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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. koelpien

    I wonder how much "religious freedom" they would offer a woman who felt called by God to become a priestess.

    April 13, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
  2. Pipe-Dreamer

    God was and is and ever will be just a God! Call God whatever one wills and God will never be changed! Throw all verbal excrements at God and God will never be moved! Love God even just a smidgen and God will open His Kingodms' Gates wide when your time comes to leave this world! Showing mercies to the weak in mind and poor in spirit and God will adorn you with much when your time here reaches its' end! To those who keep their treasuries in abundant measure know not God and God will not receive them when their time comes for to give all you have to the poor and the needy is where the rich in life's treasures will not so do and they will be crushed assunder and used as fodder for God's beasts!

    April 13, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
  3. zeyn2010

    Try to figure out who built Puma Punku and Baalbek, then lets talk about knowing our true history, where we really came from and how religions came to earth.

    April 13, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      Do not take the mark of the beast! It will be applied to the forehead of right hand.

      April 13, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      Corr: "forehead *or* right hand".

      April 13, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • zeyn2010

      Puma Punku is the mark of the beast?? I don't get it??

      April 13, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
  4. Pipe-Dreamer

    Catholocism is not worthy of even being considered a Christianizable religion for they hold back so much dough in their treasuries that one could with ease, feed many 3rd world countries for perhaps years if they were to "give up" their dough!
    April 13, 2012 at 5:57 pm
    Some, not many are child molesters. If one sees the clrgy as a family would one not try to hide their family's dirty laundry from the neighbors? Because the clergy are devotionalists and dedicated to their Faith's inabilities to have sound reasoning skills does not make them all out to be evil sinners, but in harboring one's dirty laundry, the clergy needs to send it out to be cleansed.
    April 13, 2012 at 6:04 pm
    The religiously devoted are not "dumb", they are scared and they are not "ignorant", they need guidance to reconcile their lousy and immoral Life they have once led. They are scared and want to find reasons for changing their Life! God to them and myself is the answer to the many Acts and actions we all have done wrong in one's past. It isn't rocket science that one can learn to overcome their own rememberences if ills' wongdoings. They need a little push from people who are as a light and can be found a comforting flame of hope and inspiration to ever so slowly llead them to God and yes the King of all God's Sons and Daughters, our Redeemer Christ Jesus.
    April 13, 2012 at 6:15 pm
    Being of "pride" for getting or being laid is not for the faint of heart. In getting laid at such an early age in my or anyone's Life will eventually play in their Life's deck of cards and in dealing this deck one does ever come across the once were cards to ever be reminded of times' past. That's why I say and do regard myself as being but a lowly closeted Christian unworthy of being called a righteous man of 57 years and counting the days looking ever onward to my Life's End! If God and His Sons and yes, Daughters truly are a realism, then I will be given my justice accordingly for my deeds done here in this real of Celestial Cunning! If there is no God, then I will be none the wiser!
    April 13, 2012 at 6:31 pm
    It may one day be truth where the Mother of all Christendoms will bite the proverbial bullet! She will not, though go down without fighting and screaming and gouging the eyes out of many of her followers. Let's all get back to the basics. A horse to plough the fields with and a cow from which to husband with another's bull, some chickens and rabbits some pigs and goats. Ah for the good ol' days they will soon be a coming back! "Push the buttons you ingrates and let's get this show on the road again"!
    April 13, 2012 at 6:49 pm
    One one
    Religion offers the seductive simplicity of certainty, a temptation too strong for many to resist.
    April 13, 2012 at 7:18 pm
    The "trickery" of atheisms are their deluding others of weakened minds and fair gaminess in moments of despair. It is quite easy to see death as being one's end but such a death is of physical accords while the spiritual works of the Holy Ghost are an endless affair of God's whole-heartedness to give to beleivers another spirit-filled Life upon the inner-workings of the Micro-Chasms' unending places inwardly and not up in or even in the abovenss like many worshipper are led to beleive in their mind's eye. We are much more than a piece of flesh upon bones. We are of God and His whole families do live inside us! I Love in the joys of knowing God's few Truths He has let my mind's eyes see and I lay awake at nights ever dreamful of my next Life inside the kingdom Domain of God, the Heavens' Father and Creator of and of all Celestial manifestations! God's Will is ever to be done knowingly or unknwoingly for these are the choices one has. To believe or not to believe in God, the Father and His eons of Sons and Daughters and theirs and always on down the lines of each and every generation of His Godliness Kinds!
    April 13, 2012 at 8:22 pm
    Freedom? Is not Freedoms nothing more than laws meant to oblige one's tattering livelihoods? Who here can honestly say they are free? Do we not have obligations? Are we not obligated to work in order to gain sustanances for living? The curses of freedoms' laments weigh heavily upon those who gregariously plunder the needs of the many with undue justices! The poor of each and every nation or country find peace in their pittiful existence and their needs are few when compared to the needs of the most rich! "Give to the poor" is what the rich ever do deny and will never truly do! They are the true hypocrits of the Gospels!
    April 13, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    April 13, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      @HotAirAce: Don't take the mark! (forehead or right hand).

