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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. larryb

    what do they plan on doing??? ...quitting en mass? because they are the biggest threat to the catholic church today

    April 12, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
  2. † In God We Trust †

    http://rightremedy.org/tracts/7

    AMERICA IS A CHRISTIAN COUNTRY!
    READ READ!

    Those who deny it should be put in jail

    April 12, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • seyedibar

      Urban legend, but it's cute to see that people still repeat it. Next you'll tell me George Washington chopped down a cherry tree or Paul Bunyon had a blue ox.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • Pucksprite

      "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion" – from Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli, Ratified unanimously by the U.S. Congress and signed by the 2nd President and Founding Father, John Adams in 1797.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • Joe

      Better put me in jail then. But you are going to have a real problem with the Establishment clause of the first amendment.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      Pucksprite...... shut up and read that site

      April 12, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
  3. atroy

    Don't you just know all of those drag queens in the picture above were pi**ed off when they all showed up to the Miss SheHe contest in the same outfit.

    April 12, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
  4. Maria G

    I'm Christian and I feel oppressed by having our Christian rights taken away from those atheists trying to impose their nonbelief upon us religious people. They should be kicked out from this country because they believe in their gothic and evil lifestyle with tattoes, piercings, stealing, killing and other bad stuff. I left communist Cuba for America to live under Christian faith !!

    April 12, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • JDC

      Like what rights?

      April 12, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Poor you. Go back to Cuba if you don't like it here.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Penelope Pitstop

      Yet another just sayin identity! What a lobotomy!

      April 12, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • NoTheism

      Please, tell me just one thing, what is an atheist exactly?

      April 12, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • seyedibar

      You're the one who believes in sorcerors and ghosts and witches and goblins. The burden of proof is on you, goofball. The rest of us live in reality.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • pucksprite

      Lol. But most of the tatoos I ever see say "Jesus".

      April 12, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      Yes, Maria is one of my many fake personnas. It's fun to troll!

      April 12, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      Maria G,,,,,,

      A Christian you say you are? why then are you "JUDGING" other humanists' Lifestles? You are creating the problem and do know good in your prothelyzing stance! Get the hell off your fence post sister!

      April 12, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
  5. RynB

    Contraception with health insurance is not a religous issue, it is an employment law issue. If a religous organization chooses to maintain several multi-million dollar businesses than they have to abide by the same rules and regulations as other employers. The law is looking to protect the rights of the employed and not the employer. And unlike male birth control, female birth control usually requires a doctors visit on top of purchase price.

    One other thing, I bet these same people demanding for the religous beliefs to be observed have plenty of employees working on the Sabbath and other holy days.

    April 12, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Mindful

      The point is, no group should be required to contribute to an activity they believe to be immoral. Women have a right to work for who they choose knowing the benefits offered. I have no personal objection to birth control but we all need to ask where the line is when applying the rule of concensus.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • abcdxyz

      @ Mindful: "The point is, no group should be required to contribute to an activity they believe to be immoral."
      Who do I call to get our of my contribution to the wars this country has pursued over the past 10 years? Who do I call to get out of providing obstetric care and well-baby visits for women when they are having the fourth, fifth, sixth children? Unfortunately, in a society, we all pay for things we would rather not. Get in line, bishops!

      April 12, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
  6. JDC

    Someone should launch a threat to alter boys campaign.

    April 12, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
  7. Mike

    Catholic equals political organization. Forget the politics and focus on Jesus.

    April 12, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
  8. thinkhere

    when do we finally get free from the catholics.. look at all those pompous men,,telling women what to believe...how to live.. hiding behind their book... can't burn women anymore but they will a least try to keep us pregnant. left the catholic church 30 years ago and haven't looked back... they are creepy..and dangerously powerful.

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

      Never...that's a promise from the Boss : Jesus Christ....

      April 12, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • seyedibar

      Only when people realize their holy book is a collection of fables and tall tales.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • abcdxyz

      "When do we finally get free from the Catholics?" Good question, I'm tired of them too. They are free to have any beliefs they want, but not to keep all of us in the fourteenth century with them.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
  9. nunzio86

    So tired of these old men who don't have a clue about the world out side their pampered existence, telling us what to do. They are all well fed and clothed. Their medical and housing bills are taken care of and they want to tell hard working women what to do. I'm so disappointed by the catholic church these days. They always make noise during the political season and good people listen to them to their own disadvantage..Shame on you!

    April 12, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • Wallabee Bob Yodels With Lady Gaga

      Their existence looks more Pampers than pampered.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Joe

      The world would be better without religion, politicians and banks. The priests as you say are simple drones who knows nothing about real life, except pedophilia.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Mindful

      It makes as much sense to say that every priest is a child molester as it does to say that every muslim is a terrorist. Realize that you sound as crazy and foolish to the rest of us as those on the extreme right sound to you.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
  10. Pipe-Dreamer

    Get those hell hounds of Catholic greediness out of Christendoms' way and let even the Bigger churches of Christendom pay their fair share of taxes being that they knowingly rob their flocks blindly and with uncredible doctrines writings by Paulish and Wandish false prophets who are in reality profiteers! Be gone with Big Sisters and Big Brothers of the religious kinds! I am just a lowly closet Christian but I cannot stand those great big churches and their idolotrous false prophets!

    April 12, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      I watch but mostly listen to the airwaves of the religious vaieties. I just earlier saw the once very famous Jim Baker selling fuel-less generators! He's a master at that ! What a scam artistr he is but a good one!

