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February 9, 2012


A Call to Disobey the United States Government

As you may know, the Department of Health and Human Services has issued a mandate, backed by the Obama administration, requiring all insurance plans to cover the cost of contraceptives, including contraceptives that act as abortificients (i.e. drugs that kill unborn babies). The mandate applies to non-profit religious organizations like Catholic Charities as well as secular ones.

Moreover, while the mandate does not apply to employers that meet the legal definition of religious organizations (churches for example), the HHS will require even exempt employers to provide information to employees about where they can obtain contraceptive (including abortificient) coverage.

Last week Catholic leaders denounced the mandate from pulpits across the United States.

But this is not a “Catholic” issue. As Archbishop Duncan writes:

“The Anglican Church in North America stands by our Catholic brothers and sisters as followers of Christ in a nation whose Constitution guarantees ‘the free exercise’ of religion.  As Christians, our faith and doctrine are at the very heart of our service to others in our community.  Therefore, it is extremely troubling to see our government mandate services contrary to Catholic Church teaching.  I call on all members of the Anglican Church to stand by our Catholic brothers and sisters, and pray for our elected officials to have the courage to stand up for religious freedom and overturn this mandate.”

If the mandate stands “free exercise” falls. The Archbishop is absolutely right. We must oppose this tyranny with every political fiber.

We must also flatly refuse to follow it.

The New Testament commands Christians to submit to and obey the authorities set over us.

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.(Romans 13:1-3)

Paul wrote his letter to the Romans during Nero’s reign. God who inspired and superintended Romans 13 is blind neither to systemic injustice nor to the moral depravity of rulers. But government, even bad government, is a divine gift to fallen humanity, restraining the most vile and violent passions of human nature. To defy the laws of the state, then, is to defy the law of God.

There are only two exceptions to this rule of faith: 1. when a government commands Christians to do what God forbids (Daniel 3) or 2. when a government forbids Christians to do what God commands (Acts 4:18-20).

The HHS mandate requires Christian charities to directly contribute, not only to contraception, but to the killing of unborn babies. It also requires churches that employ staff to provide staff members with information about where to go to kill their babies cheaply.

Both requirements clearly fall within the first exception which means that there is only one faithful response: respectful but unyielding disobedience.

So long as I am rector of Good Shepherd we will never provide information about contraception or abortion to any employee. I pray that Anglican pastors, bishops, archbishops and Christian leaders across the country will make similar commitments.


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61 comments

I stand firm by our constitutional rights guaranteed under the first amendment. Past time to vote the liberals….oops progressives out of office. Republican as well as Democrat.

[1] Posted by Marlin on 2-9-2012 at 10:58 AM · [top]

I’d concur Matt+, this is a point of conscience, not a point of preference, I believe we have a duty to disobey immoral injunctions.

[2] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 2-9-2012 at 11:17 AM · [top]

Go for it, Matt!  I’m with you.  But one question:  It seems that we are moving toward standardized health insurance (that’s what these federal mandates are all about).  Will the Roman Church be able to enter the market and buy policies for its employees WITHOUT the offensive, contraceptive provisions?  How will this work?  The Church cannot operate its massive hospital system without health insurance for its employees—so where do they buy it?

[3] Posted by Dick Mitchell on 2-9-2012 at 11:45 AM · [top]

Actually there is a simple solution.  Have the objecting institutions issue a credit for the cost of the drugs.  I assume $5/month at walmart, and delete this coverage from the policy.  Mission accomplished - the employee gets the drugs and the institution does not pay directly   This is essentially the procedure in the 16 or so states (including MA) that already heve similiar requirement.

Yes, we are moving toward correctly managed health insurance.  This avoids the use of hospital emergency rooms for routine care.  If you thing this is not happening, check any emergency room any day.

[4] Posted by ALREADY-GONE on 2-9-2012 at 11:56 AM · [top]

Note…this thread will NOT turn into a debate over statist health care. We are dealing specifically with this present mandate. Warning issued.

[5] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 2-9-2012 at 12:01 PM · [top]

Further , matt, i am sure that the pretty well educated anglicans that attemd your church do not need a church brochure to tell them where to get the pill.  It’s on the $5/ month list at most drug chains. 

Universal medical care has been the norm in canada for 50 years.  Canada is 50% catholic.  How do they do it up there.

Methinks this is a smokescreen issue.

