Religious Institute President Debra Haffner comments on the implications of the Supreme Court ruling in the case of the Little Sisters of the Poor, and on the meaning of “religious freedom.”
As a religious leader, I support religious freedom. Religious freedom means that each individual has the right to exercise their own beliefs; it does not mean that an individual or a corporation gets to exercise their beliefs to deny others’ freedoms. It is morally wrong for employers to deny the women who work for them access to basic health care.
The fact is that each of us must have the right to accept or reject the principles of our own faith without legal restrictions. No single religious voice speaks for all faith traditions on contraception (or any other controversial subject), nor should government-supported programs take sides on religious differences.
Read the full article at RH Reality Check here.
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Too often, conservative religious leaders replace love and inclusion with exclusionary, shame-based policies.
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President and CEO Rev. Debra Haffner blogs about the Ugandan anti-LGBT bill that President Museveni just signed into law. Read it here.
Click here to go to our campaign to demonstrate faith-based support for contraception. Two cases challenging the birth control mandate in the Affordable Care Act are coming before the Supreme Court on March 25. The suits are claiming that providing insurance that covers contraception violates the business owner’s religious freedom. Click here to sign our petition to demonstrate faith-based support for real religious freedom.
On March 25, 2014, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on two cases related to the requirement to provide contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
The Religious Institute, Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, have articulated some key points about faith-based support for contraceptive coverage in the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”).
People of faith and religious traditions support the birth control benefit
Key Points on Religion and Contraception
Today the Religious Institute and 29 other faith organizations filed an amicus brief in two cases regarding access to contraceptive coverage in the Affordable Care Act. Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, with input from Religious Institute President Debra Haffner, drafted the brief which urges the Supreme Court to respect the religious liberty of all Americans, rather than privileging the beliefs of any one faith, to the detriment of women’s reproductive health. As stated in the Religious Institute’s Open Letter on Family Planning, “No government committed to human rights and democracy can privilege the teachings of one religion over another or deny individuals’ religious freedom. Individuals must have the right to accept or reject the principles of their own faith without legal restrictions.”
An Open Letter from the National Coalition of American Nuns regarding insurers of the Affordable Care Act
The National Coalition of American Nuns (NCAN) is dismayed that the Little Sisters of the Poor-Colorado, the University of Notre Dame and other Catholic organizations are challenging the Affordable Care Act. Spurred on by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops these organizations are attempting to hold hostage all women by refusing insurance to them for contraceptives.
NCAN strongly supports Reproductive Justice which includes a woman’s right to choose what is best for her body including contraceptives. In its endorsement of the Affordable Care Act NCAN believes that women should not be singled out by any organization or group through its refusal to insure a woman’s reproductive needs. This violates the equality given to all men and women who embrace this country’s laws which are passed to preserve this very equality.
The goal of NCAN is to study, work and speak out on issues of Justice in Society and Church. We support women as moral agents able to make the right choices for their own bodies. We also know that women do not have full membership in churches and societies that keep women and our daughters poor and separated because of their gender. A society or church that disregards a person because of her gender does this to all of its members.
Founded in 1969 and representing over 2000 members, the National Coalition of American Nuns continues to work for full acceptance of the fact that: A woman cannot have full autonomy unless she has Reproductive Autonomy…We hope that we will see our work of equality for Women reflected in all laws and practices in Church and Society. We thank those working with us to make this a global reality.
“As religious leaders, we are committed to promoting the well-being and moral and spiritual integrity of persons and society. Today, we are called to join the public discussion about marriage equality. There are strong civil liberties arguments for ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from the legal institution of marriage. Here we invite you to consider religious foundations for securing the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. Marriage equality is about more than gaining equal access to the legal protections and responsibilities of marriage. It raises fundamental questions about justice and power, intimate relationships, sexuality and gender, respect for diverse families, and the role of religion as well as the state in these matters.”
Thanks to a new law supported by the religious right in the US, right now in Nigeria, gay men are being targeted, rounded up, and tortured to give up names of other LGBT people and their allies to be arrested and jailed for up to 10 years. An even more draconian bill was recently passed in Uganda (it is awaiting the president’s signature) , and a new law in Russia (also supported the religious right in the US) penalizes anyone who distributes information aimed at persuading minors that “nontraditional” relationships are normal or attractive.
New analysis from the Guttmacher Institute urges policymakers to take note that many faith traditions strongly affirm the role of family planning in promoting global health and development.
The report cites the Religious Institute’s Open Letter to Religious Leaders on Family Planning, with its 1000+ endorsements by religious leaders, as evidence of faith-based support for safe, affordable, and accessible comprehensive family planning services. Read the full Guttmacher report here. If you are a religious leader and would like to endorse the Open Letter on Family Planning, click here.