at 30%.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • humbug

      the trite metaphore "war on religion" would be used on taxing churches.
      if you don't agree with the church, they claim "war on religion".

      April 13, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • humbug

      The catholic church used to claim Heresy, and burn Heretics at the stake. Now, instead of Heretics, they say "War on Religion".
      Exact mindset, different century.

      April 13, 2012 at 2:56 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.