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Catholic Leader Rejects US Bishops’ Orwellian Interpretation of Religious Freedom

July 3, 2013

Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice, rejected the open letter issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and its conservative allies about employer coverage of contraception. “If ever we needed proof that the bishops’ agenda had nothing to do with religious freedom, this document proves it. While they pretend to cherish freedom of religion, in reality they are advancing a political mission to impose their views on everybody. The bishops want to make healthcare decisions, marriage decisions and lifestyle decisions for all Americans. And they want the government to change the rules to assist the bishops in doing so. George Orwell would be proud of them.”

O’Brien continued, “The bishops’ escalating demands should be a lesson to the Obama administration that it will never be able to placate extremist religious views—and it should stop trying. The government’s attempt to make a deal with the bishops about contraceptive coverage was doomed from the start because conciliation doesn’t work with people who want to hold all the cards, as the bishops claim the right to do.

“The list of signatories on the letter indicates that this initiative is really about political posturing, pure and simple. These groups are not interested in respecting the conscience-based decisions of individuals; they want to impose their narrow, ultraconservative vision on society, and they don’t care whose rights they trample on in doing so.”