Richard Land responds to President Obama’s revised contraceptive mandate

By Staff
Feb 10, 2012

Some religious leaders are not satisfied with President Obama’s so-called compromise on the HHS contraceptive mandate.

Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, comments on the issue:

“Southern Baptists and people of other various faith communities are outraged with President Obama’s so-called compromise on his administration’s abortion mandate. In his attempt to mollify his radical pro-abortion supporters, President Obama has declared that individual conscience is subject to government edict.

“The president’s failure to grasp the seriousness of this issue reveals a dangerous presidential blind spot concerning First Amendment constitutional religious free exercise guarantees. It also highlights the wisdom of our forefathers who bequeathed to us a legislative system that is supposed to pass laws with the consent of the governed through their elected representatives, rather than being governed by executive branch imperial edicts passed down from on high. If these issues had been subjected to the legislative process as our political system intends, then the problems we are currently facing would have surfaced and been dealt with in ways that would have truly respected both individual conscience and the health needs of our citizens.

“For instance, the fact is GuideStone, a Southern Baptist medical plan provider, (founded in 1918 and covering approximately 200,000 pastors, church workers, professors, secretaries, social workers, missionaries at home and abroad) is self-funded. That means that it pays benefits directly instead of using a third party insurance company as the source of benefit payments. This self-funded approach to health care coverage, common in the faith community, was completely ignored by the president in his statement today. Did he truly not know of such plans?

“As GuideStone’s president O.S. Hawkins has stated, ‘The President’s statement today is an insulting affront illustrating a basic lack of understanding that this issue will not be solved by sleight of hand word games. It is a fundamental matter of religious liberty that threatens the very coverage of those dedicated persons who serve our churches and affiliated organizations. GuideStone will never depart from the core convictions it has held dear for decades regarding the sanctity of life.’

“Today President Obama let down his fellow Americans of religious faith by dismissing these issues of inviolable conscience as troublesome inconveniences. The president’s so-called compromise tramples the deeply held beliefs of tens of millions of Americans, beliefs that are guaranteed and protected by the U.S. Constitution.

“Mr. President, mere accounting tricks will not suffice. You have given your fellow citizens’ cry of conscience the dismissive back of your hand by offering them not a solution, but a distinction without a difference.”

The Southern Baptist Convention is America’s largest non-Catholic denomination with more than 16.2 million members in over 44,000 churches nationwide. The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is the SBC’s ethics, religious liberty and public policy agency with offices in Nashville, Tenn. and Washington, D.C.

To request an interview with Dr. Richard Land, contact Elizabeth Wood at (615) 782-8401, or by e-mail at ewood@erlc.com.

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