The United States Catholic bishops are readying American Catholics for what may be the largest campaign of civil disobedience since the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s.
In addition to 12 lawsuits against the Obama Administration including 46 plaintiffs from dioceses, hospitals and universities, the US Catholic bishops will urge Catholics to openly defy the Obama HHS Mandate. In June, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will distribute bulletin inserts nationwide, which reference Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his call for civil disobedience in response to unjust laws.
The USCCB bulletin insert quotes “Letter from Birmingham Jail” in which Dr. King writes, “I would agree with Saint Augustine that ‘An unjust law is no law at all.’… A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.”
The Catholic bishops also note in the document, “Some unjust laws impose such injustices on individuals and organizations that disobeying the laws may be justified. Every effort must be made to repeal them. When fundamental human goods, such as the right of conscience, are at stake, we may need to witness to the truth by resisting the law and incurring its penalties.”
The USCCB has organized a two-week campaign called the Fortnight for Freedom, which will extend from June 21st through July 4th to raise awareness about the threats to rights of conscience posed by the HHS mandate. On August 1st, the mandate is scheduled to go into effect.
President Obama indicated at campaign events this past week that despite the filed lawsuits, the administration plans to go ahead with implementing the mandate. “We don’t need another political fight about ending a woman’s right to choose, or getting rid of Planned Parenthood or taking away affordable birth control,” Obama said. “We don’t need that. I want women to control their own health choices, just like I want my daughters to have the same economic opportunities as my sons. We’re not turning back the clock. We’re not going back there.”
Pro-life organizations have warned that the very same authority used by the HHS Secretary under the Obama healthcare law to mandate insurance coverage of contraceptives and sterilizations could also be used to force coverage of surgical abortions.
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Recently, the USCCB released a document entitled “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty” in which the bishops emphasized they would not back down from their opposition the HHS Mandate.
The bishops said, “It is a sobering thing to contemplate our government enacting an unjust law. An unjust law cannot be obeyed. In the face of an unjust law, an accommodation is not to be sought, especially by resorting to equivocal words and deceptive practices. If we face today the prospect of unjust laws, then Catholics in America, in solidarity with our fellow citizens, must have the courage not to obey them. No American desires this. No Catholic welcomes it. But if it should fall upon us, we must discharge it as a duty of citizenship and an obligation of faith.”