Wake up America! The Constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion is being attacked in the Catholic Church today. Tomorrow it may be your religion!
Many Americans may not be aware of the fact that the HHS mandate of the Obama Health Care plan will take away religious freedom of every person. There is no exclusion for those who object to abortion, contraception or other issues of moral conscience. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops has publicly stated disapproval and recently encouraged all Catholics to pray for Congress to reconsider and remove this mandate.
The issue is not “contraception and abortion.” The issue is the Government is forcing religious institutions to violate their beliefs to provide contraception and abortion insurance coverage.
On June 24, there was a gathering at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church where the mandate was discussed. Members of First Baptist Church of Zachary were in attendance and Fr. Jeff Bayhi of St. John’s and Dr. Reggie Bridges of First Baptist were among those who spoke. This ecumenical meeting was a statement and demonstration that the HHS mandate affects all of us regardless of religious affiliation.
It has now come to my attention that House Resolution 1179 was submitted to a Congressional committee by former Baton Rouge resident, Rep. Jeffrey Fortenberry, (R-NE). It is called the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act.
As per protocol of Congress, this bill was sent to committee for discussion and has been languishing in that committee since March 2011. The Senate counterpart bill is S-1467 constitutes the same ideas. It has been in committee since August 2011. If passed in the House and in the Senate, both of these pieces of legislation would “protect rights of conscience with regard to requirements for coverage of specific items and services” under Obama Care.
Dr. Bill Cassidy, (R-LA), is on the Congressional committee and in a recent Town Hall meeting in Baton Rouge, he indicated that he would take another look at the resolution and endeavor with Rep. Fortenberry to get this resolution to the floor of Congress for a vote.
Last Sunday over 350 Zachary citizens signed a petition that will be mailed to Senators Landrieu and Vitter and to Rep. Cassidy urging them to vote approval for HR-1179 and its counterpart S-1467. Passage of these Bills would guarantee Right of Conscience for all Americans. It’s not “just a Catholic thing” as some might say. There is a plan in the works for this petition to be available on several more Sundays in the next few weeks allowing more opportunity for people to learn about what is going on in Washington.
Citizens of Zachary and surrounding areas are urged to contact their Federal legislators and express their opinions on this topic. More information on HR-1179 can be found at www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr1179. Information on S-1467 is found at www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/s1467.
Those wanting to sign petitions may do so electronically by clicking the link on St. John’s website at www.sjb-ola.org or drop by the church office to get a paper copy. Interested parties may also contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of the petition or notice of places where they can go to sign.
It is hoped that other area churches will want their members to participate in this grass roots effort to make a difference!