Newly created Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York and President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, wrote today to all American bishops. He updated them on the situation with the administration’s violation of our basic religious freedoms, and asked for their help and the help of all faithful.
A key excerpt:
In the United States, religious liberty does not depend on the benevolence of who is regulating us. It is our “first freedom,” and respect for it must be broad and inclusive — not narrow and exclusive. Catholics and other people of faith and good will are not second-class citizens. And it is not for the government to decide which of our ministries is “religious enough” to warrant religious-freedom protection.
This is not just about contraception, abortion-causing drugs and sterilization — although all should recognize the injustices involved in making them part of a universal mandated health-care program. It is not about Republicans or Democrats, conservatives or liberals. It is about people of faith. This is first and foremost a matter of religious liberty for all. If the government can, for example, tell Catholics that they cannot be in the insurance business today without violating their religious convictions, where does it end? This violates the constitutional limits on our government and the basic rights upon which our country was founded.