      April 12, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      † <-– Kiss the cross!

      April 12, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      † Stick the cross up your ass as you mastturbate. I do.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      ^^ Troll stealing my name. Report Abuse

      I feel bad for you of what you said. God sees everything

      April 12, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
  11. Joe

    Am I crazy or I see that there are still people who follow this human garbage?

    April 12, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • Stopabortion

      More than 1000000000 people is Catholic in this world... alleluia.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      1 billion + Catholics worldwide – 2.3 billion Christians +

      🙂

      It's not garbage your moron

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

      You may not be right but I wouldn't call you crazy....there's hope and love for you.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
  12. SurRy

    If only the bishops had taken on the centuries of child molestation by priests...

    April 12, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
  13. Frank Cardenas

    The Catholic Bishops and their refusal to see women as equals and their refusal to follow the teachings of Jesus rather than hang on to their religious dogma, have driven so many people from Catholicism. You can't expect an evolving world to relate to something that a Pope and an Emperor made-up a few thousand years ago. Come into the 21st Century Bishops and you might have a prayer, and if you don't then your loss is due to your own obstinate behavior.

    April 12, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
  14. Just sayin

    IN GOD WE TRUST

    April 12, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • NoTheism

      Speak for yourself, I do not trust in things that do not exist.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • just sayin

      I R stupad

      April 12, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
  15. Joeseph C.

    What Threats TO religion???.....Society needs to push back the threats FROM RELIGION!......we have to protect our children so future generations are not brainwashed into this mythology and primitve negative belief system.

    April 12, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Yes, I can see it now, all a bunch of walking, talking dry bones that are angrier than their parents.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      You want to protect our children from not going to kingdom of heaven and paradise?
      What kid of human are you. Shame on you!

      April 12, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • NoTheism

      "You want to protect our children from not going to kingdom of heaven and paradise?" I want to protect children from believing that nonsense such as heaven or hell exist. If your god is just, he should not care what we do, as long as we do what we believe is right (somehow like you do, but without appeal to a celestial dictator).

      April 12, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • just sayin

      Don't you love the way I post under different names so that it looks like lots of us hold that view? Nobody knows I am doing it!

      April 12, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • Joeseph C.

      InGodwetrust:. You believe in a man made (not God made) mythology......I don't.
      Teaching our children the truth and not fictious man created stories is never a good thing......not to mention The Bible is not a appropriate book to let your children read...The God of the Bible is not a good God......by the way I'm not an atheist.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • Joeseph C.

      InGodwetrust: You need to study early Christian history and how the Bible was created. The vast majority of Christians do not have a clue how their relgion started and spread. Christians are completely ignorant of how their belief system started.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      We have Jesus Christ to pray to, love etc.
      Who cares about religion.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
  16. Julisa

    Why are some people here trying to avoid our Christian principles and laws in America?! This is being ridiculous and insulting us. Our founding fathers (most of them) founded our nation as Christian.... read the const.itution please.
    We have freedom of religion, but based on Christian faith.

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

      HAHAHAHAHA!!!!

      April 12, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • Joeseph C.

      What country do you belong to and where did you study history?......your post was very inaccurate and complete nonsense.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • pucksprite

      "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion" – from Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli, Ratified unanimously by the original U.S. Congress and signed by the 2nd President and Founding Father, John Adams in 1797.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • NoTheism

      @Julisa... please, enlighten us. Source something, anything...

      April 12, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • texboyd3

      Wow are you misinformed. Maybe if you read an actual history book that was not endorsed by fox news you might learn that our true founding fathers were deists at best. In fact Jefferson took a bible and cut the word god out every time it was written. Separation of church and state is a true tenet of our founding fathers and it was not to protect religious from the government it was to protect government from religion. Religion has imposed itself way too much in this century including in god we trust on money, no that was not put on money originally, and under god in the pledge. Now people are pushing back and telling religion to get out of our lives.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • Fr. Raymond Burgoon-Clark

      The First Amendment also grants freedom FROM religion. NO religion has standing in our secular democratic republic. Their attempts to inject themselves into public life have caused MUCH more HARM that GOOD ... vide the paedophile scandal in the Roman Church.

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

      You must have been doing your nails in your Civics and History classes instead of listening.

      April 13, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
  17. PhillUranus

    Freaks!

    April 12, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
  18. Leo

    Hmmm....interesting....remind me again why churches don't pay taxes?

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

      Not only do they not pay taxes, but the Catholic Church receives federal funding (our tax dollars) for many of its programs and hospitals. I say "cut them off and tax them".

      April 12, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      All religious places don't pay taxes... including synagogues, hindu temples etc.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
  19. Mike

    Yet another reason I am glad I left the Catholic church. They are living in the past. I didn't realize that Catholics were so oppressed in the U.S....HA HA

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

      HA HA you will go to hell

      April 12, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      LOL they just pretend to be oppressed.....

      BTW go to hell your moron

      April 12, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
  20. CatSh

    Has anyone ever wondered when 'conservative' became the same as 'Christian' and 'atheist' the same as 'liberal'? I know some severely conservative atheists and plenty of liberal Christians. But somewhere along the line that assumption is being made.

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

      Too many labels. We need to get rid of them.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • G

      As far as I can tell from the little history I have read on this, the sacred as conservative and secular as liberal discourse started around the Cold War in the US. I think you are certainly correct that this discourse is far too black and white and doesn't really reflect the lived experience of many (if not most) Americans.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:49 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.