His Eminence Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, President, and His Excellency Most Reverend William E. Lori, Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, released a statement on the HHS mandate, dated February 21, 2012, to the bishops of the United States.
You can read the text of the letter over at Insight Scoop.
The letter really says what needs to be said, makes all the right distinctions, and rightly invokes the supreme gravity of the situation concerning the free exercise of religion.
Much remains to be done. We cannot rest when faced with so grave a threat to the religious liberty for which our parents and grandparents fought. In this moment in history we must work diligently to preserve religious liberty and to remove all threats to the practice of our faith in the public square. This is our heritage as Americans. President Obama should rescind the mandate, or at the very least, provide full and effective measures to protect religious liberty and conscience
As I understand it the mandate itself is part of Obamacare and not something the President can rescind. The narrow interpretation of how the mandate was applied is directly in his purview. Though ultimately it is Obamacare itself that must be repealed, especially the mandate. Even if the President backs down and the HHS interprets the exemption in a more traditional way it still would not protect private employers who object but are not under the category of a religious institution. The mandate was tyrannical even before the HHS ruling.
Today, religious liberty gained a resounding victory. A federal court in Tacoma, Washington, struck down a Washington law that requires pharmacists to dispense the morning-after pill even when doing so would violate their religious beliefs. The court held that the law violates the First Amendment right to free exercise of religion.
“Today’s decision sends a very clear message: No individual can be forced out of her profession solely because of her religious beliefs,” said Luke Goodrich, Deputy National Litigation Director at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. The Becket Fund, together with the Seattle-based law firm of Ellis, Li & McKinstry, represents the plaintiffs in the case. “If the state allows pharmacies to refer patients elsewhere for economic, business, and convenience reasons, it has to allow them to refer for reasons of conscience,” added Mr. Goodrich.