In the spirit of What Does the Prayer Really Say, we would like to offer a translation of a statement made during the Vice Presidential debate on Thursday night when it was, quite inaccurately (to put it nicely), said:
“With regard to the assault on the Catholic Church, let me make it absolutely clear. No religious institution—Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital—none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact. That is a fact.”
Now, courtesy of the Becket Fund For Religious Liberty, let’s see what should have been said, what would have been an accurate statement about this administration’s unconstitutional HHS mandate and its effect on the Catholic Church:
“Under this administration’s HHS mandate, virtually every Catholic institution in our nation must refer contraception, must pay for contraception, and must serve as a vehicle to provide contraception in any insurance policy they provide. If they refuse to do so, they will face millions of dollars in fines that will cripple their ability to live out the principles of their faith. That is a fact.”
The USCCB also responded to this blatant “inaccuracy”. Here is part of their statement:
This is not a fact. The HHS mandate contains a narrow, four-part exemption for certain “religious employers.” That exemption was made final in February and does not extend to “Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital,” or any other religious charity that offers its services to all, regardless of the faith of those served.
HHS has proposed an additional “accommodation” for religious organizations like these, which HHS itself describes as “non-exempt.” That proposal does not even potentially relieve these organizations from the obligation “to pay for contraception” and “to be a vehicle to get contraception.” They will have to serve as a vehicle, because they will still be forced to provide their employees with health coverage, and that coverage will still have to include sterilization, contraception, and abortifacients. They will have to pay for these things, because the premiums that the organizations (and their employees) are required to pay will still be applied, along with other funds, to cover the cost of these drugs and surgeries.
USCCB continues to urge HHS, in the strongest possible terms, actually to eliminate the various infringements on religious freedom imposed by the mandate.
We are not trying to get political or tell you who to vote for, but we try to live our lives in the service of Truth, and when it’s misrepresented we have a duty to point it out. One VP candidate does not support Catholic teaching on the non-negotiable issues such as abortion (going so far as to oppose the unborn victims of violence act and parental notification when minors seek abortion), human cloning, embryonic stem cell research, and the definition of marriage. The other VP candidate supports Catholic teaching on all of these issues.
During this 33 Days of Prayer, let’s pray especially for the hearts of our elected officials, that they be open to Truth, that they lead our country in light of this Truth, and that all Americans will be firmly committed to living their lives in the service of Truth.