The Catholic Bishops in the U.S. have been one of the, if not the, most outspoken critics of the HHS mandate requiring employers to provide access to contraceptives as part of the employer-sponsored health insurance. The Catholic Church, as a rule, is against the use of contraceptives, seeing them as something that diminishes the sexual relationship between a married man and woman, and views the widespread, ready-access to such things as contributing to sexual promiscuity and sexual relationships outside of the Holy Sacrament of marriage.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan issued a statement in response to the June 28 “final ruling” of the HHS concerning religion and the mandate, in which h expressed concern about the definition of a “religious employer”, the exclusion of religious ministries, and the treatment of businesses run by people who operate their business based on religious principles. The narrow definitions of a “religious employer” excludes groups and organizations that are not formally recognized (by their nature) as a church. Ministries run by religious groups or orders, but not associated with a particular church, should, but do not, have the same right to religious freedom as a group associated with a church, and thereby should be exempt from the mandate. Cardinal Dolan also commented that people should have the freedom to practice their religion in their daily lives, even as that applies to how they run their business.
The Catholic Church is, by its very nature, the strongest opponent to the mandate. For decades, the Church has been an outspoken critic of sexual promiscuity in all its forms, and anything that damages the sexual relationship between a married man and woman. Although the Catholic Church does not represent religion as a whole in the United States, the teachings of the Church have been adopted by many other Christian churches, as well as religious groups and employers across the country. With such a strong voice, a voice that has been heard throughout the 20th and into the 21st century speaking out against the loosening of morals in the U.S. and around the world, the Catholic Church has become a rallying point for other groups, churches, and businesses to gather around in the fight against this mandate.
The HHS mandate on contraceptives has been met with widespread dismay across the country, especially as it applies to religious groups, organizations, and employers. The Bishops of the Catholic Church have been outspoken critics of the mandate from the beginning, and have been leading a fight to allow all people in the U.S. the right to religious freedom as they see fit, whether that person is a preacher in a church or the owner of a church supply store. Religious freedom, as the Bishops rightly see it, means that the Government should not impose laws on anyone that violate that person’s personal religious views. And in fact, the right to practice a religion as one sees fit, free from laws requiring one to violate their beliefs, is one of the basic tenants this nation is founded on, and something that sets the United States apart in a world where the line between religion and government has become blurred.