Church leaders continued their fight with the Obama administration Sunday over contraception policy in multiple appearances on television news programs, according to The Washington Post
Appearing on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan said, “We didn’t ask for the fight, but we’re not going to back away from it,” referring to the administration’s requirement that health insurance programs cover birth control for employees of religious institutions.
“You’ve got a dramatic, radical intrusion of a government bureaucracy into the internal life of the church,” Dolan told host Bob Schieffer. “Our problem is the government is intruding into the life of faith in the church that they shouldn’t be doing.”
Meanwhile, over on NBC’s Meet the Press, Bishop William Lori, archbiship-designate of Baltimore, agreed with Dolan, the Post reported.
“What we’ve seen is an erosion of religious liberty,” Lori said. “Our teachings had been accommodated, but now they are not being accommodated.”
Joining the Catholic leaders in their criticism of the Obama administration were other religious figures, including Anne Graham Lotz, the daughter of evangelist Billy Graham, and pastor and author Rick Warren.
Both questioned whether government has the right to impose requirements on churches and religious institutions, even though the administration policy has been changed so that the insurance company is required to provide birth control coverage and not the employer, the Post reported.
Warren said on ABC’s “This Week” the question is, “Do you have a right to decide what your faith practices?”
“Now I don’t have a problem with contraception,” he added. “I’m an evangelical. But I do support my Catholic brothers and sisters who believe what they want to believe.”
Despite the change in the healthcare requirement, Dolan insisted it still puts religious institutions in “a very tough spot.”
But in defense of the administration policy, Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri, a Methodist minister who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus, said it was wrong for conservatives to depict the contraception policy as a “war on religion,” the Post reports.
“We’ve gone way too far with all of this, ‘the president has declared war on religion.’ ” Cleaver said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “The Chinese have declared war on religion. The Iranians have declared war on religion. And I think when we exaggerate things like that, it further polarizes the country.”
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