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On Oct. 6, the president issued a new rule replacing the coercive HHS (Health & Human Services) mandate that had required all employers, including religious charities like the Little Sisters of the Poor, to provide contraceptives, abortion inducing drugs and sterilization, which clearly denied their deeply held religious beliefs.
In 2012 when this mandate (not a law) was issued by the HHS secretary, over 100 leaders of many different religions were critical of the mandate. They understood that such an imposition by government was destructive of religious liberty for all. They stated that, “The HHS policy is coercive and puts the administration in the position of defining – or casting aside – religious doctrine. This should trouble every American.”
The new ruling states, “entities that have sincerely held religious beliefs against providing such services (contraception, abortion drugs, sterilization) would no longer be required to do so.” These same protections apply to “organizations and small businesses that have objections on the basis of moral conviction which is not based in any particular religious belief.” With this action, Americans no longer have to prove that they deserve their religious liberty. Now, any action by the federal government that would “substantially burden religious freedom” is held to an “exceptionally demanding standard.”
(hhs.gov, 10/6/17; Attorney General’s Memorandum on Religious Liberty)
Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 “does not permit the federal government to second-guess the reasonableness of a religious belief.”
Fortnight for Freedom 2017: Witnesses to Freedom
Free to Speak:
Our public schools are not “God-Free Zones”
America’s children need not leave their faith at the school house door.
For students to be silenced or disciplined by an authority figure, for appropriate religious expression should never happen. Sadly, young students may well conclude…
Religious Freedom Resources
Educational resources for parish members who work to support Religious Freedoms.
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At World Meeting of Families: Defending Freedom of Religion
Barbara Samuells, president of Catholics for Freedom of Religion and a parishioner at St. Matthew’s, Dix Hills, shares her experience at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.
Religious Freedom: Our First Amendment Right
In Service to the Church
Click here to watch Barbara on TeleCare TV.
National Religious Freedom Day
Click here to view a video about National Religious Freedom Day 2014.