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Commonweal June 15, 2012 Issue: The Bishops and Religious Liberty

Commonweal June 15, 2012 Issue: The Bishops and Religious Liberty

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Published by CommonwealMagazine
Commonweal's June 15, 2012 issue includes a six-article special report evaluating the U.S. Catholic Bishops' "Fortnight for Freedom" campaign, and their statement on religious freedom, "Our First, Most Cherished Liberty."

ABOUT COMMONWEAL
Commonweal’s mission is to provide a forum for civil, reasoned debate on the interaction of faith with contemporary politics and culture. Read by a passionate audience of educated, committed Catholics, as well as readers from many other faith traditions, Commonweal presents well-argued, respectful points of view from across the ideological spectrum. In an often contentiously divided Catholic church and secular culture, our status as an independent, lay-run journal of opinion encourages conversations that can be difficult in other settings.

Commonweal is published 22 times a year in print, and also operates a continuously updated Web site at www.commonwealmagazine.org. Since 1924 it has been edited by Catholic laypeople, and it is published by the nonprofit Commonweal Foundation.
Commonweal's June 15, 2012 issue includes a six-article special report evaluating the U.S. Catholic Bishops' "Fortnight for Freedom" campaign, and their statement on religious freedom, "Our First, Most Cherished Liberty."

ABOUT COMMONWEAL
Commonweal’s mission is to provide a forum for civil, reasoned debate on the interaction of faith with contemporary politics and culture. Read by a passionate audience of educated, committed Catholics, as well as readers from many other faith traditions, Commonweal presents well-argued, respectful points of view from across the ideological spectrum. In an often contentiously divided Catholic church and secular culture, our status as an independent, lay-run journal of opinion encourages conversations that can be difficult in other settings.

Commonweal is published 22 times a year in print, and also operates a continuously updated Web site at www.commonwealmagazine.org. Since 1924 it has been edited by Catholic laypeople, and it is published by the nonprofit Commonweal Foundation.

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Published by: CommonwealMagazine on Jun 21, 2012
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Commonweal 
, [ISSN 0010-3330]
 A Review of Public Affairs, Religion, Literature, and the Arts
, is published biweekly except Christmas/ New Year; and monthly July and August, byCommonweal Foundation, 475 Riverside Drive,Rm. 405, New York, NY 10115. Telephone: (212)662-4200. E-mail:
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is indexed in Reader’s Guide toPeriodical Literature, Catholic Periodical Index, BookReview Digest, and Book Review Index. Microfilmfrom Vol. 1, 1924, to current issues available throughUniversity Microfilm, 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor,MI 48106 and on Microfiche from Bell & Howell,Wooster, OH 44691.
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articles are alsoavailable at many libraries and research facilities onCD-ROM and in electronic databases. Serials Dataprogram No.: ISSN 0010-3330. Periodicals postage paidat New York, NY, and at additional offices. Copyright© 2012 Commonweal Foundation. Single Copy, $3.95.Yearly subscriptions, U.S., $59; Canada, $64; foreign,$65. Special two-year rate: U.S. $94; Canada, $99;foreign, $109. Annual rates for air-mail delivery outsideU.S.: Western Hemisphere, $86; Europe, $91; otherparts of the world, $101. All Canadian and foreignsubscriptions must be paid in U.S. dollars by Inter-national Money Order or by check on a U.S. bank.
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Commonweal
LETTERS
The contraception mandate, migrant workers, the new missal 
All tAlk
Margaret O’Brien Steinfels’s critique of theU.S. Catholic bishops’ refusal to accept thevarious forms of accommodation in theDepartment of Health and Human Servicescontraception-coverage mandate ignoresa key point (“A Losing Strategy,” May 4).The incredibly narrow definition of a “re-ligious employer,” which Steinfels her-self criticizes, remains exactly as it alwayshas been. What the Obama administrationnow suggests in its most recent proposedrule is that those institutions—other thanhouses of worship—that have a religiousobjection will be allowed to
talk 
as thoughthey are a religious employer, yet throughtheir health plans they will have to
act 
ex-actly like an atheist organization. Everyemployee of such organizations will auto-matically have to accept coverage for con-traception, sterilization, and abortifacientdrugs—and they must allow their teenagedaughters to have this coverage as well,with “confidentiality”—whether the em-ployee wants such coverage or not. Theorganizations can claim that they did notdo this or agree to it, but the effect willbe the same. Their decisions about bene-fits for their own employees will simply betaken away from them and given to oth-ers, potentially including hostile third par-ties like Planned Parenthood in the case ofself-insured plans. Protecting a religious or-ganization from being forced to act im-morally, by depriving it of the ability to actat all, is no way to serve religious freedom.How could anyone rest easy with the gov-ernment’s enshrining into law a definitionof religious ministry so narrow as to ex-clude the work of the Good Samaritan, themodel of caring for the stranger for thesole reason that the stranger was in need?
mary
 
ann
 
walsh
,
rsm
Washington, D.C. The writer is director of media relations for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
the Author replies
I do not rest easy with the HHS man-date’s definition of religious ministry. Butthe complexities of providing religious ex-emptions from generally applicable lawsor from funding actions that one findsmorally objectionable are not usefully ad-dressed by overheated rhetoric that dwellson protecting teenage daughters, fendingoff Planned Parenthood, and the equationof nonreligious organizations with “athe-ist” ones. Contrary to Sr. Walsh’s claim, theObama administration has not proposedto force employees of accommodated re-ligious institutions to accept contraceptioncoverage. The idea is that such employeeswill be offered the coverage, which theyare free to reject. Walsh’s letter suggestswhy the bishops’ claims to be negotiat-ing with the government seem uncon-vincing: Is it a negotiation they want or acapitulation?My question, as I hinted in the final sen-tence of my column: Do they know whatthey’re doing? I have my doubts.
margaret
 
o
brien
 
steinfels
the more things chAnge…
I was moved by the article “¿Vale laPena?” (Joseph Sorrentino, April 20) andnot at all surprised to see that the plightof farmworkers has not changed verymuch since the days when Cesar Chaveztook up this cause. The simple irony con-tinues to be that the people who work sohard to pick beautiful, nutritious producefor our tables are unable to afford thesame for their own families.
kathleen
 
siddons
Manchester, Conn.
continued on page 30
Founded in 1924
The next issueof
Commonweal
 will be datedJuly 13, 2012
 
3
JUNE 15, 2012
VOLUME CXXXIX
NUMBER 12
 
Article
 
 The Bishops & Religious Liberty 
8
 
William A. Galston
11
 
 Michael P. Moreland 
13
 
Cathleen Kaveny
15
 
Douglas Laycock
17
 
 Mark Silk
19
 
Peter Steinfels
 
screen
22
 
 We Have a Pope
Richard Alleva
upfront
2
 
letters
4
 
commonweal online
5
 
editorial
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columnist
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Nanni Moretti (left) and Michel Piccoli in
We Have a Pope

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