[6] Posted by ALREADY-GONE on 2-9-2012 at 12:03 PM · [top]

RE: “I pray that Anglican pastors, bishops, archbishops and Christian leaders across the country will make similar commitments.”

I think most Christian leaders will happily refuse to supply information about abortion or abortifacients, but not the non-abortifacient birth control [although why they should be supplying any information at all health-wise to their employees I don’t know.]

[7] Posted by Sarah on 2-9-2012 at 12:04 PM · [top]

RE: “I assume $5/month at walmart, and delete this coverage from the policy.”

Hi Already Gone - the coverage is *mandated* in the policy by ObamaCare.  If the coverage is not allowed religious institutions are being *forced* to provide information about where to go get birth control and abortion.

I’m cool with your liking state-run healthcare - -couldn’t care less what you like, actually. 

But this is about a *mandate* to provide information for murder and birth control [which obviously RCs cannot provide].  That is what this article is about—again, a MANDATE to force Roman Catholic organizations to tell women who are their employees where they can go to get abortions and birth control.

Gross.

[8] Posted by Sarah on 2-9-2012 at 12:08 PM · [top]

RE: “i am sure that the pretty well educated anglicans that attemd your church do not need a church brochure to tell them where to get the pill.”

Huh?

This post isn’t about laypeople attending a parish.

Weird, Already Gone.

You’re clearly not even up to date on the issue Matt is speaking about.  Maybe you should go read up on the past week of news stories on this issue and then come back to the thread more fully informed.

[9] Posted by Sarah on 2-9-2012 at 12:10 PM · [top]

[comment deleted—off-topic; please heed the warning above]

[10] Posted by ALREADY-GONE on 2-9-2012 at 12:15 PM · [top]

My only objection is that the churches just seem concerned about getting their exemption. What about a Christian business owner who under Obamacare will be forced legally to provide this to his employees, something he considers morally evil? Why aren’t the churches speaking out about that as well?

[11] Posted by Branford on 2-9-2012 at 12:17 PM · [top]

If a Federal Agency has sent out a mandate to all insurance companies that contraceptive services be covered, that is not the free market at work. That is indeed FEDERAL GOVERNMENT mandating health insurance coverage. Now if the Federal Government via HHS wants to require this of all companies that contract with Federal Government or at all Federal Agencies, that is one thing but to require this of nearly every employer including institutions like RC hospitals,etc. is just plain wrong. Private employers should be able to find health coverage for their employees without having to agree to services that they feel are morally wrong.

[12] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 2-9-2012 at 12:17 PM · [top]

to require this of nearly every employer including institutions like RC hospitals,etc. is just plain wrong

But, SC blu cat lady, that’s what Obamacare does—it’s already been passed, it is now the law (of course, most of it doesn’t kick in until 2014, after the 2012 election)

[13] Posted by Branford on 2-9-2012 at 12:23 PM · [top]

Our church council will make and sign a proclamation to much the same this month. To obey God is first and foremost.

[14] Posted by Festivus on 2-9-2012 at 12:25 PM · [top]

I think that there is deeply insidious aspects to this.  Already Gone asks how this is done in Canada.  Simply - government controls all aspects of healthcare.  Employers are not mandated to provide any sort of health care - government does it.  In the U.S., Obama is requiring employers to pay for, or refer employees to, services which allow them to kill unborn human beings.  The difference would be like Government A carrying out genocide and using your general tax money to support it, while Government B is mandating YOU to actually carry out your little share of the genocide yourself.
My hunch is that Obama knows full well that this is untenable for many churches and the “compromise” will be moving towards greater government control of this area, which, ironically, will be easier for churches to accept

[15] Posted by jamesw on 2-9-2012 at 12:48 PM · [top]

Yes but our country does have ways of righting ‘laws’ that are not constitutional however if no one does anything, it will never be over turned. Also a mandate from a HHS is not that same as a federal law. So is this just a mandate from HHS ?  If this is part of Obamacare, well that explains everything. That in itself has been questioned by many state attorney generals including ours in SC precisely because of these federal mandates.

So basically Branson what your are saying to employers who disagree…. well tough. You WILL do what we say or else…..

[16] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 2-9-2012 at 12:52 PM · [top]

#4: Giving a “credit” for the very same medications/treatments one opposes is absolutely no different than paying for them directly.

