“violative of the religious liberty assured us by the first amendment to our Constitution”

The Bishop of St. Petersburg in Florida weighs in on Obamacare and the consequences it will have on his diocese:

SebeliusThe Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida will be forced to end health insurance coverage for its 2,300 employees if the Obama administration presses forward with its plan to force Catholic employers to cover contraceptives and abortifacients, insisted Bishop Robert Lynch on Wednesday.

“For the first time in my adult life, I foresee the possibility of some form of civil disobedience and I am extremely uncomfortable at even the hint of such a thing,” the bishop told the lawyers and judges gathered for the annual Red Mass in Tampa Bay.

“If they fail to shift in their present positions, then 2300 employees of the Diocese of St. Petersburg will lose their health care coverage which they have come to treasure and rely upon,” he said.

The bishop explained that if they were forced to do so, the diocese would give its employees the funds that would have gone to the insurance plan to put towards their own private coverage.

He said the diocese’s health plan at present covers “almost everything,” but excludes contraceptives, abortifacients, and sexual enhancements like Viagra.

In a blog post Thursday commenting on his homily, the bishop explained that the HHS mandate is “violative of the religious liberty assured us by the first amendment to our Constitution and also of our personal moral consciences.”

He said that while the mandate currently has an exemption for Catholics employed by a Catholic organization, the employer would still be required to provide objectionable services to non-Catholic employees.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has argued that the religious exemption is so narrow that it excludes most Catholic social service agencies, healthcare providers, and other institutions.

Bishop Lynch noted also that because the diocese is self-insured, it is deemed an insurance company and so even it would not qualify for any exemptions.

At what point will Americans see the threat to religious liberty posed by this administration?  What will it take?

Wake the hell up people.

H/T Mark Shea.

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  • herddog505

    This is nothing but a bishop being a lobbyist again.  He should call SanFran Nan and she’ll set him straight.  He needs to remember that, with regard to abortion, Catholics have complete freedom of conscience to agree that abortion is not sinful and that the Church has no right to say otherwise.

    / sarc

    Rick RiceAt what point will Americans see the threat to religious liberty posed by this administration?  What will it take?

    It’s not just this administration: it’s the left generally.  In their view, religion is a tolerable though completely undesirable facet of a person’s PERSONAL life; it should not at all influence his public life.  Religious institutions are completely unacceptable as they compete with Government as the arbiter of public life.

    This view is behind the constant assault on religion – especially the (majority) Christian religion – in our country.  The assault takes many forms, ranging from mere ridicule of the devout as “Jesus freaks” and “Bible thumpers” to open criticism by political leaders to groundless accusations against the devout as would-be theocrats and terrorists.

    It’s been said that the slickest move the devil ever made was convicing people that he doesn’t exist.  I suggest that he’s done one better: he’s convincing people that God is the bad guy.

  • Anonymous

    Liberals will throw a hissy fit.  “How dare they have rules they actually LIVE by!  Don’t they know that ‘everything is relative’?

  • jim_m

    The bishop explained that if they were forced to do so, the diocese
    would give its employees the funds that would have gone to the insurance
    plan to put towards their own private coverage.

    Exactly what the admin wants.  Get rid of he employer sponsored plans and force people into the government option.  People will be offered little choice as he government option will be far less expensive (it can run a deficit and is funded by taxpayers) than any plan you can find on your own.

    If the Bishop knows what’s good for him he will stick to his guns and fight this.  Once they succeed in forcing most people onto the government option they will then start dictating what services must be offered.  I guarantee you that one of the first things is that health care providers must offer abortions.

    The long term choice for the Catholic Church is fight this now or close your hospitals later,

    • Clay

      This is the one. We cannot walk past this hill, it is the one on which to die.

    • retired.military

      But but you can keep your current plan under Obamacare –  Yeah right

    • Anonymous

      Umm, WHAT “government option,” Jim?  There is no government option.

      • If ObamaCare isn’t repealed, there will be, and you know it, because the law will force private carriers out of the business – just as it intended.

        • Stephen

          And Obama is a Muslim born in Kenya. Cause Adjoran and Trump say so…

          • retired.military

            Hey if you agree with them that is your business.

      • jim_m

        There is no government option.

        I agree.  A government run health system really is not an option.  Never-the-less that is what obama has promised us and that, as Adjoran has pointed out, is the intent of obamacare.

    • retired.military

      I wish the Catholic churce would come out with a clear edict.  Either change Obamacare to reflect that  if changes are not made in Obamacare to reflect views of various religions than all Catholic hospitals will close prior to Oct 2011.  Lets see how fast Obama backtracks on it.

      • Anonymous

        It will be the inner city and immigrant poor that will be hurt the most if Catholic hospitals and ERs close their doors.  Go to somewhere like Camden NJ and shut down Our Lady of Lourdes, and watch the debacle unfold…

        • retired.military

          What do you think is going to happen when hospitals are forced to perform abortions?

