Thursday, June 21, 2012
Knights of Columbus fights Obamacare!
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The 1.8-million-member Knights of Columbus are the latest voice calling on the federal government to rescind a mandate that many view as a violation of religious freedom.
On the eve of the Fortnight for Freedom, a two-week period in which Catholics will pray, sacrifice and study issues of religious freedom, the Knights filed a formal comment with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the department overseeing implementation of the 2010 Affordable Care Act.
That law called for certain “preventive services” to be provided through employer health plans, with no cost-sharing on the part of employees. The services covered include contraceptives, sterilizations and abortion-causing drugs. Religious employers can get an exemption, but only if they meet a very narrow definition of religious organization. Catholic hospitals, schools and social service organizations would not qualify. [In other words, they force you to follow a civil law even if it is against your religious conviction or conscience!]
Today’s letter, signed by Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, urged "the Administration to rescind the Mandate altogether" or at least "to expand the religious exemption so that it covers all objecting individuals and organizations from cooperating in actions that genuinely offend their religious beliefs and moral convictions."
"To exempt only some institutions on the principle of respect for religious liberty, as the government seems to contemplate, and to refuse to exempt individuals makes no sense. The right to the free exercise of religion enshrined in the First Amendment extends to the people," the Knights’ letter says. [a universal human right! Sorry, Filipino Freethinkers!]
In the letter, the Knights note that the mandate "requires private Catholic individuals and entities, including organizations such as the Knights of Columbus, to violate their most deeply held religious beliefs" and that "it appears to do so in violation of federal law and the First Amendment of the Constitution." The letter also pointed out that "it is improper to deny statutory and First Amendment rights to religious liberty in order to create an entitlement to sterilization, abortifacients and contraception."
"Whatever the intent of the Mandate, and whatever form it takes, it should not compel religious individuals to pay for what they believe is morally wrong,” the letter states. “It is time for this Administration to chart another course."
At the U.S. bishops’ meeting in Atlanta last week, Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, the chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, affirmed the conference’s commitment to individual conscience rights and expressed frustration that secular forces and special interests were moving in an opposing direction.
“The idea that individual persons have a right to conscientious objection, as against coercive government action like the HHS mandate — though firmly established in both the teaching of the Church and the policy of the conference for generations — has not merely been called into question, but mocked as some kind of novel or marginal theory,” said Archbishop Lori, who is also supreme chaplain of the Knights of Columbus.
Expect the same thing when the RH Bill or that dumb Palatino Bill against religious symbols and activities in government offices becomes a law.
Yes, the Knights will not take these things sitting down.