The USCCB made clear in a statement today that the latest “accommodation” from the HHS remains a violation of our First Amendment right to religious liberty:
“The Administration’s proposal maintains its inaccurate distinction among religious ministries.
“It appears to offer second-class status to our first-class institutions in Catholic health care, Catholic education and Catholic charities.
“HHS offers what it calls an ‘accommodation’ rather than accepting the fact that these ministries are integral to our church and worthy of the same exemption as our Catholic churches.”
“And finally, it seems to take away something that we had previously—the ability of an exempt employer (such as a diocese) to extend its coverage to the employees of a ministry outside the exemption.”
The more you look at the latest HHS ‘accommodation’ the more you realize that the only answer is its full repeal.
And Cardinal Dolan also stood up for the First Amendment rights of Catholics in the business world.
“[T]he bishops explained that the ‘HHS mandate creates still a third class, those with no conscience protection at all: individuals who, in their daily lives, strive constantly to act in accordance with their faith and moral values.’
“This includes employers sponsoring and subsidizing the coverage, insurers writing it, and beneficiaries paying individual premiums for it. Friday’s action confirms that HHS has no intention to provide any exemption or accommodation at all to this ‘third class.’
“In obedience to our Judeo-Christian heritage, we have consistently taught our people to live their lives during the week to reflect the same beliefs that they proclaim on the Sabbath. We cannot now abandon them to be forced to violate their morally well-informed consciences.”
Bravo, Cardinal Dolan!