Over 100 Protestant leaders announce opposition to HHS mandate
June 20, 2012
Despite their differing views on the morality of contraception, nearly 150 leaders of religious institutions, most of them Protestant, are opposed to the HHS mandate because it creates “two classes of religious organizations: churches—considered sufficiently focused inwardly to merit an exemption and thus full protection from the mandate; and faith-based service organizations—outwardly oriented and given a lesser degree of protection.”
In a letter written under the aegis of the International Religious Freedom Alliance, the signatories state:
It is this two-class system that the administration has embedded in federal law via the February 15, 2012, publication of the final rules providing for an exemption from the mandate for a narrowly defined set of “religious employers” and the related administration publications and statements about a different “accommodation” for non-exempt religious organizations.
And yet both worship-oriented and service-oriented religious organizations are authentically and equally religious organizations. To use Christian terms, we owe God wholehearted and pure worship, to be sure, and yet we know also that “pure religion” is “to look after orphans and widows in their distress” (James 1:27). We deny that it is within the jurisdiction of the federal government to define, in place of religious communities, what constitutes true religion and authentic ministry.
Signatories of the June 11 letter included the presidents of dozens of Protestant colleges and the leaders of the National Association of Evangelicals, the Salvation Army, and World Vision.
Catholic signatories included officials of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, Aquinas College (Tennessee), Belmont Abbey College, Catholic Distance University, Christendom College, DeSales University, John Paul the Great Catholic University, the College of St. Mary Magdalen, Mount St. Mary’s University, and St. Gregory’s University.
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