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.” [Read more…]
by USCCB – The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops offers the following clarifications regarding the Health and Human Services regulations on mandatory coverage of contraceptives, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs.
1. The mandate does not exempt Catholic charities, schools, universities, or hospitals. These institutions are vital to the mission of the Church, but HHS does not deem them “religious employers” worthy of conscience protection, because they do not “serve primarily persons who share the[ir] religious tenets.” HHS denies these organizations religious freedom precisely because their purpose is to serve the common good of society—a purpose that government should encourage, not punish.
2. The mandate forces these institutions and others, against their conscience, to pay for things they consider immoral. Under the mandate, the government forces religious insurers to write policies that violate their beliefs; forces religious employers and schools to sponsor and subsidize coverage that violates their beliefs; and forces religious employees and students to purchase coverage that violates their beliefs. [Read more…]
by Matt Cover – The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops – comprising the 65 Orthodox Christian bishops of the United States, Canada, and Mexico – has thrown its weight behind the opposition to the Obama administration’s mandate that all insurance carriers provide sterilization and contraception free of charge, including FDA-approved contraceptives that induce abortions.
“The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, which is comprised of the 65 canonical Orthodox bishops in the United States, Canada and Mexico, join their voices with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and all those who adamantly protest the recent decision by the United States Department of Health and Human Services,” the Orthodox bishops wrote in a Feb. 2 statement [reproduced in full below].[Read more…]
by Kathleen Gilbert – The White House announced today that, instead of forcing religious employers to pay for birth control, it will force insurance companies to offer the drugs free of charge to all women, no matter where they work.
The plan, touted as a concession to freedom of religion and conscience, was immediately denounced by pro-life Rep. Chris Smith. “The so-called new policy is the discredited old policy, dressed up to look like something else, said Smith. It remains a serious violation of religious freedom. Only the most naive or gullible would accept this as a change in policy.”
“The White House Fact Sheet is riddled with doublespeak and contradiction,” Smith continued. “It states, for example, that religious employers ‘will not’ have to pay for abortion pills, sterilization and contraception, but their ‘insurance companies’ will. Who pays for the insurance policy? The religious employer.” [Read more…]
by Ben Johnson – One of the most influential evangelical leaders in the United States says Christians should go to jail rather than comply with the Obama administration’s mandate to provide all contraception, including abortion-inducing drugs, in their health care plans.
Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), told LifeSiteNews.com “we will not comply” with the Dept. of Health and Human Services’ mandate requiring religious institutions to cover abortifacient products such as Plan B, Ella, and the IUD.
“We want the law changed, or else we’re going to write our letters from the Nashville jail, just like Dr. King wrote his from the Birmingham jail,” Dr. Land said. [Read more…]
by Ben Johnson – The 65 canonical bishops of the Orthodox Church have asked President Barack Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to repeal the mandate that religious institutions provide birth control, sterilization, and Plan B abortion drugs in their health care coverage.
by Chuck Colson – I’ve told you that the Obama Administration is intentionally restricting religious freedom. I’ve told you we are in danger of losing the right to exercise our faith in public.
Well, maybe I’ve been too understated. The attack is relentless.
Just recently, the Obama Administration announced that the Affordable Healthcare Act, otherwise known as ObamaCare, requires that employers pay for contraception, including abortifacients, and that Catholic institutions are not exempt from this requirement.
Well, Catholic Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh and other bishops are blowing the trumpets on the ramparts. And my hat’s off to them. They see the Administration’s actions for what they truly are. [Read more…]
This past Sunday, January 29, Roman Catholic congregations were read letters opposing the Obama administration’s demand that all Catholic universities and Catholic-based charities make sure they provide all employees access to health insurance providing artificial contraception, including abortifacients and sterilization services such as vasectomies and tubal ligations. The “morning after” pill is also included.
The clerics’ fiery rebukes follow Pope Benedict XVI’s January 19 speech in which he warned the Catholic Church of the increasing threats of radical secularism’s intrusion into politics and culture. The Holy Father specifically mentioned the U.S. church’s need to be afforded conscientious objection to the administration’s demand for compliance within one year. [Read more…]
Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops – The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, which is comprised of the 65 canonical Orthodox bishops in the United States, Canada and Mexico, join their voices with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and all those who adamantly protest the recent decision by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, and call upon all the Orthodox Christian faithful to contact their elected representatives today to voice their concern in the face of this threat to the sanctity of the Church’s conscience. [Read more…]
by John Couretas – At an October 1970 meeting of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the Americas (SCOBA), which was called to discuss the burning question of an independent American Church, the presiding conference chair Archbishop Iakovos got fed up and quit. Official letters raising the subject of independence had been sent to the “mother Churches” in Constantinople, Bucharest, Belgrade, Athens and other Orthodox “centers” pointing for the need to do something about the chaotic “situation of Orthodoxy in America.” Only three replies came back. To the Greek Orthodox Iakovos, this was proof that no one took SCOBA seriously and, for that matter, the American Orthodox.
