Parchment Promises

The right to practice your religion, the right to free speech, enshrined in the Constitution of the United States? Not so much.

It doesn’t matter if you think he’s right or wrong on this issue. What matters is his right to say it. Here is the full text of the Archbishop’s letter.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

I write to you concerning an alarming and serious matter that negatively impacts the Church in the United States directly, and that strikes at the fundamental right to religious liberty for all citizens of any faith. The federal government, which claims to be “of, by, and for the people,” has just been dealt a heavy blow to almost a quarter of those people — the Catholic population — and to the millions more who are served by the Catholic faithful.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that almost all employers, including Catholic employers, will be forced to offer their employees’ health coverage that includes sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception. Almost all health insurers will be forced to include those “services” in the health policies they write. And almost all individuals will be forced to buy that coverage as a part of their policies.

In so ruling, the Obama Administration has cast aside the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, denying to Catholics our Nation’s first and most fundamental freedom, that of religious liberty. And as a result, unless the rule is overturned, we Catholics will be compelled to either violate our consciences, or to drop health coverage for our employees (and suffer the penalties for doing so). The Obama Administration’s sole concession was to give our institutions one year to comply.

We cannot—we will not—comply with this unjust law. People of faith cannot be made second class citizens. We are already joined by our brothers and sisters of all faiths and many others of good will in this important effort to regain our religious freedom. Our parents and grandparents did not come to these shores to help build America’s cities and towns, its infrastructure and institutions, its enterprise and culture, only to have their posterity stripped of their God given rights. In generations past, the Church has always been able to count on the faithful to stand up and protect her sacred rights and duties. I hope and trust she can count on this generation of Catholics to do the same. Our children and grandchildren deserve nothing less.

And therefore, I would ask of you two things. First, as a community of faith we must commit ourselves to prayer and fasting that wisdom and justice may prevail, and religious liberty may be restored. Without God, we can do nothing; with God, nothing is impossible. Second, I would also recommend visiting www.usccb.org/conscience,to learn more about this severe assault on religious liberty, and how to contact Congress in support of legislation that would reverse the Obama Administration’s decision.

Sincerely yours in Christ,
+Alexander K. Sample
Most Reverend Alexander K. Sample
Bishop of Marquette

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10 thoughts on “Parchment Promises

  1. I fail to see how making a medical procedure more affordable is somehow denying religious freedom. Nobody's forcing you to get abortions or birth control.

    Not to mention 98 percent of Catholics use birth control. In America, anyway. And by the way, the Church's position on contraception has directly contributed to the spread of AIDS in Africa… because people will beg forgiveness from God for rape and premarital sex, but condoms? Unforgivable.

    And while I'm at it, I recently read an article regarding the decline of Constitution emulation in developing countries. Could it be that there's something wrong with it, and it's not the semi-divine artifact so many people think it is?

  2. This issue was that he had been told (ordered) not to talk about it. The underlying issue is force being used to make people pay for something they think is wrong.

    And in a previous post I linked to the article you're referencing. I don't think it's divine. I think it's direct, unambiguous references to individual rights are unique and worthwhile. I also think that it is the document that we are all agreeing is the foundation of our laws. If you want to change it, there are methods to do so, but you can't just ignore the parts of it you don't like.

  3. We received the exact same letter from our Bishop last Sunday.
    It's the only time in my memory (at least 50 years) that I can remember the church taking a stand against the government.

    I'm good with that.

  4. Yes he does have the right to voice his opinion. The issue the GOP is making it, though, is a religious conflict… to garner votes. In my opinion it's a pretty shitty thing to cry foul when women's health is at stake.

    By the way. This new law does not apply to actual churches. It would apply to, for example, a Catholic college that might hire a web designer or IT personnel that aren't always going to be Catholic.

  5. Just throwing it out there, but I almost 100% sure Mitt or Santorum would not have pulled this crap on the Catholic Church…

  6. Ego says, “…I don't see this as 'making a medical procedure more affordable'…” nor is it denying religious freedom. What it is doing is making the church pay for something it does not condone, either as a religious entity or a business.
    Too, Egocentrist's argument, “…Not to mention 98 percent of Catholics use birth control. In America, anyway. And by the way, the Church's position on contraception has directly contributed to the spread of AIDS in Africa… because people will beg forgiveness from God for rape and premarital sex, but condoms? Unforgivable…” does not seem valid under the microscope.
    Those 09% who use birth control are paying for it themselves, not the church. Why should any business be forced to pay for your BC products?
    How has the churches position on contraception contributed to aids in Africa, or anywhere else, for that matter? AIDS was discovered first in Africa, transported across the world, by homosexuals. (So does the churches stand on homosexuals make it responsible for AIDS, Ego?)
    As for the article read on the decline of the Constitution- who were the people talking in and about that article? I'll bet there wasn't a conservative among the troupe.
    Not that such would bother you, by all appearances.

  7. BTW Ego, this has nothing to do with religion, & everything to do with first amendment rights.

    The “women's health” argument is total bullshit; no one, anywhere, on the federal level is trying to stop women from doing what they want with their bodies.

    Would you make the straight-up argument that government infringement on the first amendment rights of individuals is not unconstitutional?

  8. If you can't see that this is a woman's rights issue, then I'm not even going to bother, and just give my condolences to all the women in your life.

    And if you're still going to play the 1st amendment card, then why don't you read the facts again? The church you go to on Sundays does not have to give its employees comprehensive preventive health insurance. But if there is a for-profit, tax-paying institution like, say, Brigham Young University, then yes, their employees do have to get this coverage. No longer will they be allowed to force control on women's bodies. Again, the woman will not HAVE to take birth control! After all, if she just didn't have sex except to have children, this wouldn't be an issue, right?

    Anyways, you got your compromise, or so I hear. Now the workers will get free contraception directly from health insurance companies.

  9. I don't really understand this issue, although I do think playing the first amendment card is a little weird, but I do know, Shy Wolf, that AIDS/ HIV was spread around the world by both heterosexuals and homosexuals, and it is a mistake to think otherwise. I want to call you an idiot, but that won't really make my point.

    Whether or not the Catholic Church pays for birth control doesn't matter to me. A failure of any people who have power and information (Governments, Churches, etc.) to inform the people they supposedly care about (churchgoers, citizens) that a simple use of a condom in both Gay and Straight relationships can prevent the spread of HIV is a moral failing. The insurance issue is a political thing. Pretending that promoting abstinence is the best way to prevent the spread of STD's is foolish, and when done by someone in charge, morally wrong.

    I am far from having the answer about health insurance, or how much churches should be obligated to provide as compared to other employers. But I do know that an organization that has systematically abused little boys is certainly not one I would take my cues on when it came to morality. God-given or not, you have to use your own sense when it comes to morals.

    And if for some reason you still think that AIDS is only spread through homosexuals, I suggest you take a long look at Africa again. A woman whose only recourse to feed her children is prostitution will soon find herself infected with HIV in Africa. Which she got from a man. Which she will pass on to her children. Which has nothing to do with homosexuality. Which could all be prevented, or greatly reduced, by the use of condoms. Which the Catholic Church forbids.

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