February 14, 2012
American Magazine: Catholic offensive on Capitol Hill
by Kevin Clarke
More than 500 Catholic activists from diocesan peace and justice and Catholic Charities offices across the country in Washington this week for the annual Catholic Social Ministry Gathering are on their way this afternoon to Capitol Hill. They will be highlighting the domestic and international policy concerns of the U.S. Catholic bishops in conversations with their home senators and house members. This time, in addition to what have become annual appeals to protect discretionary spending for unemployment benefits, foreign aid and other domestic and international discretionary spending that have become regular targets of budget hawks, the gathering’s impromptu activist army will be pushing back against what the bishop’s perceive as unconstitutional intrusion by the Obama administration on religious liberty. That conflict began in August after the release of an “interim” requirement from the Department of Health and Human Services for mandatory women’s preventive services included contraception coverage and offered a narrow conscience exemption for religious employers.
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