For many months now, in the wake of the Affordable Care Act’s requirement for employers’ insurance policies to cover contraceptive drugs and services, the Catholic Church has taken vehement exception to this requirement. Churches themselves are exempt from the mandate, but the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) insists the requirement forces certain Catholic-affiliated entities (e.g., hospitals, universities, social service agencies) to violate their conscience, apparently on the assumption such entities share (or should share) the same religious objection as the church to contraception.
A February 2012 pastoral letter from Cardinal Timothy Dolan on the topic spoke of concern for “the reverence for conscience.” The following month another letter from Cardinal Dolan referred to the right “of any faith to define its own teaching” and the right of every person of faith to not be forced to “violate their conscience.” The April Statement on Religious Liberty issued by the USCCB asserted that religious freedom goes beyond freedom to worship and must also guarantee “respect for freedom of conscience.” The day after the presidential election, Cardinal Dolan wrote a letter to President Obama congratulating him on his victory while also reminding him, “We will continue to stand in defense of … our first, most cherished liberty, religious freedom [emphasis in original],” which presumably also includes, as the USCCB said, freedom of conscience.
Competing consciences? So it’s clear that the Catholic hierarchy, in pressing this issue, is claiming a deep and enduring moral certitude in its opposition to contraception. That’s what it means to say something is a matter of conscience. It seems equally clear the church is insisting there is both a personal and an institutional conscience to be safeguarded. For even though the church’s language frequently refers to the contraception mandate violating a person’s conscience, the Affordable Care Act certainly does not mandate any contraception usage by an individual. It merely requires only that contraceptives be made generally available by an institution. Yet this is what the church adamantly opposes, thereby ascribing conscience to the institution as well. One might even interpret that to mean the church believes institutional conscience overrides personal conscience, because the church’s position makes no exception to allow for contraception insurance to be provided to individuals in these institutions whose personal consciences would not be violated by it.
On the basis of claiming this institutional, conscientious opposition to contraception, the church now seeks to withhold contraceptive insurance coverage to persons who live beyond its own congregation walls. That’s an extraordinary contraction of individual freedom for the church to try to impose, so it is fair to ask: Is the church’s position here substantive and genuine enough to warrant that? Just how deeply conscientious is the church’s opposition to contraception? How morally urgent is it? Or to ask it in a more pointed way: Is this opposition more about conscience or about control?
A walk through history serves to confirm these are valid questions to ask. Continue reading →
I have been remiss in not writing to you sooner to thank you for the outstanding contributions you make to all citizens of our community. When one reaches their “golden years” and has worked to make a difference their entire lives, it becomes even more of a passion because of the passing of time.
I appreciate what you do from both a personal and professional standpoint. I have been employed as a speech-language pathologist for thirty-eight years, thirty-five of those in Colorado Springs School District 11. Over the course of my career I have had the opportunity to work with all populations and age groups from infants through the geriatric population. I have been an advocate for what is right for those who have challenges, for their families, caregivers, and those that support them in a therapeutic setting. While we have come far in what we recognize as “fair” by the Americans with a Disability Act, at times I see agencies doing things to avoid a lawsuit versus making a difference for another person. What you do as an agency is treat others as you would hope you, your family member, and friends would be treated. My mother used to say “The gift without the giver is bare.” Continue reading →
Frederick Douglass escapes Southern slavery, forges an alliance with Northern abolitionists, writes a narrative of his life & times, and after a two-year anti-slavery tour of the British Isles returns to the United States. But when his abolitionist colleagues attempt to curtail his growing political independence, Douglass is forced to confront racial prejudice in an entirely unexpected locale – among his abolitionist friends themselves. Through force of conviction, eloquence of language and the liberating power of thought, this anti-slavery leader and growing “woman’s rights man”, emerges triumphant, not only in his quest for personal and professional dignity, but in his general assault against the slavery system itself.
FREE TO SCHOOLS & THE PUBLIC 10:00-11:30AM on February 27, 2013
Stargazers Theatre and Event Center
RSVP to [email protected]
FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC 6:30-8:00PM on February 27, 2013
Stargazers Theatre and Event Center
Sandwiches, Snacks & Desserts available for purchase
RSVP [email protected] Space limited
Portrayed by: Charles Everett Pace is a full-time national Chautauqua scholar residing in Texarkana who presents solo interpretations of historical and literary characters. Thematically, his body of work tells the story of how African-American leaders during the last 190 years overcame many barriers of race, caste, class, and gender. His Civil War program on Douglass highlights the character’s personal and political relationship with President Abraham Lincoln. , Pace’s shows, seminars, and workshops are about creativity and leadership–the American quest for democracy.
Wednesday, February 27
6:30pm – registration & networking
7:00pm – program
Colorado College, Armstrong Hall – 14 E. Cache la Poudre more info
Tickets: $10 for adults and $5 for students (kids are free but must have tickets), may be purchased online at: http://rdf-ticketing.myshopify.com or in person at the Colorado College Worner Center or in person at EvolveFISH – 5744 N Academy Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO 80918 Continue reading →
This article examines the legal ramifications and significance of the issues surrounding the birth control battle between Federal law and the Catholic Church et al objections. It is not as simple as first presented and will certainly have long-lasting repercussions.
What is a precedent and how important is it?
A precedent is a court case’s legal decision that may be used as a standard in subsequent similar cases. Roe vs. Wade set a legal precedent and because of that court decision abortion became legal. Prior court case decisions are cited often in legal cases to demonstrate that their side is already on established ground and thus should win.
The approaching birth control-insurance coverage showdown will set a precedent that could dramatically shape this country going forward. But, the legal precedent that may be set has some serious ramifications that have gone largely unconsidered. We shall explore a few of those issues in this article.
Religious Exemption from law as a precedent
The Catholic Church (at last count there were well over forty separate legal actions) has filed legal responses to the requirement for insurance companies to cover the cost of birth control pills. This is the most common form of contraception and impacts all employees of Catholic hospitals and other Catholic enterprises or charities, whether the women are Catholic or not. The Catholic Church, is aggressively pushing for a religious exemption from this federal law that impacts a third party, insurance companies, to cover what is considered common preventative care. Continue reading →
All Peoples’ Breakfast: Honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center
825 N. Cascade Ave. (map)
The All Peoples’ Breakfast has become an annual Martin Luther King Day tradition in which citizens honor Dr. King’s legacy by coming together to eat and reflect on important civil and human rights issues of today. Friendship Baptist Youth Choir will sing, and the keynote talk, “Courageous Conversations to Courageous Action,”will be presented by Diann Rust-Tierney, the executive director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (NCADP).
Tickets are $7 at the door; limited seating.
Contact: Worner Desk
Phone: (719) 389-6607
Open to Public: Yes
$7 general public
Tickets: Available at the door.
Sponsored By: Colorado College, Colorado Springs Utilities, Colorado Springs Branch NAACP, Pikes Peak Justice & Peace Commission, Colorado Springs Diversity Forum, SGI-USA (Sokagakai International), and the Hooked on Books Bookstore.
Come celebrate the Year of the Snake at Colorado’s largest Chinese New Year Festival!
The Main Arena will feature local organizations linked to Chinese culture, vendors with items from throughout Asia, culinary selections from local Chinese & Asian restaurants, martial arts demonstrations & a kids zone.
A variety of cultural performances will be seen from the main stage throughout the day. The Tea House will feature various performances in a more intimate setting.
February 9, 2013, 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
City Auditorium, 221 East Kiowa St
Admission: $5.00 adult; $4.00 member