WASHINGTON — By its recent approval of the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act (RHNDA) and the Human Rights Amendment Act (HRAA), the Council of the District of Columbia ran afoul of federal law and constitutional principles, says a letter sent to Congress by six members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) on March 20. The bishops are asking Congress to rescind these two pieces of legislation.

A copy of the letter may be found online: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/upload/ADW-USCCB-letter-DC-bills-3-20-15.pdf

“At issue is whether faith-based organizations should be forced to support activity they deem morally objectionable, such as funding elective abortions through their employee health plans, and whether religiously affiliated schools should be forced to endorse behavior contrary to their faith and moral convictions,” said Hillary Byrnes, USCCB assistant general counsel. “The council’s actions also raise the question whether an employer should be forced to hire an employee who has publicly denounced its mission. Equal protection does not mean compelling individuals or organizations to promote activity contrary to their beliefs.”

Signers of the letter are Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley of Boston (chair of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities), Archbishop George J. Lucas of Omaha, Nebraska (chair of the Committee on Catholic Education), Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, New York (chair of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth), Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco (chair of the Subcommittee on Promotion and Defense of Marriage) and Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore (chair of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty).