Dozens of Protestant leaders join US bishops in decrying HHS mandate
CWN - July 03, 2013
The leaders of dozens of Protestant denominations, including the Assemblies of God and the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, have joined officials of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Southern Baptist Convention in signing an open letter decrying the HHS mandate.
“We are pleased to stand with so many partners from other faith traditions in raising continued awareness over the religious liberty concerns and the HHS Mandate,” Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore said at a press conference announcing the open letter. “Those present today and the statement we have signed underscores that this is about the religious freedom enjoyed by people of all faiths and even no faith at all, something we hold dear as Americans, and something most worthy of defending and preserving.”
“The government has given us word games and accounting tricks that amount to the same mandate, over and over again,” added Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s largest Protestant denomination. “We are not so easily hypnotized by bureaucratic parlor tricks. Our government has treated free exercise of religion as though it were a tattered house standing in the way of a government construction of a railroad, there to be bought off or plowed out of the way, in the name of progress. We dissent.”
The letter was also signed by several Catholic college presidents, as well as by Mormon, Scientology, and Krishna Consciousness officials.
“Through its contraceptive coverage mandate, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) continues to breach universal principles affirmed and protected by the U.S. Constitution and other federal laws,” the letters’ signatories state. “While the mandate is a specific offense, it represents a greater fundamental breach of conscience by the federal government. Very simply, HHS is forcing Citizen A, against his or her moral convictions, to purchase a product for Citizen B. The HHS policy is coercive and puts the administration in the position of defining–or casting aside–religious doctrine. This should trouble every American.”
“Many of the signatories on this letter do not hold doctrinal objections to the use of contraception,” the letter continued. “Yet we stand united in protest to this mandate, recognizing the encroachment on the conscience of our fellow citizens.”
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