Day 6: Interfaith Novena to Stop the HHS Mandate

Posted by Eric Scheidler (June 4, 2012 at 5:45 am)

Sermon on the MountWe’re now in the final days running up to the big June 8 Nationwide Rally for Religious Freedom, taking place in over 150 cities across the United States.

Please join me in praying this special “Novena to Reverse the HHS Mandate,” now on day 6. If you’ve missed the previous 5 days of this 9-day prayer sequence, go ahead an join in now—remember the workers in the vinyard!

Scroll down for the previous days’ prayers, or find them listed here.

Novena to Reverse HHS Mandate: Day 6

Father, You unite the human family
through the blood of Your Son Jesus Christ
and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

At this time of need,
when Your Church and all Your people
are called to stand firm against injustices
inflicted on us from our government,
we ask You to strengthen us in the bond of unity.

Strengthen the unity of Your Church,
that none of Your faithful may be on the sidelines,
but that everyone may be active in this battle.

Give Church leaders the grace to discern
the many varieties of the working of Your Spirit
that they may fan into flame the gifts that the Spirit
bestows freely on Your people.

And give us the wisdom to know
that no group has a monopoly on the defense of life and freedom.
May we work in an ecumenical and inter-religious spirit
and welcome the efforts of all people of good will
who believe in freedom of religion and conscience.

We pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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5 Responses to “Day 6: Interfaith Novena to Stop the HHS Mandate”

  1. Doug Indeap says:

    Arguments that the health care law infringes religious liberty are largely predicated on a big lie. Notwithstanding the bishops’ arm waving about religious liberty, the law does not force employers to act contrary to their consciences.

    Many initially worked themselves into a lather with the false idea that the law forces employers to provide their employees with health care plans offering services the employers consider immoral. The fact is that employers have the option of not providing any such plans and instead simply paying assessments to the government (which, by the way, would generally amount to far less than the cost of health plans). Unless one supposes that the employers’ religion forbids payments of money to the government (all of us should enjoy such a religion), then the law’s requirement to pay assessments does not compel those employers to act contrary to their beliefs. Problem solved.

    Some nonetheless have continued clamoring for such an exemption, complaining that by paying assessments to the government they would indirectly be paying for the very things they opposed. They seemingly missed that that is not a moral dilemma justifying an exemption to avoid being forced to act contrary to one’s beliefs, but rather is a gripe common to many taxpayers–who don’t much like paying taxes and who object to this or that action the government may take with the benefit of “their” tax dollars. Should each of us be exempted from paying our taxes so we aren’t thereby “forced” to pay for making war, providing health care, teaching evolution, or whatever else each of us may consider wrong or even immoral?

    In any event, those complaining made enough of a stink that the government relented and announced that religious employers would be free to provide health plans with provisions to their liking (yay!) and not be required to pay the assessments otherwise required (yay!). Problem solved–again, even more.

    Nonetheless, some continue to complain, fretting that somehow the services they dislike will get paid for and somehow they will be complicit in that. They argue that if insurers or employees pay for such services, those costs will somehow, someday be passed on to the employers in the form of demands for higher insurance premiums or higher wages. They evidently believe that when they spend a dollar and it thus becomes the property of others, they nonetheless should have some say in how others later spend that dollar. One can only wonder how it would work if all of us could tag “our” dollars this way and control their subsequent use.

    The bishops are coming across more and more as just another special interest group with a big lobbying operation and a big budget—one, moreover, that is not above stretching the truth.

    June 5th, 2012 at 1:40 am
  2. Arimathean says:

    Doug Indeap has accurately conveyed the talking points of the Obama administration. But it mostly false. I still do not understand whether this is just deceitful propaganda or if he and his ilk actually believe all of these untruths they repeat.

    The clear fact is that in order to comply with the law, an employer must pay for certain health services including sterilization procedures and the “morning-after” pill, which induces abortion. The supposed accommodation offered by the Obama administration, which would have the insurer pay for the service instead of the employer, means nothing to all of those large religious institutions that are self-insured, since they are insurers as well as employers.

    Indeap argues that employers can simply abdicate the responsibility of providing insurance to the government. But why should the private sector have to shrink itself and facilitate the growth of government? The encroachment of Big (and ever bigger) Government in the lives of citizens is a problem in itself. The growth of government shrinks the space left over for individuals and civil society, including religion. We cannot help but suspect that this is the actual goal of the Obama administration.

    If the Obama administration really believes that these women’s health services save more money than they cost, why doesn’t it just offer free contraception, etc., directly at its own expense? The fact that it is trying to force churches to serve as middlemen in this process suggests there is another agenda at work here: the administraton is intentionally trying to narrow the definition of what constitutes “religion” in order to expand its own field of action. Whether this is its intention or not, this would clearly be the effect.

    June 5th, 2012 at 8:58 pm
  3. Doug Indeap says:


    I well understand that you, and the bishops, disagree with the policy of the new health law. That is fine. My objection is that the bishops are dressing up their policy disagreement as an attack on religious liberty predicated on the false assertion that the law forces employers to act contrary to their consciences. It does not, as you can confirm simply by looking it up (as they say).

    June 8th, 2012 at 1:27 am
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