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Catholics, Baptists come together over conscience rights bill


ADELAIDE MENA

Source:
CNA
Type:
Media/Opinion
Date:
6/25/2013

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ABSTRACTCatholics, Baptists come together over conscience rights bill :: Catholic News Agency (CNA) Editors Service About us Donate Spanish Portuguese Follow us: Loading News Headlines Vatican Americas Asia - Pacific US Europe Middle East - Africa Most Read Most Commented Archive Mandate Resources Abortion Advent Apologetics Benedict XVI Bible Cardinals Catechism Catholic Links Catholic Womanhood Church Fathers Holy Week Life & Family Liturgical Calendar Liturgy Mary Politics Pope Francis Prayers Sacraments Saints Virtue Tools Catholic Podcast RSS Feeds CNA TV CNA Audio Columns A Life Worth Living Answering the Tough Questions Bishops' Corner Book Reviews Both Oars In Catholic & Single Catholic Men Fr. Robert Barron Guest Columnist Harvesting the Fruit of Vatican II In Good Company Indispensable Economics Inside the Church during WWII Led Into the Truth Movie Reviews Preparing the way for the Roman Missal – 3rd Edition Russell Shaw The New (& the Old) Evangelization The Spirit of the New Translation The Way of Beauty With Good Reason Your Moment in the Mass Documents Pope Benedict XVI Pope John Paul II Pope Paul VI Pope John XXIII Pope Pius XII Pope Pius XI Pope Pius X Pope Leo XIII Vatican II Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith Pontifical Council for the Family United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Cardinal James Francis Stafford Archbishop Charles J. Chaput Bishop Samuel J. Aquila Catholic Womanhood CNA Blog Home » News » US Catholics, Baptists come together over conscience rights bill By Adelaide Mena Archbishop William Lori addresses the 2012 USCCB Fall General Assembly, Nov 13. Credit: Michelle Bauman/CNA. Washington D.C., Jun 25, 2013 / 12:05 am ( CNA/EWTN News ) .- Catholic and Baptist leaders are collaborating to ask national legislators to support a bill that would offer conscience protections to healthcare workers across the country. “While Catholics and Southern Baptists espouse different theological views, we are united by the belief that Congress must act to help preserve our freedom of religion and conscience,” Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore and Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention wrote in a June 21 letter to members of Congress. “We urge you to do all that you can to ensure prompt enactment” of the Health Care Conscience Rights Act, they said. Archbishop Lori chairs the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, and Moore is president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. The letter was released on the first day of the 2013 Fortnight for Freedom, a two-week period of prayer, education and action leading up to the Fourth of July, which encourages greater respect for religious liberty both in America and abroad. The religious leaders explained that the proposed legislation “would address threats to religious freedom and rights of conscience that have become particularly grave in the field of healthcare.” “As many people are being forced – and many others will soon be forced – to either follow what the government compels or suffer for their faith, now is the time to pass legislation that protects our God-given freedom,” they stressed. The Health Care Conscience Rights Act has been introduced both chambers of Congress, by Senators Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Deb Fischer (R- Neb.) in the Senate and by Rep. Diane Black (R- Tenn.) in the House of Representatives. Moore and Archbishop Lori highlighted the “unacceptable” threats to religious liberty posed by the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate, which would force employers to offer health insurance plans covering contraceptives, sterilizations and some drugs that can cause early abortions, even if doing so violates the employer’s deeply-held religious beliefs. They also detailed infringements on the rights of healthcare workers who conscientiously decline to perform abortion procedures and experience subsequent discrimination in the workplace. Without a law protecting the conscience rights of healthcare workers, “even Americans’ right to serve the sick and needy without violating their religious convictions on human life is not secure,” said the Christian leaders. The proposed legislation would seek to address threats to religious freedom by extending existing conscience protections to the Affordable Care Act and expanding nondiscrimination laws to protect healthcare workers with conscientious objections to certain products and procedures. Archbishop Lori and Moore noted that under current law, healthcare professionals “do not even have a right to go to court to defend their God-given rights of conscience,” and they subsequently often face “pressure and threats to take part in the destruction of innocent life.” “The Health Care Conscience Rights Act would address these serious problems in ways cons.......