My Dear People:
In April of this year the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops published a statement titled “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty,” a statement on religious liberty. That statement is a response to the continuing encroachment on religious liberty by the government and, in particular, recent actions taken by the Health and Human Services Department in its mandate regarding provision in nearly all health insurance plans coverage of contraception, sterilization, and abortion inducing drugs. This mandate from HHS is unprecedented and the federal government is attempting to force religious institutions to facilitate and fund something contrary to their own religious and moral teaching. The HHS is also reserving to itself the right to define which religious institutions are religious enough to merit protection of their religious liberties.