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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. Listen Here

    Foregone conclusion. The biggest threat to religious rights is the Roman Catholic Church, that's what! The pope should not be telling people how to live their lives and no one should be listening to that guy!

    April 12, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • Const.itution law = Christian law

      Shut up and move to North Korea

      The Pope is a great example of how to live life.... otherwise it would be crazy

      April 12, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • Lucifer

      What?? you mean the NAZI head of the pedophile church should not be telling people how to live their lives??? That is nuts! 😉

      April 12, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • We know the truth...

      The pope is just another old guy who dresses funny...

      April 12, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • Lucifer

      Yeah, listen a great example. Be a Nazi in your youth, claim you were "forced" then defend pedophiles. I cannot think of a better life for anyone.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • Observer

      Const.itution law = Christian law,

      Your rudeness and name-calling is just another example of hypocritical Christians.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • Very Correct

      Listen Here is so right! The pope should mind his own business and not be trying to take away a person's individual freedom. People should be completely sovereign on that matter as part of their God-given gift. What the pope should be doing is helping the poor, the sick, orphans, and the disadvantaged with all the money he has hoarded at the Vatican as Jesus would like for him to do. But does he do that? Hell No!

      April 12, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • Commenter

      "The Pope is a great example of how to live life..."

      Yes, be celibate and DO NOT make babies!!!

      April 12, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
  2. Martin

    Class of 2012 recieving their Masters in Pedophelia

    April 12, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • Lucifer

      Yeah, and they probably don't use rubbers. You know, Jesus does not like rubbers.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
  3. badlobbyist

    I'd like the freedom to not have to pay any church's share of national defense, road construction, police protection, fire protection, and a host of other govt. benefits that they receive w/o paying taxes like the rest of us.

    April 12, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • Const.itution law = Christian law

      Good Luck

      Synagogues, Mosques etc. don't pay taxes either

      April 12, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • Lucifer

      But synogogues and mosques are not trying to force their beliefs on anyone, like the pedophile church

      April 12, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
  4. Sharp

    In America we have separation of church & state. The Roman Catholic Church has no right to inject itself into politics, period. If they don't wish to abide by the same laws as all other charities I suggest they become private organizations & pay their share of taxes & treat their workers fairly. The churches thoroughly abuse their tax exempt status for their private gain. The Catholic Church is fabulously wealthy & untouchable. The history, current & past, of what religion does when it gets political power is the history of repression, torture & abuse of human rights. Just look at the Muslim Theocracies like Iran.

    April 12, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • Const.itution law = Christian law

      http://rightremedy.org/tracts/7

      America is a Christian country

      April 12, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • Christian law is not above government

      American is religion freedom country. It may have a large christian percent, the law state it separation of church & state.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • badlobbyist

      America is not a Christian country. Freedom of religion does not equal Christian. Not a really hard concept. Neener, neener.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
  5. Lol

    I wish they clone the T-Rex and send them to attack the Vatican! 50 T-rex can eat all those child molosters in the picture and then sh!t them out in the Colloseum and the people can light the pile of sh!t on fire and have a big party!!!

    April 12, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • Lucifer

      I hear pedophiles are delicous.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • BADGUY

      In 1933, the Catholic Church, The Catholic Centre Party and Catholics voting in the Nazi Party voted to purge the German government of progressive elements and installed Adolf Hitler as Fuhrer! The Catholic Church, today, in America, is trying to purge progressive elements from the American Government and install Romney as President. Hmmmmmm?

      April 12, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
  6. Rene

    A noble cause! Good for all Americans to stand up too. The concern is that we are having this conversation at all. This was supposed to be guaranteed in the First Amendment. As far as not being forced...Yes it is a Mandate. There is no choice to not cover for it....Coverage is not use, you think. It is worse, it is like robbery first and a violation of conscience at the same time. It may be said to be like the Health Care Mandate that the Supreme Court just heard. It is the use of FORCE for Coverage. There is nothing about freedom, the only freedom is to not pay for it and face federal/tax like penalties! Pray for religious freedom to be always an American issue! I can't wait for the Supreme Court to hear the case on this one too! Thank you.

