Red-white-and-blue cupcakes? Check. Chocolate-dipped firecracker pretzels? Check. Volleyball and frisbee? Check. Blanket for watching fireworks? Check. 90-degree weather? Check!
I love this holiday. Love it. Love it. Love it. But more than that, I love this country. Fiercely. What we were founded on, what we stand for, the diversity of the land and the people..It is truly “America the Beautiful.”
But I love this beautiful America too much to sit by quietly as the government threatens to uproot her foundational value of freedom.
As the Fortnight for Freedom draws to a close tomorrow on the 4th of July, the need for prayer and fasting and speaking up is far from over. If you are feeling confused by the jumble of terms and opinions and deciphering what it all means (Read a 900+ page bill? Really?), here are twelve things you should know about the HHS mandate within the Affordable Care Act approved by the Supreme Court this week (Obamacare--not cool).
For more information, visit this page for religious liberty on United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website; there is a wealth of great, understandable information on there. Yay for our bishops!
*All bold below is from Twelve Things Everyone Should Know About the "Contraceptive Mandate." Italics are my own comments.
1. The mandate forces coverage of sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs and devices as well as contraception. I work at a Catholic hospital and before was proud and blessed by their refusal for these services; it angers and sickens me to see the mandate attemping to change that.
2. The mandate does not exempt Catholic charities, schools, universities, or hospitals. Charities! Can you believe that?!
3. The mandate forces these institutions and others, against their conscience, to pay for and facilitate things they consider immoral.
4. The federal mandate is much more sweeping than existing state mandates. And it overrides many of the state laws and exemptions already in place.
5. Many others have joined the Catholic bishops in speaking out against the mandate. Discuss these issues with your Protestant sisters and brothers! We need their support as well!
6. The rule that created the uproar has not changed at all, but was finalized as is.
7. The proposed "accomodation" is not a current rule, but a promise that comes due beyond the point of public accountability. They are conveniently waiting to develop these accomodations until after November elections...
8. In its March 21 Advance Notice, HHS makes it clear that even the "accomodation" will do nothing to help objecting insurers, objecting employers that are not "religious" as defined by HHS, or individuals.
9. Even religious charities, schools, and hospitals that do qualify for the "accomodation" will still be forced to violate their beliefs.
10. The "women's health" claims behind the mandate are doubtful at best. It's not about women's health, because pregnancy is not a disease. 'Preventative care' should not include preventing pregnancy with contraception because it messes with God's beautiful plan for life-giving, love-giving sex.
11. This is not about any legitimate medical use for hormonal or other drugs. The Catholic Church allows hormonal medications if needed for serious medical reasons other than contraception. The Catholic Church is not interfering with Americans being able to use them for such reasons.
12. Beware of claims, especially by partisans, that the Catholic bishops are partisan. It's not about Republican vs. Democrat. It's about Divine Law, religious liberty, and the sanctity of life. Period.
So what can we do, girls, in the midst of this? We can pray, fast, and speak up. The U.S. bishops designated these past two weeks as the Fortnight for Freedom, calling it a "great hymn of prayer for our country" and asking us to devote it to "prayer, study, catechesis, and public action to emphasize both our Christian and American heritage of liberty."
How have you joined in the Fortnight for Freedom? What thoughts do you have on the Catholic young woman's role as a citizen?
Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of America, pray for us!