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Redefining Religious Participation | News Grab Articles
Redefining Religious Participation PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 21 November 2011 17:45

There is a tendency for President Obama to talk about common ground but then push for policies more radical and divisive than any other recent Democratic President.  Lately his attack is on the Church's organizations that are crucial to the establishment of critical services that help Christians live according to their values and virtues.  I have written here before about the importance of not only individual rights but the rights of mediating organizations.  They are a crucial part of a healthy social culture here in the US.   Benjamin Mann at the Catholic News Agency reports the case that the Obama administration is attacking our basic freedoms betraying what he has promised Catholics.  He has made move after move to chip away at conscience protections and the religious exemption. In his address at the University of Notre Dame Obama said "Maybe we won't agree on abortion... 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 in clear ethics and sound science, as well as respect for the equality of women.”   These statements at the University of Notre Dame strongly contradict his administration's recent actions.  Mann comments on the words of the Director of the Kansas Catholic Conference Michael Schutloffe:

Schuttloffel said the contraceptive mandate’s “so-called religious exemption” signals the Obama administration’s true policy toward religious groups.  He called the narrow exemption the “most insidious aspect” of the Health and Human Services Department rules, since it “only applies to religious employers that have the inculcation of religious values as their purpose and that employ and serve people who share their religious beliefs.”  “It will therefore not apply to Catholic universities, hospitals and charitable organizations that serve the general public,” Schuttloffel noted.  “This is of a piece with the Obama administration’s various efforts to define religious freedom down to mean nothing more than the freedom to worship in private. The broad, two-centuries-old understanding of the First Amendment’s guarantee of ‘free exercise’ is being eviscerated... Under the new policy, religious institutions are only rewarded with a religious exemption if they restrict their activities to worship,” the Kansas Catholic Conference director observed.

Read Article at Catholic News Agency: President Accused of Breaking Notre Dame Conscience Pledge

 
The impact of the political game being played here is bigger than the dynamic in Washington.  For example Sarah Posner, over at Religion Dispatches, views the religious freedom traditionally granted to the Catholic Church to provide services protecting children against trafficing, without the requirement to provide for abortion, as a form of discrimination.  She writes "As I reported last week, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has launched a campaign to expand the concept of "religious liberty," a move intended in part to exempt Catholic and other religious organizations from legal requirements, or, put another way, to permit Catholic organizations to discriminate based on religious belief."  Its this belief that will spread among the progressive left that presents a threat to our freedom.  The freedom of our organizations to practice according to their religion is turned into discrimination which immediately generates unreasonable protest.  You'll notice that Sarah moves immediately to claim that the Bishops don't actually speak for Catholics or their organizations.  Her argument is rhetorical and lacks a sensitivity to Justice.
 

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