      April 13, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
  5. b4bigbang

    8.6 and 8.2 earthquakes! Sign of the end-times? It's in the Gospels!

    April 13, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Unless you can provide unambiguous passages you are lying, or just trying to wind up believers.

      April 13, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      Luke 21:11, it's right there i'm telling ya!

      April 13, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      I survived the 9.0 in Japan a year ago. Some god had a good chance to get me then – I am not worried by a couple of smaller tremors! Fuck 'im!

      April 13, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
  6. gregg

    I say to hell with the church. All lthey want is their tax exempt status so when the offering rolls in they can keep 100% of it. The Catholic Church, like any other church is a corporation built to make a profit. Look at it this way, the Vatican is the biggest bank in the world. Every catholic church locatoin around the world are simply satelinte offices for collecting money from their cutomer base, sort of like McDonalds or Burger King or car dealerships.

    If I could run my business like the church; (take in tons of money, no refunds or exchanges and a product that never gets deliered), would have retired after only 10 years an wealthy man.

    Churh and religion are a scam, but a good one.

    April 13, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • Jarvis.Lorry

      Their "service" is providing propaganda for a system based entirely on myth and legend. For this they are paid millions of dollars by gullible customers (church members).

      April 13, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
  7. isolate

    Somehow the idea of one of the world's most inflexible organized belief systems touting religious freedom is hilarious. There was a period of a thousand years when the Catholic Church ruled everything. It was called the Dark Ages, and with good reason.

    If these bishops want to support freedom, they should stop trying to outlaw medical procedures for people who are outside their belief system. As for their problems with contraception, they lost that battle long ago: 98% of Catholic women use birth control. The church can either change its dogma or watch as its priests get older and older, its congregations die off and aren't replaced, and it becomes increasingly irrelevant to the needs of the people of the 21st century.

    April 13, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      Freedom? Is not Freedoms nothing more than laws meant to oblige one's tattering livelihoods? Who hee can honestly say they are free? Do we not have obligations? Are we not obligated to work in order to gains sustanance for living? The curses of freedoms' laments weigh heavily upon those who gregariously plunder the needs of the many with undue justices! The poor of each and every nation or country find peace in their pittiful existence and their needs are few when compared to the needs of the most rich! "Give to the poor" is what the rich ever do deny and will never truly do! They are the true hypocrits of the Gospels!

      April 13, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • Jill

      Who hee haw? One should look at the presumptuous panapoly one posts in peripatetic perspective. Otherwise, we feel that the ochre tendency is blue acres on the Strand. Therein unless knowing the capability, how can the thesaurus be attained? Individually, the mushroom precedes goats and cabins but there can be no regard for promenades in garrisons. Cheese, please. When in Rome, the sailing tense is analytical. Yes.