[17] Posted by AnnieCOA on 2-9-2012 at 01:02 PM · [top]

Obama’s mandate is an horrific violation of the First Amendment. It seeks to impose the secular, amoral, relativistic religion on believers of other faiths. I pray the US Supreme Court will condemn this action, but I fear this is just one more proof that we Christians are entering into more and more evil times.

[18] Posted by sophy0075 on 2-9-2012 at 01:03 PM · [top]

Also a mandate from a HHS is not that same as a federal law. So is this just a mandate from HHS ?  If this is part of Obamacare, well that explains everything.

Short answer, as I understand it, that both statements are correct. This is a mandate from HHS (regulation) but HHS was authorized via so-called ‘Obamacare’ law. Congress often does not set out the specifics, but the agencies are authorized thus their ‘regulations’ are binding as law. There usually is review process, but this is how many bad things end up federally enforceable that did not go through legislative/executive check/balance, so depends on the courts.

[19] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 2-9-2012 at 01:07 PM · [top]

One of the most influential evangelical leaders in the United States says Christians should go to jail rather than comply with the Obama administration’s mandate to provide all contraception, including abortion-inducing drugs, in their health care plans.

Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), told LifeSiteNews.com .we will not comply. with the Dept. of Health and Human Services’ mandate requiring religious institutions to cover abortifacient products such as Plan B, Ella, and the IUD.

.We want the law changed, or else we’re going to write our letters from the Nashville jail, just like Dr. King wrote his from the Birmingham jail,. Dr. Land said.

http://www.lifesitenews.com/southern-baptist-leader-we-will-not-comply-with-hhs-mandate.html

Hopefully people will begin to see just how evil the Obama regime and the Democratic Party truly are.

[20] Posted by Br. Michael on 2-9-2012 at 01:13 PM · [top]

AnnieCOA - #17 - not really.  Obama wants to force employer health plans to cover costs for abortion drugs and contraception.  If it can be reasonably estimated that these drugs cost $50 per year (just pulling a figure out of the hat), and if the compromise is that employers can then opt out of the mandate in exchange for granting an unlimited $50 credit to each employee to spend as they wish, then that isn’t the same.  The employer is not referring anyone to abortion drugs, nor are they specifically paying for them.  But I doubt that such a credit would pass muster with the liberals who want to stick it to the Roman Catholic Church.

[21] Posted by jamesw on 2-9-2012 at 01:17 PM · [top]

More and more the free exercise of religion is being defined as ‘that which a man does outside the public square to conform his life to his religion.’  The problem of course is that men choose to organize their public lives according to their religion as well.  That entails bringing religion into the public square where it may by collateral effect impose its imperatives on others.  The RCC (as indeed any church) teaches in the public square and so makes public demands on behavior.  Religion is a corporate entity after all. 

Modern man defines himself according to his autonomy.  Religion offends this presupposition by asserting that man is not autonomous but does in fact exist under authority.  The religious man thus brings with him into the public the outworking of that authority in the form of ‘shoulds’ and ‘oughts’ that neither respect nor recognize that presumption of autonomy.  This is why secular man seeks to drive religion from the public square.  It is a source of authority beyond his reach.  He seeks not to be bound by its dictates.  He recognizes no authority that is not fundamentally rooted in the sovereign reach of man himself.

So he would hermetically seal religion away in a private world of private hidden conduct.  It is allowed to venture into the public square only so far as public worship.  The religious man is to be satisfied with this public free exercise of external ritual, and then return home as an isolated entity to live out his religion in privacy.  He is otherwise not supposed to mention it.  When he leaves his private world, he is supposed to leave his religious life at home.  When in the public square, he is supposed to conform his thinking and his actions to the dictates of the presumed sovereignty of man.  In essence, he has been told to have one morality for his private life, and another morality for his public life.

Of course, if acts one way in private and another way in public, then there are two possibilities.

1.  He is a hypocrite.
2.  He really doesn’t consider his religion all that important.

Either way, he has ruined his credibility.  He no longer has public standing to speak.  This is the dilemma facing the RCC.  It is being told to act in public contrary to its public teachings.  How does it maintain its moral credibility if it publicly teaches that abortion is wrong, and then proceeds to facilitate abortion its its public activities?  The secular world does not care about this dilemma because the secular world does not think RCC teaching has any place in the public square in the first place.  It thinks the RCC should return to its private worship and its private ritual and be satisfied.  In the public square, man is sovereign, and the sovereign makes the rules.

There is nothing to do but say ‘No’ and absorb the consequences.  I am not sure however that we comprehend just how severe those consequences will be.  The Public Square is always a religious square, and our secular culture has made for itself a secular god to order things in the public square after its own image.  It demands worship of that god as the price for participation.  The cost of declining to offer that worship is only going to increase.

carl

[22] Posted by carl on 2-9-2012 at 01:18 PM · [top]

Jamesw - yes, but what is the real issue.  This is sort of like saying “i believe in capital punishment as long as the hangman does it” , but ” i would not like to pull the leaver myself”.

We could get into large difficulties if we permit sectors of the population to opt out.  E.g.  Peace lovers can opt out of 22% of their federal tax because they object to wars.

We are all in this together.  There are many government actions i object to ( weed culture prohibitions perhaps) but i go along for the common good and to preserve unity.  Otherwise we have an anarchy, sort of like the independent anglican movements.

I,m guessing that in canada, the catholic institutions permit and encourage their followers to participate in government health care, and do not encourage any opt-out efforts even though that health care system(s) provide services objectionable to catholics.

Are you suggesing, e.g. That blood transfusion services be omitted because jo wits regligiously object?

[23] Posted by ALREADY-GONE on 2-9-2012 at 01:27 PM · [top]

The real issue is freedom of religion. This is not just the camel getting his nose under the tent (which he already has done) but his whole body and taking a dump. The answer is compromise - like granting abortions only to every other request - not. Once you show you are willing to compromise on core beliefs, the religious exemption (however and to whoever) could be argued not to apply.  To mix metaphors, we are facing a secular jihad.

[24] Posted by Don+ on 2-9-2012 at 01:33 PM · [top]

Already Gone - I don’t think you understand.  In Canada healthcare is provided by the government “whether you like it or not.”  Employers have no say in it.  It matters not one whit whether employers or churches like the Canadian government using public funds to pay for abortions or not.  Healthcare in Canada is funded largely out of taxes, not premiums (though there are some basic premiums in some provinces).  This doesn’t mean that Canadian Christians ought not to vociferously protest this, but it does mean that there is a different playing field with different rules.
As for “opting out”, my personal belief is that one of the problems with much of “healthcare reform” is that it profoundly misunderstands what health insurance should cover and what it shouldn’t.  Too often, when you give liberals in government control over this question, health plans are mandated to cover the liberal laundry list (which are often morally problematic, but almost always financially idiotic), instead of what makes sense for insuring people against unforeseen costs of medical care due to diseases or accidents.
But back to the issue - different tactics are called for under the two different situations.  In Canada the government holds the gun to the head of the citizens and demands taxes, which it then turns around and uses to pay abortionists.  Short of starting an armed rebellion, the resistance to this must be for Canadian Christians to work for a change in government.  In the US, under Obama, the government holds the gun to the head of employers and demands that they privately provide the means for killing unborn children, even as they teach that to do so is murder.  To do so is most certainly an affront to freedom of religion.

[25] Posted by jamesw on 2-9-2012 at 01:53 PM · [top]

Carl - you nailed it in post 22.  Very thoughtful and I think you are right on with this:

I am not sure however that we comprehend just how severe those consequences will be.  The Public Square is always a religious square, and our secular culture has made for itself a secular god to order things in the public square after its own image.  It demands worship of that god as the price for participation.  The cost of declining to offer that worship is only going to increase.

We, as Christians, need to be thinking how we exist in a culture in which our faith is seriously at odds with the new Public Religion That Demands Civic Participation From All Citizens.

[26] Posted by jamesw on 2-9-2012 at 01:59 PM · [top]

carl,

Magnificent summarization in 22 of what the liberals are attempting to do which is the conversion of the free exercise of religon to their “freedom of worship”.

[27] Posted by BillB on 2-9-2012 at 01:59 PM · [top]

Too often, when you give liberals in government control over this question, health plans are mandated to cover the liberal laundry list (which are often morally problematic, but almost always financially idiotic), instead of what makes sense for insuring people against unforeseen costs of medical care due to diseases or accidents.

Who are you to decide who gets silicone lip enlargements or denies prisoners Viagra or medicinal marijuana? What about the woman in public housing who needs buttock implants? Or the longshoreman who need gender reassignment surgery?

[28] Posted by Festivus on 2-9-2012 at 02:16 PM · [top]

Br Michael

Hopefully people will begin to see just how evil the Obama regime and the Democratic Party truly are.

