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 Human 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.
Posted Aug. 10, 2012