As shepherd of the Diocese of Lake Charles and as a citizen of the United States, I am deeply concerned by the recent announcement by the Obama Administration refusing to rescind its requirement that sterilization, abortifacients, and contraception be included in virtually all health plans by 2013. This move represents an aggressive assault on religious liberty and freedom of conscience.
The ruling, announced on January 20, 2012, forces almost all employers, including Catholic employers, to provide health coverage that includes sterilization, contraception, and even abortion-inducing drugs. This policy, which disregards religious belief and individual consciences, will certainly be detrimental to Catholic hospitals, Catholic schools, and other Catholic agencies which provide vital services to millions of Americans. The very narrow exemption clause included in the ruling protects almost no one. As a result, unless the rule is overturned, we Catholics will be compelled to either violate our consciences or suffer federal penalties for not providing health coverage.
It is imperative that our community recognizes this as a grave threat to religious liberty posed by radical secularism. I urge everyone in the Diocese of Lake Charles to address this issue squarely by informing people what is at stake, making sacrifices for their faith, praying for our country, and working to overturn this unjust ruling by the Obama Administration.
Sincerely yours in the Lord,
+Glen John Provost
Bishop of Lake Charles
Please contact your Congressman and U.S. Senators to express your strong opposition to the recent ruling by the Federal Department of Health & Human Services that Catholic Hospitals and Universities MUST provide their employees with free insurance coverage for sterilizations, abortafacient drugs, and contraceptives.
This is a direct affront to the Religious Liberty of the Catholic Church and its institutions.
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