You have it right.  We all need to understand that even if Obama backs down on this, it must be an issue in this year’s election campaign.  If he is reelected, there will be nothing to stop him and Sebelius from re-issuing the same directive next year.

And understand also, as others have noted, the issue here is not about contraception (as people like Pelosi and Boxer claim).  It is about the denial of religious freedom—the total contradiction of the constitutional right to the free exercise of religion.

I was glad to hear that Rick Warren has joined others in saying that he would go to jail before he would comply.  We all need to stand with our RC brothers and sisters.

[29] Posted by hanks on 2-9-2012 at 02:22 PM · [top]

RE: “Are you suggesing, e.g. That blood transfusion services be omitted because jo wits regligiously object?”

Hi Already Gone—again you’re demonstrating that you’re not aware of the issue.  Jehovah’s Witness organizations should most definitely *not* be forced to tell their employees where they can go to get blood transfusions, any more than Islamic organizations should be forced to tell their employees where they can go to learn how to bathe their dogs, clip their nails, and express their dog’s anal glands.

Jehovah’s Witness organizations teach that blood transfusions are wrong.  Islamic organizations teach that dogs are unclean and to be despised and not to be owned as pets and certainly not for their employees to bathe, clip nails, and express anal glands.

All you do by providing yet another example of a religious organization is simply demonstrating Matt’s point.

It is immoral and unConstitutional for our Federal government to tell religious organizations that they *must* help their employees violate their religious consciences in cases which do not themselves violate the Constitution, and since it does not violate the Constitution for religions to teach against blood transfusions or owning and bathing dogs as pets, then it is both immoral and unConstitutional for the Federal government to force them to violate their religious beliefs.

But all of the above is—yet again—off topic.  The topic that Matt’s post deals with is *not* what can or should the Federal Government provide.  It is what does a Christian do in response to being told by the State that he or she must engage in gross sinful action.

Beyond that—and here we are back to Matt’s post topic—regardless of whether we agree on the actions of the government, in order to follow Holy Scripture, it is clear that no Christian believer can advise or aid another human being to find abortion services.  And thus, Matt’s call for Christians to do the right thing and to refuse to do so is a most excellent thing.  You are welcome to respond to this final paragraph only if you choose to continue commenting on this thread.  This is a final warning.

[30] Posted by Sarah on 2-9-2012 at 02:52 PM · [top]

While I am in agreement with the Roman Catholic Church’s stance on this, I don’t see how merely saying I don’t like this is going to help one wit. All it will do is make Christians seem bigoted and out-of-step with *today’s society*,etc.  How is that going to help? Won’t change a thing which is of course what the liberals want.

[31] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 2-9-2012 at 03:04 PM · [top]

SC lu at lady, it doesn’t bother me one bit if someone calls me a bigot and “out of step with today’s society.”  This moniker fits me to a “T” when it comes to holy matrimony.

[32] Posted by cennydd13 on 2-9-2012 at 03:13 PM · [top]

And if somebody wants to slap the handcuffs on me, then be my guest!  They’re in for one hell of a fight!

[33] Posted by cennydd13 on 2-9-2012 at 03:24 PM · [top]

While I would prefer to be called ‘bigoted and out-of-step with *today’s society*,etc.’ for my ‘narrow-minded’ claim that Jesus is Lord and only name under heaven which we may be save, but I’ll take lesser persecution—maybe it will toughen me up for the greater.

Even if you disagreed with the RC bishops, having had no issue with contraceptives, I think the governments disregard of believes of RCC should be a real wake-up call. As Carl eloquently points out, this is a move to establish the State in supremacy above the Church, a position with numerous dangerous consequences.

[34] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 2-9-2012 at 03:35 PM · [top]

Amen, cennydd! I second that! And SC blu cat lady, the Catholic Church - and those of other religions who are standing firm with them - apparently don’t intend to merely say they don’t like this. Do you not understnad “We will not copmply” means? This is what they’re saying - as well as mentioning little matters like civil disobedience, going to jail, etc. I don’t think you understand that Catholics and many other Christians have no intention of simply saying they don’t like this. And worrying about being considered bigoted is what got our society into this mess to begin with. Heaven forbid that we should take a stand that others might consider narrow-minded or not tolerant! So we let the camel in (good analogy, [24]don+) and now we’re going to have to face the consequences and do what has to be done.

[35] Posted by Nellie on 2-9-2012 at 03:49 PM · [top]

Meant to say this in my earlier comment - God bless Archbishop Duncan! Think we’ll hear something similar from Schori?

[36] Posted by Nellie on 2-9-2012 at 03:57 PM · [top]

Don’t hold yer breath, Nellie!

[37] Posted by cennydd13 on 2-9-2012 at 04:33 PM · [top]

Ok - try again.  As i understand it, you and matt are opposed to forcing catholic institutions to offer reproductive services (even information) to both catholics and non-catholics because the catholic church says such services are wrong.

But what about other religious beliefs held by other demnominations.  Should catholic institutions be forced to prohibit blood transfusion (and blood transfusion information) to both jo wits and non Jo wits because jo wits say such services are wrong.

You say that it is wrong for a believer to advise or aid another believer to find abortion services.  But what about advising another believer to find blood transfusion services.

Catholics object to abortions, jo wits object to blood transfusions.  Should we let their objections IN EITHER CASE affect government policy.

[38] Posted by ALREADY-GONE on 2-9-2012 at 05:19 PM · [top]

Did you know that until the 1930 Lambeth Conference, Anglicanism strongly opposed the use of birth control?  The 1930 Lambeth conference allowed exceptions to the prohibition on birth control.  There is a fascinating article in First Things tracing how this crack in the moral fabric of traditional Christianity led logically and inevitably to the blessing of same sex unions.
  http://www.firstthings.com/article/2010/01/christianity-lite

[39] Posted by Ordinary on 2-9-2012 at 05:46 PM · [top]

Already Gone - The principle is this - you don’t force Catholic organizations to fund abortion or birth control, you don’t force JWs to fund blood transfusion (if in fact JW’s would morally object to such funding), you don’t force Muslim or Jewish institutions to serve pork, etc., etc.  Nobody is saying that Catholic institutions shouldn’t fund blood transfusions because of JWs or shouldn’t serve pork in their cafeterias because of Muslims or Jews.  It seems a rather simple principle to me.

[40] Posted by jamesw on 2-9-2012 at 05:52 PM · [top]

You got it backwards.

The issue - should catholic institutions fund blood transfusions or offer blood transfusion information in spite of jo wit objections.  I say yes, and jo wits can reject such services if they desire.  But i also say that reproductivs services should be offered and catholics can refuse them if they desire.

This decision needs to be made at the individual level and not by the catholic bishops.  If they want catholics to abstain from such offered services then they need to convince THEIR members

[41] Posted by ALREADY-GONE on 2-9-2012 at 06:02 PM · [top]

“Should we let their objections IN EITHER CASE affect government policy. “

ALREADY-GONE,

If you want to be an American who holds to the founding principles of our republic than the answer is yes, we definitively should be VERY concerned the State (“government policy”) starting to dictate society. That is kind of what sets us different in a tale of two republics. The First French Republic, though influenced by much of the same enlightenment thought as the American Republic, came away with the State assuming all roles in society as the ultimate arbiter. Our republic was formed with the belief that the State was not the same a society and needed to be limited in fact, that great tyranny happened when the State became too much a part of society. Thus the First French Republic came up with the “The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen” (twice) but sadly I think Napoleon Bonaparte was an improvement in the rule of law and protection for RCC & minorities. Our Republic’s Bill of Rights are all “negatively focused,” rights, meaning things the things government is not supposed to do.

You last question, it appears you are desiring the failed French system of State supreme over Church, a view that I would not be transporting a founding father out of context to say would be repugnant (the Federalist papers and Anti-Federalist paper are online, TJ had a lot to say on the subject which been preserved, your concluding question is a form of what is called Madison’s Dilemma).

I can disagree with the Jehovah’s Witnesses (which I think is a real straw-man argument), but I do not desire any law to force them to have a blood transfusion or pay for them (note, you are still free to use contraception if you desire, none of your freedom is taken away), or force an Orthodox Jew to eat pork (but I can still have all the bacon I want). There are some basic tenements “Freedom” or maybe better, “Liberty” that you seem very willing to give up and let Washington DC “policy” become the moral guide and the State the whole of society.

[Hoping you are just so “pro-contraception” to have tunnel vision and not realize some of the foundational principles of our Nation your #38 was so quick to throw under the bus].

