Feb 072012
 

Let’s honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause, and make sure that all of our health care policies are grounded not only in sound science, but also in clear ethics, as well as respect for the equality of women.” ~ President Barak Obama’s commencement address at the University of Notre Dame on May 17, 2009

The value of a human life (humanae vitae) ALWAYS trumps government laws. Governments using laws to marginalize groups have ALWAYS had internal strife, often resulting in the end of the country. Hundreds of thousands died and more suffered to end American slavery but have learned nothing.

What Has Occurred

From the HHS (Department of Health and Human Services) news release dated January 20, 2012

“In August 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services issued an interim final rule that will require most health insurance plans to cover preventive services for women including recommended contraceptive services without charging a co-pay, co-insurance or a deductible. The rule allows certain non-profit religious employers that offer insurance to their employees the choice of whether or not to cover contraceptive services.

Beginning August 1, 2012, most new and renewed health plans will be required to cover these services without cost sharing for women across the country. After evaluating comments, we have decided to add an additional element to the final rule. Nonprofit employers who, based on religious beliefs, do not currently provide contraceptive coverage in their insurance plan, will be provided an additional year, until August 1, 2013, to comply with the new law.

Church Teaching

Pope Paul VI at his desk in 1970Pope Paul VI issued the encyclical Humanae Vitae on July 25, 1968 re-affirming the traditional teaching of the Catholic Church regarding married love, responsible parenthood, and the continuing prohibition of most forms of birth control.

This was one of the most polarizing encyclicals of the 20th century because it reminded the Church (and the modern world of 1968) of almost 2,000 years of teaching. Even though the technology provided medication and devices that allowed for sex without consequences,

“Since the Church did not make either of these laws, she cannot be their arbiter—only their guardian and interpreter. It could never be right for her to declare lawful what is in fact unlawful, since that, by its very nature, is always opposed to the true good of man.” ~ Humanae Vitae ¶18

The Church cannot “get with the times” because the teachings are timeless. Truth cannot go out-of-fashion. While this teaching came from the Catholic Church, it is based on the Truth of Scripture and therefore applies to all Christians.

The fact that many faithful Christians use various forms of birth control does not negate the Truth of the teaching. Since the nature of God’s love is freewill, the Church cannot force a teaching on a person; however, it must hold out the teachings as the standard by which it lives.

Therefore

Any organization sponsored by or controlled by the Catholic Church cannot comply with the policy announced in the HHS news release as it conflicts with our fundamental teachings.

HHS’ policy does not cover those who work directly for the Church. It would force Church-run schools, hospitals, agencies, and charities to cover birth control pills, abortion-producing drugs, and sterilization for their employees. Money donated to or earned by the Church would be used to destroy life. This cannot occur.

To the Flock

Bishop Alexander Sample of Marquette Michigan wrote a letter to his flock which is being used nationwide to inform the faithful. He writes simply, “We cannot—we will not—comply with this unjust law.”

Bishop Sample provides a link to the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) website where there is additional information, a video statement from USCCB president Cardinal Dolan, and links to other sites.

Time to Redress This Grievance

Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), “Freedom of Speech,” 1943As Americans, we have a duty to be involved in our government. We elect our fellow citizens to represent us and must let them know how we feel about the issues they are deciding. It has never been easier to contact the White House and your three representatives.

As Christians, we have a duty to be involved in our government. Our history is replete with governmental conflicts. America gives us more freedom and obligation to be involved than any Christians before us.

In situations like this, there will be references to the First Amendment. As you see in the text below, Congress cannot prohibit the free exercise of Christianity nor can they abridge our freedom to make our voices heard. Our duty is to exercise our rights!

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.