    April 12, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • Lucifer

      That Catholic church should spend as much energy stopping pedophiles as it does worrying about contraception.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • Christian law is not above government

      Dude we force to pay tax, (will not the church), we force to obey law, we are away force to do something. Religion is the allow to practice religion within the law and to don't discriminate against the other religion. Not let Christian do what they want.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • Rene

      First Amendment...and sure the 16th too...obey! Great! But why choose one over the other?

      April 21, 2012 at 12:38 am |
  7. Humanist

    What a load of BS. If the catholic church accepts federal money, that all of us pay in taxes – then yes; they must place potentially adoptive children with gay couples as well as straight ones. If they don’t like it, then they should get out of the adoption business. Likewise, if they wish to accept federal money in order to support universities and hospitals, then yes, they must provide contraception coverage to women. Don’t like it, get out of the education and hospital businesses. In addition, the catholic church needs to start paying taxes. They are far too involved in politics to have the right to shield their income under the disguise of “religion”.

    Stop putting on the façade that the church is somehow “holier than thou” – they are just a bunch of greedy men and women who thrive on the pain, suffering, and ignorance of mankind.

    April 12, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • Const.itution law = Christian law

      WoW you sound like Stalin and Mao

      April 12, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • Humanist

      Hey "Christian Law": Your username speaks volumes as to just how out of touch you are.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • Lucifer

      Come to think of it Christian Law, Mao and Stalin killed about as many people as the pedophile popes have. Not bad... you catholics make the devil proud! 🙂

      April 12, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
  8. Lilly

    Those of us with Faith are deeply troubled by the tone and arrogance of this administration. "Congress shall make "NO LAW" respecting an establishment of religion , "OR" prohibiting the "FREE EXERCISE" thereof!!!!!!!!!! If faith says this is wrong than you have no "RIGHT" to prohibit etc etc. Keep your hands out of my Faith. Stop trying to "Shame" people stop trying to belittle us by making us out to be haters just because we disagree with you on this very important issue. Where will it go next?? You'll want to control what we hear from the pulpit???

    April 12, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • Const.itution law = Christian law

      http://rightremedy.org/tracts/7

      http://rightremedy.org/tracts/7

      http://rightremedy.org/tracts/7

      READ READ

      April 12, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • Humanist

      Yes, if your pulpit is accepting federal tax dollars that I pay into, then yes, I want a say in what’s “preached” at your pulpit. I’ve got a message for you: Get your religion out of my face. No crosses in public places; no ten commandments in court houses; etc. Keep your religion to yourself and tell your church to stop shoving it down all of our throats through every avenue possible.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • We know the truth...

      "Those of us with Faith are deeply troubled by the tone and arrogance of this administration."

      Obama is simply giving non-believers the right not to have religion forced down their throats... Grow up and keep your religion to yourself.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • Sharp

      Stop twisting Freedom of Religion to your own selfish goals. The doctrine is in place to keep religion out of politics, not pry open the legislatures & give the churches unlimited tax free funds.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • Humanist

      Hey “Chrisian law”: That website is “out there”. Perhaps you should pop a few more pain meds and pray a little... (Did someone say “crazy train”?)

      April 12, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • Casey

      Wow... just so much hate and uninformed opinion. It seems that many only care about their own related agenda... The Church receives no governmental funding. The Const*tution was set up to protect religion from government. They didn't want the government to make a particular church the "official" church (Like what happened in England) so people coundn't practice in the way they wanted... and they specifically the no could be passed which abridged the free exercise of a persons Faith.

      April 13, 2012 at 1:22 am |
  9. lasparky11

    Just because we say you have to treat all people equal, we prosecute you for molesting children, and say no to religion in our government doesn't mean were anti religious or against freedom of religion. You need to learn the difference, this isn't 15Th century Spain were you can do whatever you want.

    April 12, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • Const.itution law = Christian law

      Go take a nap.....

      April 12, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
  10. We know the truth...

    The biggest threats to religion?? Logic. Common sense. Truth. Education. Thinking...

    April 12, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • Const.itution law = Christian law

      Obey the law, shut up or leave your moron

      April 12, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • We know the truth...

      "Obey the law, shut up or leave your moron"

      Typical mindless response from a delusional Christian... Thanks for proving my point.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • Deborah

      AMEN!!