The archbishop resigned from SCOBA in disgust, saying that he had no desire to be the head of a “dead body.” According to a contemporary account, the official minutes of the meeting were forged to cover up what would turn out to be a temporary resignation.[Read more…]
by Kathleen Gilbert – Saying it’s “really hard to believe that it happened,” the bishop of Pittsburgh has taken aim at the Obama administration’s birth control mandate.
“It comes like a slap in the face. The Obama administration has just told the Catholics of the United States, ‘To Hell with you!’” wrote Bishop David Zubik in a hard-hitting column appearing on the diocese’s website. “There is no other way to put it.”
Catholic bishops have been up in arms ever since the administration indicated it would force virtually all employers to cover all birth control, including drugs that can cause early abortions, like Plan B and ella. Last week, Catholic Church leaders were aghast to hear that, upon further consideration, the administration had refused to back down, instead simply giving outraged faith-based groups another year to comply with the mandate. [Read more…]
by Peter Heck – The left’s logical case for abortion rights had officially collapsed. We can thank CNN’s Piers Morgan for administering last rites when he resorted to the tired, sensationalized, “Yeah, well, what if your daughter was raped?” argument with Rick Santorum in a televised interview (video).
There’s a reason why anytime we seek to settle a bitter dispute between two feuding parties, we turn to a disinterested third person to act as the arbiter. There’s a reason why courtroom litigants plead their case before an unbiased, dispassionate jury of their peers. There’s a reason why the president and the public evaluate the temperament of judges before appointing or electing them to office. The reason is because we know that when attempting to come to a clear, rational, sound conclusion about serious and many times controversial issues, emotional connections to either side can cloud our judgment and confuse our thinking. [Read more…]
Metropolitan Jonah – As reported earlier on oca.org, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah offered the opening prayer during the program that preceded the March for Life here on Monday, January 23, 2012.
“Roman Catholic Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, who is in charge of pro-life activities, invited the Orthodox bishops to stand together with the Roman Bishops, as we are of one mind in regards to Life, and for us to begin to alternate giving the opening prayer for the March,” Metropolitan Jonah said, reflecting on the March. “This year, they gave the honor to me to bless the opening of the March for Life on their behalf, as well as on behalf of the Orthodox. With me at that podium, at my request, was Cardinal-elect Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York.
“This is a significant ecumenical event, a strong gesture of unity, and a great symbol of the respect of the Roman Catholic Church for the Orthodox Church in America,” Metropolitan Jonah continued. “We are of one mind in opposition to abortion as a fundamental doctrinal and moral position, in accordance with the ancient Tradition of the undivided orthodox catholic Church.” [Read more…]
by The Editors – At a religious event often dominated by massive presence of Roman Catholics, members of the Eastern Orthodox Church played a more visible role in this year’s March for Life than ever before. For the first time, the opening prayer in front of the Supreme Court was offered by His Eminence Jonah (Paffhausen), Metropolitan of All America and Canada for the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), as well as Roman Catholic prelates Daniel Cardinal DiNardo and Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan.
“We are of one heart and one purpose,” he said as he chanted a litany of life before hundreds of thousands of marchers.
The Metropolitan was joined by several of his brother bishops, including Bp. Melchizedek of Pittsburgh, Bp. Matthias of Chicago, and Bp. Michael of New York. At least 15 priests were in his company alone. Several individual representatives of the Carpatho-Russian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, and Antiochian Orthodox Churches also participated. [Read more…]
OCA – Orthodox Christians everywhere — especially those within driving distance of the US capital — are encouraged to bear witness to their faith at the annual March for Life Monday, January 23, 2012.
As in years past, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, will speak at the pre-March program and offer prayers for the victims of abortion at the conclusion of the March. He will also attend the annual Rose Dinner.
Other members of the Orthodox Church in America’s Holy Synod of Bishops who will participate in the March are His Grace, Bishop Melchisedek; His Grace, Bishop Michael; and His Grace, Bishop Matthias. Archpriest John Jillions, OCA Chancellor; Archpriest John Kowalczyk, a pro-life activist and co-founder of the Orthodox Presence at the March for Life; numerous other clergy; and students and faculty members of Saint Tikhon’s and Saint Vladimir’s seminaries also plan to be in attendance. [Read more…]