OUR OPINION:CHURCH RIGHTS
President Barrack Obama’s administration has ruled that employers provide health insurance that includes contraceptive coverage. The Catholic church employs scores of people in hospitals, clinics, colleges and universities.
This arrogant power surge by this administration has met with strong opposition from Catholic church officials and non-Catholics alike — as well it should.
Once again, the U.S. Constitution will be tested. Once again a contingency that has attempted to keep church groups from having any part of governance in this country is now seeking to impose its will on the rights guaranteed to church organizations by the first amendment.
In the United States, the term is an offshoot of the phrase, “wall of separation between church and state,” was written in Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802. The phrase — wall of separation between church and state — was first used by the United States Supreme Court in 1878. The phrase “separation of church and state” itself does not appear in the United States Constitution.
The First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
“Catholic parishioners around the country were read letters ... written by church leadership railing against an Obama administration ruling that requires employers to provide health insurance plans that include contraceptive coverage,” according to ABC News.
“Churches and other houses of worship are exempt from the guidelines but Catholic hospitals, colleges, and social services fall under the umbrella of institutions covered by the decision.
“But Catholicism considers some forms of contraception termination of life and religious leaders say adherence would fly in the face of the tenets of their faith. Critics also charge it would be a violation of the Constitutional right to freedom of religion.”
If this segment of this administration’s health care plan infringes on what the Constitution’s first amendment guarantees, the Supreme Court must act with immediacy to strike down such a flagrant imposition of government on the church.
“We cannot — we will not — comply with this unjust law,” a bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix told ABC News. “People of faith cannot be made second class citizens.”
Pope Benedict XVI told the American Roman Catholic Church they needed to understand “grave threats” posed by what he called radical secularism in politics and culture. We agree with the pontiff’s assessment.