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Christian leaders protest contraceptive rule comment (0)

June 21, 2012

WASHINGTON — Nearly 150 faith leaders wrote Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on June 11 protesting the administration’s requirement that faith-based employers include contraceptive coverage for women in their health care plans.

The Affordable Health Care Act, also known as Obamacare, requires that beginning Aug. 1 all health insurance policies cover preventive services for women including contraception. Churches that oppose birth control on moral grounds are exempt, but religiously affiliated institutions like hospitals and universities that serve the general public have until August 2013 to comply.

The June 11 letter organized by the Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance said the rule sets up a “two-class concept of religious organizations” between those that focus inward in houses of worship and those that express their faith in outward service to their communities.

“The scheme honors acts of worship while burdening those whose faith leads them to service in our common life,” the letter said. “Among its many troublesome aspects, the scheme moves us further toward an unconstitutional, unhistorical and unhealthy naked public square.”

The letter urged the White House to “eliminate the two-class scheme of religious organization in the preventive services regulations” and extend the same exemption currently limited to churches to other faith-based service organizations as well.

Signers included Christianity Today editor David Neff, Ron Sider of Evangelicals for Social Action, Leith Anderson of the National Association of Evangelicals and Richard Land, president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Mark Foley, president of the University of Mobile, was among others who signed the letter. 

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