FINAL HHS MANDATE FURNISHES FREEDOM FROM GOD, NOT IN GOD

The United States currency states “In God We Trust.” The United States Treasury explains that this phrase appears on our bills because of the increased religious sentiment that existed during the Civil War.

In 1956, “In God We Trust” was officially declared the national motto of the United States. In 2011, the United States Congress reaffirmed the national motto, though President Obama said the action was “wasting time.” We presume that part of the reason for his sentiment was his eagerness to get on with the business of forcing religious institutions to pay for contraceptive coverage for their employees.

He has succeeded. On June 28, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the final rules pertinent to the Obama mandate that “collides with religious freedom and the rights of conscience.”

Soon after the final regulations were issued, an open letter signed by religious leaders was written decrying the regulations. The letter, entitled “Standing Together for Religious Freedom,” includes the signature of USCCB representative Archbishop William Lori, who has been at the forefront of the battle against the mandate since it began.

During a July 2 press conference Lori said, “As the Catholic bishops have said from the very beginning, the underlying issue with the HHS Mandate is not about any specific teaching. In fact, other signatories on the letter do not share our view on contraception and probably disagree with us in many other ways, but they understand the core religious freedom issue at stake here.”

Yet a simple law protecting conscience rights may not correct the situation.