          The Catholic Church will not stand for it.  

          They will do a partial or full shutdown of health care services in the US.  Mayhe will ensue.   Of course that may be what Obama wants.  Then he can try to institute marshall law and continue to shred the constitution.

  • Anonymous

    I must confess, Obama and his minions are ASSHOLES!! However, I am not catholic, so my confession should remain in the closet!


  • I agree Clay.  Americans face many problems brought to us by liberal policies down through the decades.  Obamacare is the last straw if not taken off the books.  It impacts our economy and freedom in ways that cannot be reversed without great suffering.  Progressives(the communists among us) know this is the lynchpin of their agenda.  I do not know if there are enough patriots in power to stop them.

    • Anonymous

      They may not be in power, but they are definitely out here in flyover country.

  • Stephen

    You can’t satisfy all of the religious cults out there. There’s going to be some fringe elements that just can’t adapt.

    It’s freedom of choice. Those who choose to live by the rules of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida do so of their own choosing.

    • Anonymous

      It isn’t our job to ‘satisfy’ anything. That comes from within.

    • jim_m

      You can’t satisfy all of the religious cults out there. There’s going to be some fringe elements that just can’t adapt.

      Yeah, what with 68.5 Million Roman Catholics in the US you can’t get much more fringe than that.  I mean, who really gives a rip about the religious freedom of 1/5th of the nation?  Screw ’em!


      We spend more time trying to placate the scientologists (who are a cult) and crapping on the Catholics and Christians because the left hates people with moral standards (ok, they like the muslims, but that is really more because they are afraid to tell them what they really think because they know that they will be first in line for beheading when the islamofascists take over.  The left just wants to make sure that they can push a few people into the line ahead of themselves)

      • Stephen

        How disingenuous (means “lying”) to suggest this problem effects all 68.5 million Roman Catholics.

        It only effects this one cult, and there is a waiver in place for the cults employees who are catholic, so we’re only talking about the non-catholic employees who choose to work for this particular cult.

        They choose to work there — they can choose not to. I’d never work for religious extremists myself. and this issue illustrates a very good reason that its a very bad idea to associate with extremists.

        • jim_m

          You are still calling Roman Catholicism a cult, which it is not.  And while your implication that not all Catholics obey the church’s teachings on contraception etc, that does not mean that they are OK with the government telling the church what to do.

          What you are demanding is that people violate their sincerely held religious belief to pay for something they consider to be murder.  I don’t know what you are thinking that we are talking about.  The issue is not about whether the employee is non-Catholic, it is about forcing the church to pay for and therefore promote what it considers a mortal sin.

          I will agree with your last statement:  If having a health plan that pays for abortions is that important to the employee, they should find another employer.

          • Stephen

            No, I’m saying this particular cult/diocese is the problem.

            “He said that while the mandate currently has an exemption for Catholics employed by a Catholic organization, the employer would still be required to provide objectionable services to non-Catholic employees.”

            So the problem isn’t the catholic employees of this catholic employer – the waiver covers them – the problem is that this cult has decided that the non-catholic employees should not receive the benefits mandated by the government for all citizens (except those covered by the aforementioned waiver).

            Non-catholic employees must live within the cult’s rules – even though the US Constitution gives them freedom of religion – their choice of working for this particular cult means they will be without health care insurance — all because this cult has decided it can’t provide that which is required by law.

            Yes, they should find another employer.

          • jim_m

            You are a moron.You clearly cannot read with any comprehension.

            The issue is not the employees it is the employer.  The employer is the church.  The law will force the church to pay for something it considers murder.  It is not about a specific diocese, this belief is held by the Roman Catholic Church worldwide.

            You are an ignorant ass.

          • retired.military

            Stephen –  ignorant ass 

            but then again Irepeat yourself.

            Obamacare dictates abortion will be performed at health care facilities and by personnel who are Catholic. The Catholic church will not stand for it. They will either curtail services or close hospitals.

          • jim_m


            Repeated for emphasis perhaps?

        • herddog505

          Are you SERIOUSLY referring to a Diocese of the Catholic Church as “a cult”???

          • retired.military

            No he is referring to the entire Catholic faith as a cult.

    • retired.military

      no the freedome of choice got taken away with Obamacare.  The constitution states that Congress shall abide no law which interferes with freedom of religion.  This obviously does.  If Obamacare said you had to eat pork then I bet an exception would be made for Muslims.

      Obama stated specifically you can keep your own healthcare and this shows that to be the lie that it is.

      If you wish to talk about cults try talking about global warming.

      • Stephen

        Nothing has been done to abridge anyone’s freedom of religion.

        But if you choose this particular cult you’ll have to live with the cults rules…

        • jim_m

          Are you some kind of moron?  What about forcing the Catholic church to pay for abortions do you think is not violating their faith?

          And stop calling it a cult you asshole.  I’m not even Catholic but I find it extremely offensive.

