Christian Associates of Southwestern PA issued a joint statement this past April on the “Preventive Services Mandate” portion of the national healthcare bill. The joint statement says, in part, that the Mandate “requires faith-based entities that provide health insurance to facilitate access to specific preventive services, even if they consider some of those services incompatible with the practice of their faith.” It speaks of “a common commitment to the right of religious freedom” we share as Americans regardless of differences of opinion on political matters.
While it is not spelled out in the statement, the major sticking point in the Mandate is the requirement that Catholic and other faith-based charities provide abortion and contraceptive services to employees via their health insurance, which would be a clear violation of religious beliefs and practices for many people of faith.
The joint statement received extremely broad support, as shown by the signatures of leaders of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, Kiskiminetas Presbytery, Allegheny-Scranton African Methodist Episcopal District, Pittsburgh Presbytery, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Greensburg, the Southwestern PA Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, Christian Associates, United Churches of Christ, the Byzantine Catholic Archeparchy of Pittsburgh, Beaver-Butler Presbytery, Pittsburgh Baptist Association, the Orthodox Church in America, Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, and Disciples of Christ Churches.
The joint statement calls on the federal government to “broaden the religious exemption… so that both the constitutional right to the free exercise of religion… and the moral imperative of healthcare… may not be impaired.”
The full text of the joint statement and accompanying press release may be found here.
The press release having been sent in mid-April, this is not breaking news, but as it was reprinted in the June issue of The Call (the newsletter of the Christian Associates of Southwest Pennsylvania) I wanted to mention it. There are times when I have been critical of CASP for not taking strong stands on Biblical issues, so I am delighted to report this time they have not only taken a stand but have been the rallying point for an interdenominational statement that is all too rare among church leaders today.