WASHINGTON, Feb. 1 -
Mr. Speaker, we hear about religious persecution throughout the 3rd world, but the Catholic Church is being persecuted right here in the United States by our own government.
Our great country was founded on the principle of religious liberty. This right is in the first amendment. The provisions in the first amendment are listed first because they are the most important.
Yet the Administration is chipping away at this cornerstone of our society by violating the religious liberty of those who hold fast to certain positions of their faith, in particular those of the Catholic Church.
The Department of Health and Human Services recently announced that religious organizations will be forced to provide their employees with medical insurance that covers free contraceptives and sterilization.
While houses of worship are exempt, religiously affiliated organizations such as hospitals and universities are mandated to comply with this government edict.
This goes against the basic tenets of the Catholic religion as well as other faithsóChristian and non Christian.
The Administration believes that it is enough to give religious organizations one year to comply with this government oppression.
But, there will never be enough time for the Church to change its core principles.
Timothy Dolan, President of the United States Council of Catholic Bishops and New York Archbishop said it best:
ìIn effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences.î
Religious principles are not negotiable. They are not to be subject to bullying by government.
No government has the legal or moral right to make any religion violate its religious convictions.
The Administration is violating two provisions of the first amendment:
The free exercise of religion clause and the establishment of religion clause.
The government is prohibiting the free exercise of religion because it is punishing Catholics for exercising their religious beliefs.