Evangelicals copying Catholics

Not in the realm of theology or regarding devotional material, but in addressing threats to religious freedom. From Christianity Today:

Despite differences over contraception, evangelical leaders have fallen in step with Catholic bishops over what they see as federal compulsion to provide services against their conscience.

In 2011, the Obama administration ruled that religious institutions would be required to provide employees with free contraceptive coverage. President Obama said in February that insurers would be responsible for paying for the contraception, but those who opposed the new rule suggested insurers could simply raise premiums to cover the cost.

Searching for strategies, some evangelicals filed lawsuits. Others followed Catholic bishops’ lead, releasing letters to be read in churches.

At least 117 Catholic bishops issued statements to their dioceses, asking for their prayers and political opposition to the ruling. Many told priests to read the letters aloud to congregants during Sunday masses. Members of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) asked for advice on whether to distribute a similar letter, said Galen Carey, vice president of government relations. The organization decided not to take the unprecedented step because its leaders believe that reading a letter on a political issue should be done rarely, if at all.

Evangelicals including Chuck Colson, Albert Mohler, and Jim Daly specifically said the issue was not just a Catholic one. While evangelicals do not take the same stance against all contraception, they generally oppose forms of birth control that block uterine implantation.

Evangelical institutions Colorado Christian University, Louisiana College, and Geneva College joined Catholic universities in filing lawsuits to challenge the rule. Spokespeople for the Becket Fund and the Alliance Defense Fund told CT they expect to file more lawsuits.

“This is one of the more remarkable displays of unity that I’ve seen in a long time,” said Paul Kengor, a political science professor at Grove City College. “The most common tactic or response Catholics and evangelicals will probably pursue is within the courts. It’s not that they sought this issue; this came to them.”

Read the entire article. Not only, to paraphrase Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J., has the Obama administration performed a “miracle” by helping unite Catholic bishops, it also seems to be advancing the cause of ecumenism, at least on the level of shared social principles and moral beliefs. Of course, the administration’s powers do have limits: they’ve yet to bring many notable cave-in Catholics into full alignment with the bishops. But some miracles are beyond even the most expansive governmental powers.

About Carl E. Olson 1043 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.