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February 7, 2012

Freedom for Religion

by Rev. A. J. Iovine
Official photographic portrait of US President...

President Barack Obama is rightfully receiving backlash for his Administration’s acts to limit church institutions for employing their theological beliefs in how they provide medical care. While individual churches, like +Saint Matthews, continue to be exempt from providing coverage for medical care that goes against our beliefs, it is the greater ministries run by the church proper that will be hurt.

It is the non-church centered ministries like schools and hospitals and charities that will be forced to provide coverage for birth control for their workers – and this is what has gotten under the skin of many Lutherans and Roman Catholics. We hear so much about the freedom of religion within media circles today, but we fail to hear about government intrusion INTO religion to prevent churches, synagogues, mosques from practicing their faith the way they see fit.

From The Hill this morning:

“President Obama’s decision to force employers, including religious institutions, to provide health insurance coverage for contraception is becoming a big problem for his reelection campaign.

GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney launched a petition on Monday against the mandate, arguing it was an attack by Obama on “religious liberty.”

Conservatives, including Catholics such as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), are attacking the administration for the decision. And now, nine months before the presidential election, the backlash is growing even among Obama supporters, who say the move was politically tone-deaf.

“These kind of issues have a powerful symbolic hold on religious voters and could cost [Obama] votes in liberal working-class areas that would otherwise go toward the Democrat,” said Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. “[His] support is not deep enough that he can count on their loyalty regardless of his stand on these sorts of issues.”

I do not think anyone will say that our medical care system is perfect – and trust me, after living in it for the past year, there are many holes in the system. But to change the system by forcing religious institutions to employ mandated coverage on employees that goes against what religious institutions and church bodies believe is an intrusion in the exercise of religion. LCMS President Matthew Harrison said the following about this government rule:

“This action by HHS will have the effect of forcing many religious organizations to choose between following the letter of the law and operating within the framework of their religious tenets,” Harrison said. “We add our voice to the long list of those championing for the continued ability to act according to the dictates of their faith, and provide compassionate care and clear Christian witness to society’s most vulnerable, without being discriminated against by government.”

He is right. Christians of all denominations need to stand up in opposition.

Embedded Link

Obama administration faces backlash over rule ordering birth control coverage –
GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney called the mandate an attack on “religious liberty. President Obama’s decision to force employers, including religious institutions, to provide health insuran…

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