What they are saying about the “compromise”…
Our bishops, Members of Congress, scholars, and the media are all commenting on the religious liberty “accommodation”, or rather lack thereof, announced by the White House Friday, February 10, 2012. We’ve compiled some of the best for you to stay informed and share with your family and friends. As you will see, our work is just beginning.
“…we note that today’s proposal continues to involve needless government intrusion in the internal governance of religious institutions, and to threaten government coercion of religious people and groups to violate their most deeply held convictions. In a nation dedicated to religious liberty as its first and founding principle, we should not be limited to negotiating within these parameters. The only complete solution to this religious liberty problem is for HHS to rescind the mandate of these objectionable services. We will therefore continue—with no less vigor, no less sense of urgency—our efforts to correct this problem through the other two branches of government. For example, we renew our call on Congress to pass, and the Administration to sign, the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act. And we renew our call to the Catholic faithful, and to all our fellow Americans, to join together in this effort to protect religious liberty and freedom of conscience for all.” (emphasis added)
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops February 10, 2012 statement
“The Administration’s stated intent is to protect a broader class of religious employers from being forced to pay directly for objectionable coverage or to list it in the plans they offer their own employees. But it does not meet our standard of respecting the religious liberty and moral convictions of all stakeholders in the health coverage transaction. Therefore we remain committed to rigorous legislative guarantees of religious freedom.
“We remain fully committed to the defense of our religious liberty and we strongly protest the violation of our freedom of religion that has not been addressed. We continue to work for the repeal of the mandate. We have grave reservations that the government is intruding in the definition of who is and who is not a religious employer. Upon further study we are very concerned that serious issues still remain and we have found numerous problems…”
February 10, 2012 internal letter to bishops signed signed by conference president, Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan of New York, committee chairs for Pro-Life Activities, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston; Doctrine, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington; Domestic Policy, Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, and the newly-formed arm on Religious Liberty, Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport.
“Catholics should not be misled into accepting feeble compromises on issues of principle. The HHS mandate is bad law; and not merely bad, but dangerous and insulting. It needs to be withdrawn – now.”
Archbishop of Philadelphia Charles Chaput Philadelphia Inquirer column February 11, 2012
“This so-called “accommodation” changes nothing of moral substance and fails to remove the assault on religious liberty and the rights of conscience which gave rise to the controversy. It is certainly no compromise. The reason for the original bipartisan uproar was the administration’s insistence that religious employers, be they institutions or individuals, provide insurance that covered services they regard as gravely immoral and unjust. Under the new rule, the government still coerces religious institutions and individuals to purchase insurance policies that include the very same services.”
February 10, 2012 Statement by Religious Scholars John Garvey, President, The Catholic University of America; Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law, Harvard University; Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University; O. Carter Snead, Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame; Yuval Levin, Hertog Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center
“The President still doesn’t understand that religious institutions will still be unacceptably entangled–financially and provisionally– with drugs, procedures, and services to which they may have religious and moral objections, in violation of their long-held rights of conscience. Moreover, this announcement still does not get to the very core of American distress: religious freedom and conscience rights are natural rights as enshrined in the Constitution. The government does not confer them and must not force persons to violate them by paying for things to which they have reasoned religious or moral objections.
“Congress should protect the religious liberty and conscience rights of every American who objects to being forced by the strongarm of government to pay for services to which she or he has deeply-held objections. We must do so for the benefit of the millions of Americans who are calling for swift bipartisan action.”
Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R, Nebraska – 1st District) February 10, 2012 Press Release
“It’s still clear that President Obama does not understand this isn’t about cost – it’s about who controls the religious views of faith-based institutions. President Obama believes that he should have that control. Our Constitution states otherwise.
“Just because you can come up with an accounting gimmick and pretend like religious institutions do not have to pay for the mandate, does not mean that you’ve satisfied the fundamental constitutional freedoms that all Americans are guaranteed.
“I’ll continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure that we reverse this unconstitutional mandate in its entirety.”
Senator Roy Blunt (R, Missouri) February 10, 2012 Press Release
“I am enormously disappointed by today’s announcement. All the facts indicate that the ‘new’ mandate is the same as the ‘old’ mandate. New words, same policy….
“…We need a rule that protects religious liberty by allowing employers to provide health insurance coverage that does not include abortion drugs and other services that violate their conscience and religious doctrine. Instead we got a so-called compromise that is no compromise at all and provides no options for those with profound religious and moral objections to providing these services. To say that the insurer and not the employer is required to provide the coverage is a fiction. There is no accommodation for religious liberty. The rule remains coercive and still violates the long-standing tradition of protection for conscience rights in federal law.”
Rep. Dan Lipinski (D, Illinois – Third District) February 10, 2012 press release
“…Yesterday’s new adventure in damage control and bureaucratic improvisation makes the compliance problem much worse. There is simply no precedent for the government ordering private companies to offer a product for free, even if they recoup the costs indirectly. Why not do that with all health benefits and “bend the cost curve” to zero? The shape of the final rule when the details land in the Federal Register is anyone’s guess, including the HHS gnomes who are throwing it together on the fly to meet a political deadline.
“One major problem will be how the rule applies to large organizations that self-insure. Arrangements in which an employer pays for care directly and uses insurers to manage benefits and process claims (not to take on insurance risk) account for the majority of the private market. In these cases there isn’t even a free lunch to pretend exists.”
Wall Street Journal editorial February 11, 2012