      April 13, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
  8. Pipe-Dreamer

    Catholocism is not worthy of even being considered a Christianizable religion for they hold back so much dough in their treasuries that one could with ease, feed many 3rd world countries for perhaps years if they were to "give up" their dough!
    April 13, 2012 at 5:57 pm
    Some, not many are child molesters. If one sees the clrgy as a family would one not try to hide their family's dirty laundry from the neighbors? Because the clergy are devotionalists and dedicated to their Faith's inabilities to have sound reasoning skills does not make them all out to be evil sinners, but in harboring one's dirty laundry, the clergy needs to send it out to be cleansed.
    April 13, 2012 at 6:04 pm
    The religiously devoted are not "dumb", they are scared and they are not "ignorant", they need guidance to reconcile their lousy and immoral Life they have once led. They are scared and want to find reasons for changing their Life! God to them and myself is the answer to the many Acts and actions we all have done wrong in one's past. It isn't rocket science that one can learn to overcome their own rememberences if ills' wongdoings. They need a little push from people who are as a light and can be found a comforting flame of hope and inspiration to ever so slowly llead them to God and yes the King of all God's Sons and Daughters, our Redeemer Christ Jesus.
    April 13, 2012 at 6:15 pm
    Being of "pride" for getting or being laid is not for the faint of heart. In getting laid at such an early age in my or anyone's Life will eventually play in their Life's deck of cards and in dealing this deck one does ever come across the once were cards to ever be reminded of times' past. That's why I say and do regard myself as being but a lowly closeted Christian unworthy of being called a righteous man of 57 years and counting the days looking ever onward to my Life's End! If God and His Sons and yes, Daughters truly are a realism, then I will be given my justice accordingly for my deeds done here in this real of Celestial Cunning! If there is no God, then I will be none the wiser!
    April 13, 2012 at 6:31 pm
    It may one day be truth where the Mother of all Christendoms will bite the proverbial bullet! She will not, though go down without fighting and screaming and gouging the eyes out of many of her followers. Let's all get back to the basics. A horse to plough the fields with and a cow from which to husband with another's bull, some chickens and rabbits some pigs and goats. Ah for the good ol' days they will soon be a coming back! "Push the buttons you ingrates and let's get this show on the road again"!
    April 13, 2012 at 6:49 pm
    One one
    Religion offers the seductive simplicity of certainty, a temptation too strong for many to resist.
    April 13, 2012 at 7:18 pm
    The "trickery" of atheisms are their deluding others of weakened minds and fair gaminess in moments of despair. It is quite easy to see death as being one's end but such a death is of physical accords while the spiritual works of the Holy Ghost are an endless affair of God's whole-heartedness to give to beleivers another spirit-filled Life upon the inner-workings of the Micro-Chasms unending places inwardly and not up in or even in the abovenss like many worshipper are led to beleive in their mind's eye. We are much more than a piece of flesh upon bones. We are of God and His whole families do live inside us! I Love in the joys of knowing God's few Truths He has let my mind's eyes see and I lay awake at nights ever dreamful of my next Life inside the kingdom Domain of God, the Heaven's Father and Creator of and of all Celestial manifestations! God's will is ever to be done knowingly or unknwoingly for these are the choices one has. To believe or not to believe in God, the Father and His eons of Sons and Daughters and theirs and always on down the lines of each and every generation of His Godliness Kinds!
    April 13, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    April 13, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
  9. IslandAtheist

    Why do Christians need health care when they have Jesus?

    April 13, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      IslandAtheist,,,,,,,,,,,, ,.

      Do we truly need to be handed a full plate or an overflowing cup in order to not fend for ourselves? Is it not pleasurable to find things out and seek for that which one does not understand fully? God has given us, His Son, Christ Jesus, the crown of Kingship to rule over his brothers and sisters to live and reside inside our bodies which are but God's buildings!

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

      April 13, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
  10. One one

    Religion offers the seductive simplicity of certainty, a temptation too strong for many to resist.

    April 13, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
  11. Pipe-Dreamer

    There is a time to hold onto and a time to let go of. There are times to remember and time's to try and forget. Their are people who do scratch at and claw upon the words of others' faithed wordages. There also people who stand by and listen and just plainly observe There are those who listen and observe just people of pleasentries and others of ill will who might prey upon those who are unsheltered and in unleavened safe harborages. The young in heart's souls are spirited and weak in love and try searching the lands ever to seek loving from others away from the nest. Loving your children always is a test!

    April 13, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • Jill

      There is not. There is apple crumble in Leningrad such that the diligence is cooked tenderly but not in advance of the spring. Cows were here but now are not in the mail. Instead, we look at alternatives in scent and storm. That is how the occupant exits the seat yet presents certain consequences. Blueberries too are justified but cannot be tied. So, there in the here and not.

      April 13, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
  12. Liz the First

    'Freedom of Religion!' you Catholics keep saying that. i don't think it means what you think it means. freedom of religion means somebody else's church doesnt get to tell me what to do. it means if you don't believe in abortion, don't have one, but you're not allowed to tell me i can't have one. it means churches don't make public policy on secular matters. they don't get to tell insurance companies what they can and cannot do.

    April 13, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
  13. When will this end?

    Do dumb for science......try religion!

    April 13, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • Sad

      If this is what passes for smart...

      April 13, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • When will this end?

      Other than being brainwashed humans have zero reason to believe if they have access to the internet. My friend, smart left the building long ago.

