by Kathleen Gilbert –
The Family Research Council has released a letter signed by over 2,500 pastors and evangelical leaders protesting the Obama administration’s birth control insurance mandate. They join every Catholic bishop that heads a diocese in the United States in opposition to the mandate.
“This is not a Catholic issue,” Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins said in unveiling the letter at a press conference today. “We will not tolerate any denomination having their religious freedom infringed upon by the government.”
Perkins was accompanied Bishop Harry Jackson, Dr. Richard Land, Pastor Gary Simons, and Star Parker.
In the letter released by the FRC, the leaders cited the words of Thomas Jefferson in the 1779 Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom, a forerunner to the First Amendment, which states: “to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical.”
“The vast majority of religious organizations will be required to choose either to violate their consciences or drop their health coverage for employees,” stated the leaders, noting that the mandate is “all the more egregious” for including drugs known to cause abortions such as the “week-after pill” Ella.
“No church should be forced to concede their faith to kneel at the altar of government. And until the administration rights this wrong, we unite with our allies in diverse faith traditions in demanding what George Washington called ‘the invaluable rights of free citizens,’” said Perkins.
The signatories also pointed out that the administration received over 200,000 messages against the mandate during the comments period. The mandate has nonetheless remained in substantially the same form as when it was first proposed last summer.
To view the letter, click here.
In addition to the letter’s signatories, every Catholic bishop heading a U.S. diocese, as well as the 65 canonical bishops of the Orthodox Church, has issued a statement condemning the rule. Even the Sisters for Life, a religious order dedicated to fostering respect for life, have said that they too would be forced to pay for abortifacient drugs under the rule and have expressed their opposition.
“It took just three weeks, but every single Catholic Bishop in America has officially condemned the President’s mandate,” said Perkins. “Even though the media has mostly buried this fact, one hundred percent of them oppose the rule that orders faith-based groups to pay for drugs that destroy pregnancies or prevent them. It’s a formidable group, and today, they do not stand alone.
“Every pocket of religious America is linking arms at the front lines of this war on religious freedom.”
American citizens also appear to have turned against the mandate: In a CNN poll last week, American adults said they opposed the rule 50-44 percent.