Terry Jeffrey

Obama's regulation, Archbishop Broglio said, "strikes at the fundamental right to religious liberty for all citizens of any faith."

"It is a blow to a freedom that you have fought to defend and for which you have seen your buddies fall in battle," the archbishop told the troops.

"We cannot -- we will not -- comply with this unjust law," he said.

Many other bishops said these exact words in letters to their own dioceses: "We cannot -- we will not -- comply with this unjust law."

In June 2012, the U.S. Catholic bishops unanimously endorsed a statement declaring the regulation an "unjust and illegal mandate" and "a violation of personal civil rights."

This year, when the Obama administration released a draft of the final version of the regulation, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops sent formal comments to HHS.

"In short," said the bishops, "the administration continues to propose: (a) an unjust and unlawful mandate," that offers "(b) no exemption or 'accommodation' at all for most stakeholders in the health insurance process, such as individual employees and for profit employers."

Last week, Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston and Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore wrote a letter to all members of Congress.

"We are writing once again, as chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities and Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, on an increasingly grave concern to our Church and many others: Preserving religious freedom and the right of conscience for all who take part in our health care system," the bishops said.

"A particular threat is the administration's mandate for covering contraception, sterilization and related education and counseling as 'preventive services for enrollees and their minor daughters," said the bishops. "The mandate includes drugs and devices that can act against human life after fertilization, implicating our moral teaching on abortion as well as contraception."

"Nor should individual Catholics or others be told they cannot legally purchase or provide health coverage unless they violate their conscience," said the bishops.

The bishops have endorsed legislation -- the Health Care Conscience Rights Act -- that says no Obamacare regulation can force an employer, insurer or individual to buy or provide coverage for an item to which they have a moral or religious objection.

"As Congress considers a continuing resolution and debt ceiling bill in the days to come," the bishops said, "we reaffirm the vital importance of incorporating the policy of this bill into such 'must-pass' legislation."

The CR the House passed on Sunday did include language that would have created the conscience protection the bishops sought -- at least through Jan. 1, 2015. But when the Senate rejected that CR, the Republican leadership stripped the conscience-protection language from the version of the CR the House passed Monday.

Now neither party in either the House or Senate is seeking to protect the freedom of conscience from Obama's tyrannical regulation.

Starting now, on Obama's presumed unilateral authority, American Catholics will be prohibited from practicing their faith in the way they live their daily lives.

Terry Jeffrey

Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSNews

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