Atlanta Archbishop William Gregory decried a federal mandate compelling church-affiliated employers to provide health insurance that covers contraceptive services as an attack on religious freedom. And Gregory is urging his Roman Catholic flock to press elected officials to overturn the mandate.
In a letter that parish priests read to their congregations throughout the archdiocese on Sunday, Gregory decried the mandate as a "direct attack on our religious freedom and our First Amendment rights,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution
Under the new rule, health insurance would have to cover birth control and sterilization. The mandate, which goes into effect Aug. 1, 2013, does not apply directly to churches, but will affect affiliate colleges, hospitals, and social service agencies.
“Unless the rule is overturned, we Catholics will be compelled either to violate our consciences, or to drop health coverage for our employees [and suffer the penalties for doing so]," Gregory’s letter said.
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