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U.S. bishops, religious leaders call for religious liberty protections



(July 03, 2013) In the United States, a diverse group of religious leaders, including Catholics, Protestants, evangelicals and a representative from the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, issued an open letter on Tuesday (July 2) urging the U.S. government to "expand conscience protections" in its Health and Human Services - HHS contraceptive mandate. The letter, which said the country's "delicate liberty of conscience is under threat," called on HHS to provide conscience protections to "any organization or individual that has religious or moral objections to covering, providing or enabling access to the mandated drugs and services." The signers also asked Congress to "consider how it might prevent such offenses from occurring in the future," noting that any policy "that falls short of affirming full religious freedom protection for all Americans is unacceptable." The letter, "Standing Together for Religious Freedom," was signed by 58 faith representatives and released during a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington. It points out that many of those who signed the letter "do not hold doctrinal objections to the use of contraception" but they stand "united in protest to this mandate." The HHS contraceptive mandate, part of the Affordable Care Act, will require most employers, including religious employers, to provide coverage of contraceptives, sterilization and some abortion-inducing drugs free of charge, even if the employer is morally opposed to such services.
Among the 58 signatories is Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori, chairman, U.S. bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty
Source: CNS




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