The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, which is comprised of the 65 canonical Orthodox bishops in the United States, Canada and Mexico, join their voices with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and all those who adamantly protest the recent decision by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, and call upon all the Orthodox Christian faithful to contact their elected representatives today to voice their concern in the face of this threat to the sanctity of the Church’s conscience.
In this ruling by HHS, religious hospitals, educational institutions, and other organizations will be required to pay for the full cost of contraceptives (including some abortion-inducing drugs) and sterilizations for their employees, regardless of the religious convictions of the employers.
The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion. This freedom is transgressed when a religious institution is required to pay for “contraceptive services” including abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization services that directly violate their religious convictions. Providing such services should not be regarded as mandated medical care. We, the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops, call upon HHS Secretary Sebelius and the Obama Administration to rescind this unjust ruling and to respect the religious freedom guaranteed all Americans by the First Amendment.
I believe it's a rare thing for the Orthodox Bishops to speak out against anything involving politics. It should speak volumes to what Obama has wrought.
And they join other faith groups who've voiced their opposition weeks ago:
... more than 40 non-Catholic religious organizations including Protestant-affiliated colleges, National Association of Evangelicals, Focus on the Family, Assemblies of God, Northwest Nazarene University, and Eastern Mennonite University, sent a letter to the White House demanding religious protection against the newly issued HHS contraceptive mandate.
“We write not in opposition to Catholic leaders and organizations. We write in solidarity.” Says the coalition letter. “Leaders of other faiths are also deeply troubled by and opposed to the mandate and the narrow exemption.”
“We are all deeply concerned about the narrow exemption, including proposals made to expand it while still leaving unprotected many faith-based organizations.” The letter continues, “We believe that the Federal government is obligated by the First Amendment to accommodate the religious convictions of faith-based organizations of all kinds, Catholic and non-Catholic.”
Obama, a uniter, not a divider.
H/T to Phineas at Sister Todjah.
And if you're feeling inclined to do something about it, sign Frank Weather's petition.