Sunday, August 12, 2012

Washington Post Op-Ed Piece by Pres. Harrison

The link to the article is below:

An op-ed article titled "HHS mandate: An attack on all people of faith" -- co-written by LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison and the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference -- appears in the Aug. 9 online edition of the Washington Post newspaper.

In the article, Harrison and Rodriguez say the U.S. Department of Health and Humchaplains-mch.gifan Services' (HHS) mandate requiring religious organizations to cover contraceptive services "goes to the very heart of religious freedom in this nation.

"We believe the government has overstepped its bounds," the writers say. "This controversy is not merely about birth control and the Catholic Church's views on it. The mandate stands as a de facto requirement to sacrifice conscience and faith on the altar of political expediency."

Even with the mandate's exemption for religious organizations -- which requires those organizations to provide services "primarily to people of our faith," according to the op-ed piece -- "most religious organizations, including hospitals, social services organizations, publishing houses, schools and more, will fail to meet the required provisions and will thus be subject to this mandate."

Harrison and Rodriguez say "a multitude of religious organizations will be forced to carefully consider if they can in good conscience continue to provide services because they cannot and will not go against their fundamental convictions to provide service to all regardless of whether those served share their beliefs."

They say that "religious freedom is a right guaranteed to every American by the First Amendment -- set forth by the founders of our great nation. The state cannot take them away. We are committed to working to ensure that we remain free to practice the teachings of our faith.
"Freedom of religion extends beyond the practice of our faith in houses of worship. We must be free to put our faith into action in the public square."

To read the entire article, click here.

1 comment:

Carl Vehse said...

While much of the emphasis on Lutheran blogs about the HHS edict has been on the effects on religious institutions, President Harrison's editorial includes: "While religious institutions have one year to comply, phase one of this mandate begins now as family [aka, laity] businesses and organizations had to comply by August 1. Already, some are going to court to fight this mandate - and in one case so far, winning - to ensure they are not forced to abandon their right of conscience and pay for services that violate their faith."

While the one case was not specified, a temporary injunction was issued July 27th by U.S. District Court for Colorado Judge John Kane (a Carter appointee, of all people).

According to a Denver news article, "Judge Sides With Colorado Company That Opposes Contraception":

"Senior U.S. District Judge John Kane issued an order Friday that bars the government from enforcing the requirement against Hercules Industries, Inc., a Denver heating and air conditioning company.

"The judge, in an 18-page decision, cited the owners’ religious rights as the basis for his temporary injunction. The owners are Roman Catholics whose religious beliefs are consistent with the church’s teaching against contraception.

"The injunction applies only to the one company and is in effect at least until the judge decides the outcome of the owners’ lawsuit which alleges the requirement violates their religious rights.

"However, the mandate for birth control coverage as part of the Affordable Care Act generally applies overall to employers with 50 or more full-time workers and takes effect Nov. 1.

"Other companies could cite religious freedom to ask federal judges to block the mandate.

"For the purpose of his temporary injunction, Kane said the public interest in the free exercise of religion outweighs the act’s goals of improving the health of women and equalizing health insurance coverage of preventive services for women."