Defend Religious Liberty Now

Folks, we have reached the point where Christians may be called to actively defy the government of the United States. This is a shocking and sobering statement, but I’m sorry to say it’s true.If you’ve read the Manhattan Declaration–and I pray you have read it and signed it—you’ll know that we predicted this time would come. We just had no idea it would come so soon.As you know by now, Obama Administration has refused to grant religious organizations an exemption from purchasing health insurance that covers abortion-inducing drugs, surgical sterilization, and contraception.

The Catholic bishops responded quickly, decrying the Administration’s decision for what it is—an egregious, dangerous violation of religious liberty.

And folks, we evangelicals must stand with them. While all of us may not share the Catholic view of contraception, all true Christians believe that the taking of human life in utero, whether surgically or by abortifacient drugs, violates the basic human right to life.

Many bishops have already declared that they will not obey this unjust law. The penalty for such a move would be severe. Catholic hospitals, universities, and other organizations would be force to pay punitive fines ($2,000 per employee) for refusing to purchase insurance that violates the teaching of their church.

But Catholic institutions aren’t the only ones affected by this mandate. Prison Fellowship, for example, which employs 180 people, could not morally purchase insurance for its employees that covers abortifacients. Nor could we afford the fines we would incur.

For some faith-based institutions, it would spell the end of their existence—and their far-reaching service to the public and to the needy. As Mike Gerson pointed out in his excellent Washington Post op-ed on Tuesday, it’s crazy that the government would drive charities like the Salvation Army and other Christian groups out of business. The government simply can’t afford to replace the services they provide–such as “homeless shelters, food banks, health care, welfare-to-work, prisoner re-entry programs” and much more.

Here is what I want you to do right now.

First, go to Manhattan and sign the petition to President Obama prepared by the Becket Fund, protesting this violation of our civil liberties.

Second, if you haven’t done so, sign the Manhattan Declaration. Join with 500,000 people who have committed to “fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar’s. But under no circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God’s.”

Third, pray that God would soften the hearts of the president and others in his administration that they would reverse course.

Fourth, be vigilant. The Administration may reverse itself here, but we are seeing an extremely dangerous pattern. The issue of religious liberty is not going to go away. Our freedoms are at stake.

For more on this grave threat to religious freedom, please go to and watch my “Two-Minute Warning.”

Got that? Go to and sign the petition to the President and the Declaration itself. Then watch my “Two-Minute Warning” at, and above all, my friends, be vigilant, and pray.

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  • Anonymous

    The Manhattan Declaration is great.  We also need to define what civil disobedience is going to look like.  Not just for our institutions, which will not implement this mandate, but for the rest of us.  We have to mobilize the Catholic vote, so Mr. Obama definitively loses it.  And though we may not want to take too many cues from the “occupiers,” their voices were heard.  We need to speak loudly and publicly so we can’t be ignored.


  • ST. Markeymark

    Religious liberty has been granted to churches and to individuals not by the State but by the hand of God,” Bishop Lori pointed out. “It is the first of our freedoms in the Bill of Rights and at the heart of all the other freedoms.”

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  • Kirbyfisher

    Seems ironic that these same bishops endorsed Obama care three years ago, but are now surprised by this statute? 56 percent of Catholics last election voted for President Obama. Kathleen Sabelious, head of the department mandating inclusion of the church into this law IS Catholic herself.  Most Catholics, unfortunately, practice some form of birth control not prescribed by cannon law, or worse, despite the teaching of the church. 

    Until the church starts to excommunicate members of the faith who are in positions of authority and in politics who endorse policies contrary to the teachings of the church, taking this argument seriously is nothing but an exercise is futility.