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Bishops Call to Action

BISHOPS ISSUE CALL TO ACTION TO DEFEND RELIGIOUS LIBERTY 

WASHINGTON—The U.S. bishops have issued a call to action to defend religious liberty and urged laity to work to protect the First Freedom of the Bill of Rights. They outlined their position in “Our First, Most Cherished Freedom,” www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/our-first-most-cherished-liberty.cfm

“We have been staunch defenders of religious liberty in the past. We have a solemn duty to discharge that duty today,” the bishops said in the document, “… for religious liberty is under attack, both at home and abroad.”

The document lists concerns that prompt the bishops to act now.  Among concerns are:

  • The Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate forcing all employers, including religious organizations, to provide and pay for coverage of employees’ contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs even when they have moral objections to them. Another concern is HHS’s defining which religious institutions are “religious enough” to merit protection of their religious liberty. 
  • Driving Catholic foster care and adoption services out of business. Boston, San Francisco, the District of Columbia and Illinois have driven local Catholic Charities adoption or foster care services out of business by revoking their licenses, by ending their government contracts, or both—because those Charities refused to place children with same-sex couples or unmarried opposite-sex couples who cohabit.
  • Discrimination against Catholic humanitarian services. Despite years of excellent performance by the USCCB’s Migration and Refugee Services in administering contract services for victims of human trafficking, the federal government changed its contract specifications to require USCCB to provide or refer for contraceptive and abortion services in violation of Catholic teaching. Religious institutions should not be disqualified from a government contract based on religious belief, and they do not lose their religious identity or liberty upon entering such contracts. Recently a federal court judge in Massachusetts turned religious liberty on its head when he declared that such a disqualification is required by the First Amendment—that the government violates religious liberty by allowing Catholic organizations to participate in contracts in a manner consistent with their beliefs on contraception and abortion.

 ​“What we ask is nothing more than that our God-given right to religious liberty be respected. We ask nothing less than that the Constitution and laws of the United States, which recognize that right, be respected.”  They specifically addressed several groups: the laity, those in public office, heads of Catholic charitable agencies, priests, experts in communication, and urged each to employ the gifts and talents of its members for religious liberty.

The  bishops called for “A Fortnight for Freedom,” the two-week period from June 21 to July 4—beginning with the feasts of St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher and ending with Independence Day—to focus “all the energies the Catholic community can muster” for religious liberty.  They also asked that, later in the year, the feast of Christ the King be “a day specifically employed by bishops and priests to preach about religious liberty, both here and abroad.”

Elected Officials Contact List:

CONTACT LIST 

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website – www.usccb.org

Urgent Action Alert

President Barack Obama - telephone - 202-456-1414(switchboard)
The White House - telephone - 202-456-1111(comments)
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
website – www.whitehouse.gov
 
Senator Charles Schumer                                                             
322 Hart Senate Office Building                                                  
Washington, D.C. 20510
telephone - 202-224-6542
website – www.senate.gov

 
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand                                                            
478 Russell Senate Office Building                                            
Washington, D.C. 20510
telephone – 202224-4451
website – www.senate.gov

 
Representative Kathy Hochul  
26th Congressional District                                                            
U.S. House of Representatives                                                  
Washington, D.C. 20515                                                                               
district shares zip codes: 14004, 14059, 14086
telephone – 202-225-5265
telephone – 202-224-3121(switchboard)
website – www.house.gov

 
Representative Brian Higgins                                                      
27th Congressional District                                                            
U.S. House of Representatives                                                  
Washington, D.C. 20515                                                                               
district includes zip codes: 14052, 14102;
telephone – 202-225-3306
telephone – 202-224-3121(switchboard)
website – www.house.gov

shares zip codes: 14004, 14059, 14086
Electronic messages may be submitted on websites

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