Catholics challenge federal mandate

ATLANTA -- The Archdiocese of Atlanta has placed itself squarely in the midst of a national fight over what it believes is an attack against religious freedom during a hotly contested election.

 

The archdiocese recently filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and other federal agencies over the birth control insurance mandate.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the lawsuit is among a dozen or so that have recently been filed in federal courts across the nation, in what some experts see as a strategy to ensure the issue winds up in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Leading the legal challenge here is Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, 64, whom many describe as a deliberate thinker and a person able to work with different groups, yet not afraid to stand his ground. Other plaintiffs include the Diocese of Savannah, Catholic Charities Atlanta and Christ the King Catholic School.

“This isn’t a disagreement over whether sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs or contraception are morally good or bad — we’ve had those disagreements for years without getting into religious freedom,” said Gregory, who was appointed Atlanta’s sixth archbishop in 2004 by Pope John Paul II. “For two generations, people have been free to do these things — and they still are and will be, regardless of how the case turns out — but we’ve never before been forced by government to help them do it. The difference now is that the federal government is trying to force people who take the minority view on these controversial questions to act in violation of their moral and religious beliefs or face the punishment of law."

he difference now is that the federal government is trying to force people who take the minority view on these controversial questions to act in violation of their moral and religious beliefs or face the punishment of law.”

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