Call for Unity in Fight vs. HHS Mandate

WASHINGTON (CNS) – All Americans, whatever their faith or political party, should stand united in defense of religious liberty, said speakers at the recent National Religious Freedom Conference in Washington.

“This is a bipartisan issue. This is an American issue. Religious freedom is at the core of what it means to be American,” said Brian Walsh, executive director of the American Religious Freedom Program of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, which sponsored the gathering attended by 300 people from across the U.S., including religious leaders and state legislators and public policy experts.

Walsh said at the outset of the daylong meeting that his program, and that day’s gathering, was committed to “protecting and strengthening Americans’ God-given and constitutional religious freedoms.”

The meeting was subtitled “Rising Threats to Religious Freedom,” and speakers examined various threats, including state laws that violate the conscience rights of health workers, with a background paper noting that regulations in Illinois and Washington state “require pharmacists to dispense abortion-inducing drugs even if doing so violates their religious convictions.”

Many speakers warned about the threat to religious liberty posed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) mandate requiring nearly all employers to provide workers with health insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives and sterilizations.