Opposition from Many Denominations, Academicians at Congressional Hearing on Obama Mandate

By Dave Andrusko

Testifying Thursday at a hearing, "“Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State: Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?”

In Part One, we talked about media bias and how the Obama Mandate is framed either as a “debate over contraception” or just opponents making political points in an election year. Here we talk about a third diversion to avoid taking about the truth that the mandate is an assault on religious liberties: that opposition is more-or-less exclusively a concern of the Catholic Church.

Coverage of yesterday’s hearing of  the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee followed the line supporters of the mandate prefer: anything but whether (the question the hearing was intended to address)  “Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State: Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?”

What didn’t get discussed much is that while the Catholic Church was represented on one of the two panel, figures from other faiths made their displeasure known as well. Opposition is, in the best sense of the term, ecumenical, as demonstrated by the fact that even witnesses from faiths that do not share the same view as the Catholic church on contraception voiced their alarum yesterday. Their concern is how the mandate infringes on religious liberties.

Thus in its story today, the New York Times’ Robert Pear wrote, “Lutheran and Baptist clergymen and an Orthodox rabbi joined a Roman Catholic bishop in telling lawmakers that Mr. Obama’s latest policy of shifting the responsibility for paying for the contraceptives from religious institutions to their health insurers was unworkable and did not allay concerns about government entanglement with religion.”

The crux is that “That there is no real difference” between the original requirement and the “revised” mandate, John H. Garvey, president of the Catholic University of America testified yesterday.

To name just a few who testified, besides Catholic Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, Connecticut, who represented the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop:

· Rabbi Meir Soloveichik, director of the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva University,

· Dr. Allison Dabbs Garrett, senior vice-president for academic affairs at Oklahoma Christian University.

· The Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, president of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod 

· Dr. C. Ben Mitchell, a professor at Union University

· Dr. Laura Champion, medical director of Calvin College Health Services,

· Dr. Craig Mitchell, professor of Christian Ethics at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

· William Thierfelder, president of Belmont Abbey College

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