[42] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 2-9-2012 at 06:05 PM · [top]

41- Where are you already gone to?  The Church of the Divine Secular?

[43] Posted by tjmcmahon on 2-9-2012 at 06:10 PM · [top]

#41, jamesw is onto something: your thinking seems confused. I can’t tell whether you are talking about Catholic institutions or decisions of individual Catholics, or when you are switching between one or the other. In any case your point about JWs just underscores keeping the status quo as it was before the mandate: the policy of Catholic institutions and individuals did not prevent abortions and information about abortions from being available elsewhere. What is so objectionable to you about keeping things that way?

[44] Posted by SpongJohn SquarePantheist on 2-9-2012 at 06:18 PM · [top]

This decision needs to be made at the individual level and not by the catholic bishops.

- One of the duties of being a catholic is obedience to the magesterium
- the Catholic Church OWNS the facilities they use to provide medical and other services.
- there is no room for argument that the Catholic Church is not a religious institution which is an object of the first amendment.

This is ipso facto a constitutional issue. Anybody who thinks that it is of little consequence could not in good conscience complain about being made a slave. Or being treated like a troll. Jehovah’s witnesses are not required to obtain service from Catholic Institutions any more than Planned Parenthood.

[45] Posted by Creedal Episcopalian on 2-9-2012 at 06:25 PM · [top]

What odd and confused rantings from ALREADY GONE. I think Sarah nailed it above. His last post indicates that he hasn’t the faintest notion what the mandate is.

[46] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 2-9-2012 at 06:30 PM · [top]

RE: “I can’t tell whether you are talking about Catholic institutions or decisions of individual Catholics, or when you are switching between one or the other.”

He’s switching back and forth because he hasn’t a clue as to what we are talking about—he hasn’t kept up with the legislation and he’s just bloviating.

RE: “Should catholic institutions be forced to prohibit blood transfusion (and blood transfusion information) to both jo wits and non Jo wits because jo wits say such services are wrong.”

Um, ALREADY-GONE . . . you really *must* go read up on the legislation and what it decided.  There is no problem at all with any religious organization that desires and believes in blood transfusions promoting such things.  The thing that the law states is that the religious institution *which believes that an action is immoral and wicked, must in any case promote that action by helping people find places they can perform that action*.  That is what the legislation says.  It says nothing about whether a religious institution which is perfectly fine with an action should prohibit that action in response to people outside of that institution.

The answer to your uninformed, meaningless, and irrelevant-to-the-legislation question is “no.”  But answering the question is as trivial as the question itself.

The topic of this post is: what must a Christian or Christian organization do in response to being told by the State that he or she must engage in gross sinful action.

At this point it’s clear you’re not capable of interacting meaningfully on this thread until you’ve gone off and studied the *actual issue* embedded in the legislation and are able to interact with the post with knowledge and an informed opinion.

I understand that you think abortion is just fine—no problem.  I understand that you think that the answer to the actual issue is “nothing—a Christian or Christian organization must do whatever the State tells it to do even if it is a grossly sinful action.”  No problem.

But tossing in irrelevant, and meaningless topics into this thread while demonstrating that you’re unable or unwilling to grasp the content of the legislation or the issue won’t be allowed.

Please do not comment on this post again.  If you comment again and further demonstrate that you’ve not troubled yourself to read up on the issue—well, you already know what will happen.

[47] Posted by Sarah on 2-9-2012 at 06:34 PM · [top]

Matt, thank you. From the bottom of my heart thank you.

Your testimony and support are powerful witness to the Gospel.  Thanks.

[48] Posted by Paula Loughlin on 2-9-2012 at 06:45 PM · [top]

...it may be past time to read everything we can get our hands on published about Bonhoeffer.

[49] Posted by anglicanlutenist on 2-9-2012 at 08:09 PM · [top]

Despite being in favor of the Affordable Health Care Act = ObamaCare, I also agree that Catholic institutions such as hospitals and schools should not be forced to provide insurance coverage for activities they consider immoral.  I think it’s a very foolish action by the Obama administration; it’s not important for insurance to cover contraception (*) and it alienates Catholics and other people sympathetic to Pro-Life Democrats.  Insurance is supposed to cover catastrophic situations, not routine matters.  I have hope that this error will be reversed. (* = made all the worse since some “contraception” drugs are actually abortifacients.)

So I agree with Matt: if the government mandates that we do something wrong, we must refuse at whatever cost, even as our apostolic Fathers did.