      April 13, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • Sad

      Oh trust me, I'm sold on that already.

      April 13, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
  14. Ricksta

    So the child molesters want more freedom, eh?

    April 13, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  15. brett

    when these people stop attacking my life, i'll stop attacking theirs. these guys are the biggest hippocrits

    April 13, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      It takes knowing to be known and being known is in one's knowing............

      April 13, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      @Pipe-Dreamer, In knowing oneself, one no longer needs to know god.

      April 13, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
  16. cpc65

    Didn't the Gelgamek bishops attend? What did the giant Queen Spider have to say on the subject?

    April 13, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • bobcat

      LOL.

      April 13, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
  17. When will this end?

    It must be true because it's written in the bible and the bible says everything that's written in the bible is true. Please.

    April 13, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • Sad

      A presumedly non-fictional book that claims it's non-fiction? Preposterous! Of course the Bible (or the Quran or the Torah) would claim within themselves to be truth. Or were you hoping to find a verse that says: "And lo, this Book is full of crap and is nothing but lies (except this verse)." Seriously, where did the intelligent atheists go?

      April 13, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • zeyn2010

      Maybe all religions on earth came about because of extra terrestrial contact… this would make the holy books partially true. Some of the stories is these books sound like people at the time couldn't understand the advanced technologies they witnessed.

      April 13, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      "where did the intelligent atheists go?"

      an intelligent atheist is an oxymoron. You have to be ultra-stupid to miss the signs of God pilling up all around your existence.

      April 13, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • wait..

      Of course who can miss all the signs of god..
      – Rain falls.. god done it.. oops no science says something
      – tides occur.. god done it.. oops no science says something
      – stars shine at night.. god done it.. oops no science says something
      – why is there night and day.. god done it.. oops no science says something
      – earth is flat.. god done it.. oops no science says something
      – human body is perfect.. god done it.. oops no science says there are some things left by evolution starting with appendix and wistom tooth
      – million year old Dinosaur bones in 6000yr old earth? god done it to mess with humans..

      apparently, as time passes, god decided to pull a whole lot of his signs from the universe.. wonder why..

      April 13, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      @B(iraq) Hussein Osama, I guess atheists lack the intelligence to believe in invisible super heroes, talking snakes, a boat that carried every lifeform on the planet and then put them all back in their natural habitat, people that lived to 900 years old, that dinosaurs and humans walked the earth together, that the earth is less than 10k years old and that miracles happen and prayer works despite not one amputee ever having been healed. Yes... we're the idiots.

      April 13, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • Teluu

      Bible was written by men inspired by their greedy ego.

      April 13, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
  18. Teluu

    Image Jesus alive and been told he has no human father, how sad will it be? They waited after 80 years of his dead and some psychos came out will false and fairy tales he is born by the so call "holy ghost" and some brainless believe it. Come On guys! Who will get pregnant without a sperm of a man. It makes one believe Christian religion is based on total lies and false.

    April 13, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Nii

      TELUU
      Some female mice have been induced to give birth without cross gender fertilization of their ova in what is called the Virgin Birth Method.
      A disgraced Korean scientist reproduced this in humans but language barriers made him confuse it with cloning. This led to his disgrace for fake cloning.

      April 13, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
  19. Sardukar

    Keep talking and you loose your tax exempt status...

    April 13, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
  20. Dan

    What people need, is freedom FROM religion. Decisions on things like contraception should be extraneous from religious principles.

    April 13, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • zeyn2010

      Totally agree!

      April 13, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      I agree Dan. If you were to put a sign asking folks to think.. religions consider that as oppression and an assault on their belief. These out bursts we hear about are really a reaction to modern communications that allow others to have their say..its a new concept to religions who have been able to suppress opposing views for many centuries.

      April 13, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      The Art of making babies should not be a socialized abundancy to be willingly tampered with and tread heavily upon by mere fraternizations of implicities to become nothing more than a socially acceptable Act of lusting activities!

      April 13, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • Jarvis.Lorry

      EvolvedDNA,
      Thanks to the Internet even the little guy finally has a chance to have his say. And the little guy is just smart as the Pope or any member of the Catholic hierarchy–probably smarter. The distribution of Ideas is no longer limited to the ones who can afford to print gallons of ink on paper or who can pay to dominate the air waves.

      I also think CNN deserves much praise in permitting us to post on their site.

      April 14, 2012 at 7:06 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.