          • Stephen

            This cult has decided that they can’t follow the laws of this country.

            They still have freedom of choice. They can choose this religion and follow its tenets, or they can choose another religion.

            According to this article, the problem is only effecting the non-catholic employees of this particular diocese.

          • jim_m

            Go read the Constitution asshole.  It guarantees the freedom to exercise your religion.  It guarantees that the government will not interfere with the exercise of that religion. 

            This law does not provide any exemption for churches or church run organizations, therefore it is interfering with the freedom of religious expression by the church itself.

            This is about you and your anti Catholic bigotry.  plain and simple.

          • retired.military

            YOu are a true moron

            you stated above

            “Nothing has been done to abridge anyone’s freedom of religion. ”

            yet you say
            “This cult has decided that they can’t follow the laws of this country.”

            Once again I quote the constitution

            “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”
            yet again you siad

            “This cult has decided that they can’t follow the laws of this country.”

            If you cant see that those statements are contrary than you are more of a moron that I thought.

            Also if you think this diochese is an exception that you are not only an idiot but delusional.

          • retired.military

            this administration has chosen and deliberately so to try to force their beliefs on Catholics and have Catholics follow those beliefs and practises.   It is infringing upon the freedom of religion.  The Catholic Church will not abide by it.  It will not change its stance on abortion.   Obama may want a confrontation but I doubt he can stomach the fight he will get.

            “YOu can keep the healthcare plan you currently have”  – Obama

            “Let them find other jobs if thye dont like it ”  – Stephen.

            THe left doesnt seem to intent upon following the law when it comes to the OWS crowd. In fact Stephen and Chico admandtly defend their breaking the law. Yet Stephen now insists that people comply with the law even if violates their religion.

        • Anonymous

          and the screws begin to turn……

        • retired.military

          Under Obamacare Catholic healthcare workers will be obliged to perform abortions.  This is a known fact.  In addition, Catholic hospitals will be obligated to perform abortions.   In short IT WONT HAPPEN. 

          I am a practising Catholic and glad to be one.  You wish to follow the cult of liberalism.  So be it.

    • The cult that concerns me is the atheist Marxist cult which controls the Democratic Party, the White House, the United States Senate, the bureaucracy, and far too many judicial circuits.

  • Anonymous

    I’m Catholic and I agree with jim_m, it is offensive to the extreme.  Stepephen is generally offensive.  He and others like him count on Christians to continually turn the other cheek.  That’s coming to an end with this issue.

  • retired.military

    Why is it that when OWS breaks the law Stephen thinks it is great.  But when Catholics asks for their constitution rights under the law than he says they should “Follow the law”

    Inquiring minds want to know especially since freedom of religion is listed BEFORE the freedom of speech in the 1st Admendment.

    • jim_m

      I’ll say it again:

      For the left the law is something you make your enemies follow.  It isn’t something that you are supposed to obey yourself.

  • retired.military

    Just FYI for folks who actually care about holding down health care costs.

    By 2005,  there were over 615 Catholic hospitals, some 400 healthcare centers, and over 1,500 specialized healthcare homes. These facilities employ almost 600,000 employees and accounted for more than 20% of all hospital admissions. And this is just the Catholic oriented healthcare facilities

    What do you think will happen to healthcare costs  if the Catholic Church gets out of the health care business?  Not to mention all the unreimbursed money that the Catholic Church spends caring for the sick and poor.

    Liberals want Cuban style health care for everyone. This is one way to get it.

    • jim_m

      Just FYI for folks who actually care about holding down health care costs.

      Well it sure as heck isn’t the state run facilities that care about costs.  In 2000-2001 they were building the new Cook Co hospital in Chicago. The county decided that they would get all new equipment for the hospital.  Nothing would be brought over from the old institution that was more than a year or so old.  I got a call from the broker who had been designated to purchase their lab equipment.  They needed to place an order for two pieces of equipment. The broker asked for the quotes at list, over which they added their own mark up.  All new equipment (mostly unnecessary) and all at inflated costs.  I’m sure that broker was politically connected.  They didn’t give a damn about how much anything cost.

      Contrast that to Loyola University Medical Center, which is one of the stingiest hospitals in the state.  I’ve seen them go to great lengths to save a few bucks.  They cut a multi-year deal with the local blood center for blood that guaranteed them insanely low prices.  And it’s not just hard negotiations I have seen them develop innovative ways of doing things that provide not only cost savings but better care as well.

      Guess which hospital gives the better quality care.  It’s not the one taking the tax payers for a ride.

      I’m sure obama’s plan is to use eminent domain to seize hospitals that close and to force them to remain open under state control. Hospitals under obama will end up as warehouses for the dying.

      • retired.military

        Well he can reopen them but the practising Catholic staff will not take part in abortions.  Also do you think the other major faiths are going to stand for the Catholics to get abused?   After the catholics then who is next?  The mormons?  The Baptists?  The Protestants?

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