|2/10/2012 10:18:00 AM|
Contempt for one faith's freedom demeans all faiths
Catholic News Service photo
Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan of New York discusses the new birth control mandate on "CBS This Morning" Feb. 9.
Americans treasure their freedoms. We ache for people in other parts of the world who cannot worship according to their faith or who are not free to follow their consciences. Many of us have thought that we would never be put in that position.
Until now no federal law would require anyone to violate his or her conscience by purchasing, selling, sponsoring or being covered by a private health plan that violates his or her conscience. Now, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has redefined those who are entitled to a religious exemption. In order to be allowed this exemption, a religious organization must both hire and serve primarily people of its own faith.
The Catholic Church hires many non-Catholics and serves still more people of other faiths. Imagine a country where those who are most vulnerable and in need could only be fed in a soup kitchen sponsored by a Catholic agency if they are Catholic. Imagine Catholic organizations who can hire only Catholics. Or imagine Catholic parishes and organizations not providing health care for their employees. The choice being offered to the Catholic Church is simply this: violate your conscience or stop providing health care to your employees.
Non-Catholics might not hold the same moral principles as we do but they do share the same religious freedoms. When a government agency declares its lack of respect for the conscience of any faith community, it announces its contempt for the religious freedom of all faiths.