      April 12, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • Const.itution law = Christian law

      Better than having your crazy gothic, evil and bad lifestyle shoveled in our throats

      April 12, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • lasparky11

      US laws are not based on Christan values or biblical law. We are not nor have we ever been a Christan nation. Better go study your history, start with the Treaty of Tripoli.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • Christian law is not above government

      we never "shoveled" at anyone. We never go house to house tell people to join. We never tell people to "Join Jesus or Go to Hell".

      April 12, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • We know the truth...

      "Better than having your crazy gothic, evil and bad lifestyle shoveled in our throats"

      Funny, I was thinking the same thing about Christians... Just remember that atheists are better educated, have higher IQs, make more money and are far happier than Christians... http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100410115522AAZH6v8

      Enjoy your delusions. People are outgrowing religion.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
  11. Const.itution law = Christian law

    Obey it, shut up or leave.

    April 12, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • Christian law is not above government

      they ever never make for each other. The founding father reject the idea of religion with government.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • Commenter

      What, exactly, is "Christian law"?

      April 12, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • Const.itution law = Christian law

      http://rightremedy.org/tracts/7

      April 12, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • Commenter

      Christian law = The 10 Commandments???

      1: Have no other gods – NOT A LAW
      2: Make no graven image – NOT A LAW
      3: Don’t take the name in vain – NOT A LAW
      4: Honor the Sabbath – NOT A LAW
      5: Honor thy father and mother – NOT A LAW
      6: Thou shalt not kill – NOT UNIQUE TO CHRISTIANITY (long pre-dated it)
      7: Thou shalt not commit adultery – huge number of Christians commit adultery by LEGALLY remarrying
      8: Thou shalt not steal – NOT UNIQUE TO CHRISTIANITY
      9: Thou shalt not bear false witness – NOT UNIQUE TO CHRISTIANITY
      10: Thou shalt not covet – NOT A LAW

      April 12, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • badlobbyist

      Wow, looking at that list Commenter posted #10 is basically a requirement to be an American isn't it? Aint that what capitalism is all about? Keeping up with the Joneses?

      April 12, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
  12. Joshie

    You have freedom to practice your religion. (the contraceptive issue) If you have strong convictions and faith, you dont have to take the contraceptive, its not being forced down your throat.

    April 12, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
  13. Shafir/MA

    Some people here say the USA is not a Christian country but then when you watch Fox News it is totally different.... so appearantly a news channel showed all over the country is more true than comments on cnn ?!

    April 12, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
  14. Pipe-Dreamer

    Again I tout, 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 11:04 pm |
    • shut up

      Yo you already said this cr.ap..... shut up

      April 12, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      PD is short for "Pontificating Dolt". He won't shut up. He's a troll.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
  15. Christian law is not above government

    Religion freedom allow the practice or religion within the law. If there is a religion law against the government, the government win. If Christian can simple not obey Government law, so do ALL RELIGION.

    April 12, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
  16. Isaac

    The state this country is in right now would make our founding fathers roll over in their graves.

    April 12, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • .

      Nopp most of them were Christians and would love to live under theocracy

      April 12, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • Christian law is not above government

      They were runaway from the church, because they cant stand church and create law to never combine Government and religion. They maybe christian, but they know never to let religion govern a nation.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • Humanist

      Isaac: I agree, thanks to George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and the GOP, the country is completely in the toilet. One can only hope that Pres. Obama will at least have 4 more years to attempt to continue leading the country out of the hole we’ve been put in.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
  17. Nestes

    Why don't we talk about the first American Bishop, Bishop Finn, going on trial in Kansas City Mo for not reporting child abuse.. Trying to cover up another priest attack on children... I haven't seen a news agency pick up that story... Doesn't the Catholic church realize they are pushing people away.. I had my children and went on the pill,, I guess I'm not the kinda Catholic they want so I'll go someplace else..

    April 12, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
  18. Joe Biden

    oh My God, a bunch of pedephiles.

    April 12, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • Const.itution law = Christian law

      Like your dad....

      btw take ESL classes for your grammar

      April 12, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
  19. JHC

    Are they fighting for their freedom to molest children?

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

      The media stereotypes Catholic priests as child molesters, The also stereotype Muslims as terrorists, Mexicans as the only illegal immigrants, and there are alot of other things that the media says to make you believe

      April 12, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
  20. Joe Biden

    My God, a bunch of pedephiles.

    April 12, 2012 at 10:55 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.