Recently a Human Health Services (HHS) edict was issued demanding that sterilization, abortions/ abortifacients (abortion inducing drugs) and contraception to be covered in a health care plan that is mandatory for almost all U.S. citizens to purchase.  This is an unprecedented attack on our First Amendment Rights, rights that are endowed by God and upheld by law under the Constitution of the United States of America.

As young Catholics we are sometimes unsure of where we stand on issues concerning politics.  It is important that we are rooted in our identity as a person that belongs to Christ first before anything else.  As Americans we are fortunate enough to have a document that recognizes that our rights are established by God and they are unalienable.  There are not many countries in the world that enjoy this liberty.

Bill of Rights: First Amendment

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

The First Amendment establishes a few main things for American citizens.  It establishes that there shall no official state sponsored Church, like the Church of England.  It goes on in the same sentence that the government does not have a right to prohibit the free exercise of religion in the same sentence.  Freedom of speech, press, peaceful assembly and petitioning the government are also protected.  “Congress shall make no law” against these things mentioned.

The second part of this sentence is where the United States Government under the directive of the HHS breaks Constitutional law and violates our moral standards.  It is an injustice for people to be forced to buy a health care plan that includes the forced funding for the degradation of life on all levels.  The reason for an existence of any government, especially our own, is to be at the service of the human person in providing for the general welfare of the common good, and the end does not justify the means.  In other words, the government violates the common good by not protecting the dignity of the human person and forcing its citizens to render their moral conscience useless through mandatory purchasing of a service. It is unconstitutional to force a person to purchase something to begin with, let alone forcing people to purchase something that violates his/her moral conscience.  Young Catholics we are called to action!

So, what do we do?  The answer is to be obedient to our Bishop.  Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted wrote a letter to the faithful on January 25, 2012.  If you were at mass this past weekend you would have herd it.  Our Bishop gives us direction in this matter,

Therefore, I would ask of you two things. First, commit ourselves to prayer and fasting that wisdom and justice may prevail, and religious liberty may be restored. Pray the rosary, asking Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Patroness of our Nation, to intercede for us. Without God, we can do nothing; with God, nothing is impossible. Second, I recommend visiting http://www.usccb.org/conscience, to learn more about this severe assault on religious liberty, and how to contact Congress in support of legislation that would reverse the Administration’s decision.

It is time that we become prayerful, educated and vocal.  As Catholics, we have the power and duty to influence those whom govern our country.  Remain in prayer and keep your eyes focused on Christ.

If you want more information about the issue visit the “Religious Freedom” tab to read Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted’s full letter to the Diocese of Phoenix.  Also visit www.usccb.org/conscience.

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