Pro-Lifers refused to be intimidated into silence; USCCB vows “robust” defense of religious liberty

By Dave Andrusko

Archbishop William E. Lori, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty

Even though busy chortling that pro-abortion President Barack Obama has been re-elected, the usual suspects understand that there is no chance the Pro-Life Movement will downshift. With the 40th anniversary of Roe around the corner, pro-lifers are gearing up to do more of what we have done in the past, only better, and take up new initiatives to educate the American people to the tragedy  that over 54 million unborn babies have died.

But Abortion Establishment figures are not shy about counseling the Republican Party to break with the very people that have made it competitive in elections from city hall to President of the United States. A very few will listen, but almost all will understand that Mitt Romney lost not because he was pro-life, but because of other reasons. (See www.nationalrighttolifenews.org/news/2012/11/countering-the-conventional-wisdom-on-the-election-day-results and  “Obama’s Campaign: Doing whatever it took to succeed.”)

Why? For one thing, because most are sincerely pro-life. For another, when someone like PPFA President Cecile Richards offers you unsolicited advice, you can pretty much figure out it is not to strengthen the Republican Party but to sever it from its pro-life foundation.

However, pro-abortionists/the Obama Administration have another target in their cross-hairs, and they are using the same tactic with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) that we have seen employed against single-issue pro-lifers. And that is to attack and attack and attack and then unleash volleys of criticism when someone fights back.

For example, the Catholic Church is staunchly pro-life. Its ministry is not to tell parishioners how to vote but to inform its congregants’ consciences. And the USCCB refuses to be bludgeoned into silence on abortion by bogus assertions that it is “playing politics.”

Another paramount issue for the USCCB this election cycle has been the Obama Administration’s all-out assault on religious freedom, about which we have written many times.

Yesterday the fall general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops began in Baltimore. The importance , the centrality of religious liberty came up immediately. According to the Catholic News Service, Archbishop William E. Lori, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, said the work of defending religious liberty will continue more robustly and without end. Dennis Sadowski wrote

“Beyond reaching young people, Archbishop Lori  said in his report, the church’s efforts will continue to focus on expanding the definition of religious and faith-based organizations as the rule-making continues under the Affordable Care Act. He reiterated the USCCB’s stance that the government’s definition of a religious group is inappropriate. ’This is drawing lines in our mission were we do not draw them,’ he said.

“Under the health care law, the Department of Health and Human Services mandates that most employers, including religious employers, provide insurance coverage of contraceptives, sterilization and some abortion-inducing drugs free of charge, even if the employer is morally opposed to such services.

“A narrow exemption applies only to those religious institutions that seek to inculcate their religious values and primarily employ and serve people of their own faith. The mandate does not include a conscience clause for employers who object to such coverage on moral grounds.”

Archbishop Lori told the general assembly of the USCCB yesterday that “whatever setbacks or challenges in the efforts to defend religious liberty we may be experiencing, we’re going to stay the course.” He added, “Defense of religious freedom requires not just dealing with short-term and mid-term goals, but indeed is a project that requires long-term foundational and formational work.”

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