Utah People's Party

…proclain liberty through out all the land….(Leviticus 25:10)

Contraceptive Mandate Part 1

on October 25, 2012

Putting Beliefs into Practice
An Open Letter from Religious Leaders in the United States to All Americans

The signers of this letter are officers or representatives of a variety of religious organizations including one Islāmic organization, many Christian organizations and a number of others that are likely Christian organizations but their name does not show that definitely: Islāmic Society of Washington Area, Little Sisters of the Poor, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, The Christian and Missionary Alliance U.S., Evangelical Lutheran Synod, Fellowship of International Churches, Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, Orthodox Church in America, North American Lutheran Church, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, National Association of Evangelicals, Religious Sisters of Mercy, Hispanic Evangelical Association, Sisters of Life, Saint Francis Health System, Presbyterian Church in America, The General Council of the Assemblies of God.

From the open letter we draw the following words.

Religious institutions are established because of religious beliefs and convictions. Such institutions include not only churches, synagogues, mosques, and other places of worship, but also schools and colleges, shelters and community kitchens, adoption agencies and hospitals, organizations that provide care and services during natural disasters, and countless other organizations that exist to put specific religious beliefs into practice. Many such organizations have provided services and care to both members
and non-members of their religious communities since before the Revolutionary War, saving and improving the lives of countless American citizens.

The People’s Party agrees that Religious institutions include the organizations created to put religious believes into practice.

As religious leaders from a variety of perspectives and communities, we are compelled to make known our protest against the incursion of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) into the realm of religious liberty. HHS has mandated that religious institutions, with only a narrow religious exception, must provide access to certain contraceptive benefits, even if the covered medications or procedures are contradictory to their beliefs. We who oppose the application of this mandate to religious institutions include not only the leaders of religious groups morally opposed to contraception, but also leaders of other religious groups that do not share that particular moral conviction. That we share an opposition to the mandate to religious institutions while disagreeing about specific moral teachings is a crucial fact. Religious freedom is the principle on which we stand. Because of differing understandings of moral and religious authority, people of good will can and often do come to different conclusions about moral questions. Yet, even we who hold differing convictions on specific moral issues are united in the conviction that no religious institution should be penalized for refusing to go against its beliefs. The issue is the First Amendment, not specific moral teachings or specific products or services.

The People’s Party praises this diverse range of religious leaders for their defense of the right of free exercise of religion protected by the First amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Those who do not have a moral conviction against contraception are wise to defend the right of free exercise of religion of those who do have a moral conviction against contraception. It is in the nature of liberty that one person can have it only when he defends the liberty of his fellow citizens as well as his own. likewise, one organization can have liberty only when it defends the liberty of other organizations operating in the same community, state, or nation.

The HHS mandate implicitly acknowledged that an incursion into religion is involved in the mandate. However, the narrowness of the proposed exemption is revealing for it applies only to religious organizations that serve or support their own members. In so doing, the government is establishing favored and disfavored religious organizations: a privatized religious organization that serves only itself is exempted from regulation, while one that believes it should also serve the public beyond its membership is denied a religious exemption. The so-called accommodation and the subsequent Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) do little or nothing to alleviate the problem. No government should tell religious organizations either what to believe or how to put their beliefs into practice. We indeed hold this to be an unalienable, constitutional right. If freedom of religion is a constitutional value to be protected, then institutions developed by religious groups to implement their core beliefs in education, in care for the sick or suffering, and in other tasks must also be protected. Only by doing so can the free exercise of religion have any meaning. The HHS mandate prevents this free exercise. For the well-being of our country, we oppose the application of the contraceptive mandate to religious institutions and plead for its retraction

The above listed religious leaders plead for the retraction of the contraceptive mandate on the grounds that the mandate encroaches on the free exercise of religion.  The People’s Party invites each citizen to ponder and pray about this important issue. We first ask this question. Why is there no representative of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints among those religious leaders who signed this open letter to all American?


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