Catholic Conference of Ohio
Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Issues - Catholic Conference of Ohio

Religious Liberty

Religious freedom is our first American freedom. It is a founding principle of our country, protected by the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights. It’s a fundamental human right, rooted in the dignity of every human person—people of any faith or no faith at all. It’s not a Catholic, Jewish, Orthodox, Mormon or Muslim issue—it’s an American issue, a civil rights issue

U. S. Bishops Web Link On Religious Liberty

Conscience Protection Resources/ Bulletin Inserts

Fortnight for Freedom- Prayer Resources

Catholic Bishops statement on Religious Liberty:
Our First, Most Cherished Liberty
Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty 

U. S. Health & Human Services Expands Exemptions on Contraceptive Mandate

HHS Mandate Decision Represents "Good News"

The decision to expand the HHS mandate exemption is "good news for the Little Sisters of the Poor and others who are challenging the HHS mandate in court...[and] good news for all Americans,” according to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). 

Full USCCB statement

The U. S. Attorney General issued a guidance memorandum to all administrative agencies and executive departments regarding religious liberty protections in federal law. This memorandum affirms religious liberty and the RFRA Act of 1993 (Religious Freedom Restoration Act). 

In conjunction with the memorandum, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued two companion rules that provide conscience protections to Americans who have a religious or moral objection to paying for health insurance that covers contraceptive/abortifacient services. Under the first rule, entities that have sincerely held religious beliefs against providing such services would no longer be required to do so. The second rule applies the same protections to organizations and small businesses that have objections on the basis of moral conviction which is not based in any particular religious belief. 

USCCB Chairman Applauds U.S. Supreme Court Decision Protecting Religious Liberty

The U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in the case of Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer, in which the Court held that the exclusion of churches from an otherwise available public benefit violates the Free Exercise Clause of the U.S. Constitution.  Trinity Lutheran’s preschool sought to participate in the State of Missouri’s scrap tire program, which would have allowed it to repave its playground with recycled tire pieces in order to provide a softer and safer playground surface for children.

Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, offered the following statement:

“Today’s decision is a landmark victory for religious freedom. The Supreme Court rightly recognized that people of faith should not be discriminated against when it comes to government programs that should be made available to all. The decision also marks a step in the right direction toward limiting the effects of the pernicious Blaine Amendments that are in place in many states around the country.  Blaine Amendments to state constitutions, most of which date back to the nineteenth century, stem from a time of intense anti-Catholic bigotry in many parts of the country. We are glad to see the Supreme Court move toward limiting these harmful provisions, which have restricted the freedom of faith-based organizations and people of faith to serve their communities.”

Executive Order on Religious Liberty Welcomed

USCCB President: Executive Order Begins A Process

In recent years, people of faith have experienced pressing restrictions on religious freedom from both the federal government and state governments that receive federal funding. For example, in areas as diverse as adoption, education, healthcare, and other social services, widely held moral and religious beliefs, especially regarding the protection of human life as well as preserving marriage and family, have been maligned in recent years as bigotry or hostility — and penalized accordingly. But disagreement on moral and religious issues is not discrimination; instead, it is the inevitable and desirable fruit of a free, civil society marked by genuine religious diversity.

Read the full statement by Cardinal DiNardo
Read the Executive Order

Catholic Conference of Ohio reaffirms support for the Ohio Pastors Protection Act

HB 36 provides clarity and intent to existing laws

The Catholic Conference of Ohio, as the official representative for the Ohio Catholic Bishops in public matters affecting the Church and the general welfare of Ohioans, often speaks out and testifies on legislative bills.

HB 36 allows ministers not to solemnize marriages contrary to beliefs.  It helps clarify existing provisions that protect religious liberties.

"The Catholic Church has a longstanding teaching on the sacredness of marriage, and specific requirements regarding the ceremony.  While we will defend the premise that the recent Supreme Court decision did not change our ability to practice such teachings within our church structures, we feel it is important to have Ohio pursue legislation that provides the State with clarity and intent, lest there be uncertainties and legal challenges to this First Amendment Right."   

Full testimony

Catholic Conference of Ohio Testifies in Support of Religious Liberty in Schools

HB 425 seeks to clarify that students have the rights of religious conscience

This legislation, known as the Ohio Student Religious Liberty Act is sponsored by Representative Hayes. It is pending in the Ohio House.

Catholic Conference of Ohio Testifies in Support of the Ohio Pastor's Protection Act

HB 286 Seeks to Protect Religious Liberty

HB 286 protects ministers from being required to solemnize a marriage that is contrary to their sincerely held religious beliefs.

Catholic Conference of Ohio's testimony in support of HB 286 

Ohio Bishops Issue Statement Regarding the Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

The Catholic Church remains steadfast in its commitment to promote and defend marriage: defined as the union of one man and one woman. With renewed hope, sensitivity, and compassion, the Church will continue to attend to the challenges and hardships that confront individuals and their families, and to treat all persons with the dignity and respect due to them as children of God.
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