[50] Posted by John Boyland on 2-9-2012 at 08:11 PM · [top]

From FOXNEWS
Now this MEANS something:

In a letter Thursday to Obama administration officials, the attorneys general from Nebraska, Texas and South Carolina called the mandate “unconstitutional” and threatened to fight the provision in court if necessary.

[51] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 2-9-2012 at 08:23 PM · [top]

Now this is good news.

[52] Posted by cennydd13 on 2-9-2012 at 08:28 PM · [top]

I think the Attorney General for the state of South Carolina has just done something that I could never have done even by prayer. So lets be thankful for those politicians who can do the right thing by voicing their opinion in way that has much more influence than I ever could.  Perhaps I should write a letter to these state’s Attorneys General and thank these men?? Hmmm…... good idea. Here is the information for anyone else who like to do the same.

JON BRUNING (R)
Nebraska Attorney General
State Capitol, P.O.Box 98920, Lincoln, NE 68509-8920
(402) 471-2682
http://www.ago.state.ne.us/

ALAN WILSON (R)
South Carolina Attorney General
Rembert C. Dennis Office Bldg., P.O.Box 11549, Columbia, SC 29211-1549
(803) 734-3970
http://www.scattorneygeneral.org

GREG ABBOTT (R)
Texas Attorney General
Capitol Station, P.O.Box 12548, Austin, TX 78711-2548
(512) 463-2100
http://www.oag.state.tx.us

[53] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 2-9-2012 at 08:46 PM · [top]

Now if only the California AG would do the same….but I won’t hold my breath.

[54] Posted by cennydd13 on 2-9-2012 at 09:54 PM · [top]

Apparently Christian Cost Sharing plans are still exempt.  So one solution would be to incorporate employees of Catholic Universities, Schools and hospitals, and other charities in a Christian cost sharing plan.  That replaces insurance altogether.  I pray the exemption will continue.

[55] Posted by ann r on 2-9-2012 at 09:54 PM · [top]

Well, yes, the BHO’s mandate to force paid murder on Churches is unconstitutional, but in fact the entire Obamacrare law is unconstitutional.  Most of our leaders have long ago abandoned the Constitution.  It is past history.  I feel sorry for the RCC over this, but after all, BHO would not have been elected without the RCC vote.  They are getting what they have sown for us all.  Obamacare must be destroyed, but if the Republicans manage to get elected this time will they have what it takes to get it destroyed?  I seriously doubt it.  We can pray that way though.  IMHO

[56] Posted by PROPHET MICAIAH on 2-9-2012 at 10:21 PM · [top]

So, will Matt be able to blog from jail, or will his notes have to be handed through the plastic barrier and re-typed?

Should we expect a blog post titled, “Letter from Binghamton Jail?”

This is pathetic. You might think that the guy in charge or this country had learned about good government in primary school in Indonesia, or some crazy place like that.

[57] Posted by Just a Baptist on 2-9-2012 at 10:47 PM · [top]

Read Chuck Colson’s response here:

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2012/februaryweb-only/catholics-contraceptive-mandate.html

And a response to 50:  Obomacare is the root of this evil.  It forces a particular healthcare on those who may not want it.  It forces individuals who don’t believe in contraception and abortion to pay for it nonetheless.  The fact that some may have a religious exemption does not render the evil any less evil.

At its heart Obamacare is the grasp of all devouring socialist state and mindset determined to force its will on the people.  This is prohibited by the Constitution, but then liberal/progressives have nothing but contempt for that document and the system of government it created.

[58] Posted by Br. Michael on 2-10-2012 at 06:31 AM · [top]

SC Blu Cat Lady:

I think the Attorney General for the state of South Carolina has just done something that I could never have done even by prayer.

It’s easy to underestimate the power of prayer. Who’s to say what motivated the AG?

[59] Posted by Creedal Episcopalian on 2-10-2012 at 07:18 AM · [top]

The Constitution may me history, but the last time I checked, history wasn’t over.

Lock and Load.

[60] Posted by Creedal Episcopalian on 2-10-2012 at 07:19 AM · [top]

No, our history isn’t over….not by a long shot….and the people of this country will have the final word.  We always do, and sooner or later, the progressive liberals will find out who really run things in the end.

[61] Posted by cennydd13 on 2-13-2012 at 12:10 AM · [top]

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