Home > Uncategorized > “An Unalienable, Constitutional Right” — Read This Very Important Letter on Religious Freedom and Pass it Along

“An Unalienable, Constitutional Right” — Read This Very Important Letter on Religious Freedom and Pass it Along

June 22nd, 2012
Marketing Advertising Blog — VuManhThang.Com

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ, the Resurrection and the Life.

In response to the incursion of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) into the realm of religious freedom with its controversial contraceptive mandate issued earlier this year, we are compelled to offer “Free Exercise of Religion: Putting Beliefs into Practice,” an open letter to our members and, indeed, all Americans.

Twenty-four leaders of religious organizations across the country have joined with us in signing the letter. Together, these signatories represent more than 10 million American men, women and children. They represent religious organizations that stand with us in opposition to the contraceptive mandate on the grounds that it is an infringement of our God-given right to act according to the tenets of our faith.

We are preparing to issue this letter even as we await a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), a historic piece of legislation meant to extend health coverage to millions of uninsured Americans. The HHS contraceptive mandate represents one of the reforms included in the law. The ramifications of the anticipated ruling are, of course, as yet unknown.

That said, our action in authoring this letter is not a statement on the global design of PPACA. As Christians living out our calling to serve our brothers and sisters with the mercy and love of Jesus Christ, we support and engage in wide-ranging efforts to restore health and well-being to the sick and suffering.

Thus, this letter specifically is in response to one effect of the contraceptive mandate—one that would require religious organizations, with only narrowly defined exceptions, to include coverage for contraceptives, including those that could cause the death of unborn babies, in their employee health plans. This is in direct opposition to a core teaching of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod—that only God gives and takes life.

I encourage you to read the letter and to share it widely.

In Christ,

The Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, President
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

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FREE EXERCISE OF RELIGION:
Putting Beliefs into Practice

An Open Letter from Religious Leaders in the United States to All Americans

Dear Friends,

Religious institutions are established because of religious beliefs and convictions. Such institutions include not only churches, synagogues, mosques, and other places of worship, but also schools and colleges, shelters and community kitchens, adoption agencies and hospitals, organizations that provide care and services during natural disasters, and countless other organizations that exist to put specific religious beliefs into practice. Many such organizations have provided services and care to both members and non-members of their religious communities since before the Revolutionary War, saving and improving the lives of countless American citizens.

As religious leaders from a variety of perspectives and communities, we are compelled to make known our protest against the incursion of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) into the realm of religious liberty. HHS has mandated that religious institutions, with only a narrow religious exception, must provide access to certain contraceptive benefits, even if the covered medications or procedures are contradictory to their beliefs. We who oppose the application of this mandate to religious institutions include not only the leaders of religious groups morally opposed to contraception, but also leaders of other religious groups that do not share that particular moral conviction.

That we share an opposition to the mandate to religious institutions while disagreeing about specific moral teachings is a crucial fact. Religious freedom is the principle on which we stand. Because of differing understandings of moral and religious authority, people of good will can and often do come to different conclusions about moral questions. Yet, even we who hold differing convictions on specific moral issues are united in the conviction that no religious institution should be penalized for refusing to go against its beliefs. The issue is the First Amendment, not specific moral teachings or specific products or services.

The HHS mandate implicitly acknowledged that an incursion into religion is involved in the mandate. However, the narrowness of the proposed exemption is revealing for it applies only to religious organizations that serve or support their own members. In so doing, the government is establishing favored and disfavored religious organizations: a privatized religious organization that serves only itself is exempted from regulation, while one that believes it should also serve the public beyond its membership is denied a religious exemption. The so-called accommodation and the subsequent Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) do little or nothing to alleviate the problem.

No government should tell religious organizations either what to believe or how to put their beliefs into practice. We indeed hold this to be an unalienable, constitutional right. If freedom of religion is a constitutional value to be protected, then institutions developed by religious groups to implement their core beliefs in education, in care for the sick or suffering, and in other tasks must also be protected. Only by doing so can the free exercise of religion have any meaning. The HHS mandate prevents this free exercise. For the well-being of our country, we oppose the application of the contraceptive mandate to religious institutions and plead for its retraction.

Sincerely yours,

Leith Anderson
President
National Association of Evangelicals

Gary M. Benedict
President
The Christian and Missionary Alliance

Bishop John F. Bradosky
North American Lutheran Church

The Most Rev. Robert J. Carlson
Archbishop of St. Louis

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan
Archbishop of New York
President
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Mother Agnes Mary Donovan, S.V.
Superior General of the Sisters of Life

Sister Barbara Anne Gooding, R.S.M.
Director, Department of Religion
Saint Francis Health System

Sister Margaret Regina Halloran, l.s.p.
Provincial Superior, Brooklyn Province
Little Sisters of the Poor

The Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison
President
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

U.S. Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr.
Senior Pastor, Hope Christian Church
Bishop, Fellowship of International Churches

The Very Rev. Dr. John A. Jillions
Chancellor
Orthodox Church in America

The Most Blessed Jonah
Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All American and Canada
Orthodox Church in America

Imam Faizul R. Khan
Founder and Leader
Islamic Society of Washington Area

The Very Rev. Leonid Kishkovsky
Director of External Affairs and Interchurch Relations
Orthodox Church in America

The Most Rev. William E. Lori
Archbishop of Baltimore
Chairman
USCCB Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty

Sister Maria Christine Lynch, l.s.p.
Provincial Superior, Chicago Province
Little Sisters of the Poor

Sister Loraine Marie Maguire, l.s.p.
Provincial Superior, Baltimore
Province Little Sisters of the Poor

The Rev. John A. Moldstad
President
Evangelical Lutheran Synod

Deaconess Cheryl D. Naumann
President Concordia Deaconess Conference
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez
President
NHCLC
Hispanic Evangelical Association

Sister Joseph Marie Ruessmann, R.S.M., J.D., J.C.D., M.B.A.
Generalate Secretary
Religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma, Michigan

The Rev. Mark Schroeder
President
Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod

L. Roy Taylor
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America

Sister Constance Carolyn Veit, l.s.p.
Communications Director
Little Sisters of the Poor

Dr. George O. Wood
General Superintendent
The General Council of the Assemblies of God

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Dan
    June 23rd, 2012 at 17:57 | #1

    Praise be to God! I am so thankful for those men and women who signed this letter. Amen and Amen!

  2. Julia
    June 24th, 2012 at 13:49 | #2

    Agree. I appreciate their courage.

Comments are closed.