A Catholic, a Protestant, and a Rabbi get together and …

… write an op-ed column for Wall Street Journal denouncing the contraception mandate:

Coverage of this story has almost invariably been framed as a conflict between the federal government and the Catholic bishops. Zeroing in on the word “contraception,” many commentators have taken delight in pointing to surveys about the use of contraceptives among Catholics, the message being that any infringement of religious freedom involves an idiosyncratic position that doesn’t affect that many people.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The Catholic Church’s teaching on contraception (not to mention abortion and surgical sterilization) has been clear, consistent and public. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s decision would force Catholic institutions either to violate the moral teachings of the Catholic Church or abandon the health-care, education and social services they provide the needy. This is intolerable.

And while most evangelicals take a more permissive view of contraception, they share with Catholics the moral conviction that the taking of human life in utero, whether surgically or by abortifacient drugs, violates the basic human right to life. Evangelical nonprofits such as Prison Fellowship would therefore also have to choose between violating their consciences or paying fines that would ultimately destroy their ability to help the people they are committed to helping.

Even worse than the financial impact is the breach of faith represented by Ms. Sebelius’s decision. Her notion of an “appropriate balance” between religious freedom and “increasing access” to “important preventive services” stands the First Amendment on its head.

Read the entire essay, “United We Stand For Religious Freedom”. The three author are: Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, D.C.; Charles Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship and the Colson Center for Christian Worldview; and Rabbi Meir Y. Soloveichik, director of the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva University and associate rabbi at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun in Manhattan.

Speaking of Colson, he penned a recent piece with Timothy George for Christianity Today titled, “First They Came for the Catholics: Obama’s Contraceptive Mandate: An open letter to evangelical Christians.” A snippet:

We evangelicals must stand unequivocally with our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters. Because when the government violates the religious liberty of one group, it threatens the religious liberty of all.

Many bishops have already declared that they will not obey this unjust law. The penalty for such a move would be severe. Catholic hospitals, universities, and other organizations would be forced to pay punitive fines ($2,000 per employee) for refusing to purchase insurance that violates the teaching of their church.

For some institutions, it would spell the end of their existence—and their far-reaching service to the public and the needy.

But Catholic institutions aren’t the only ones affected by this mandate. Prison Fellowship, for example, which employs 180 people, could not purchase insurance for its employees that covers abortifacients. Nor could the world’s largest Christian outreach to prisoners and their families afford the fines we would incur. …

We do not exaggerate when we say that this is the greatest threat to religious freedom in our lifetime.

Read the entire piece.

About Carl E. Olson 1055 Articles

Carl E. Olson is editor of Catholic World Report and Ignatius Insight. He is the author of Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?, Will Catholics Be “Left Behind”, co-editor/contributor to Called To Be the Children of God, co-author of The Da Vinci Hoax (Ignatius), and author of the “Catholicism” and “Priest Prophet King” Study Guides for Word on Fire. He is also a contributor to “Our Sunday Visitor” newspaper, “The Catholic Answer” magazine, “The Catholic Herald”, “National Catholic Register”, “Chronicles”, and other publications.