Religious liberty issue takes center stage at Catholic prayer breakfast
Published: April 20, 2012
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Religious liberty was topic A at the eighth annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, held April 19 at a Washington hotel. "Never in the lifetime of anyone present here has the religious liberty of the American people been as threatened as it is today," warned Carl Anderson, supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus, in remarks to the estimated 800 people in attendance. "We must remind our fellow Americans, and especially those who exercise power, that religious liberty -- the freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment -- has been essential to the founding, development and improvement of the American republic." Anderson said, "Today we find a new hostility to the role of religious institutions in American life at a time when government is expanding its reach in extraordinary ways. And it is not only because of the Obama administration's HHS contraception mandate." Besides the mandate requiring that most health plans cover the cost of contraception, sterilization and some drugs that can induce abortion, Anderson pointed to the Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC case, a court challenge to a Lutheran school's firing of a teacher. The attempt to more narrowly define who is a religious employee was unanimously rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court. He also noted the revocation of a federal human trafficking grant awarded to the U.S. bishops' Department of Migration and Refugee Services because MRS would not offer its clients the "full range of reproductive services," including abortion. "A government willing to affect the faith and mission of the church is a government willing to change the identity of the church," Anderson declared.
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