U.S. Bishops: Catholics should prepare for civil disobedience to HHS mandate
Catholics in the United States should be prepared to engage in civil disobedience if the HHS mandate requiring employers to pay for contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs is not rescinded, says a new document from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The USCCB released the one-pager as a bulletin insert to be distributed in Catholic Churches during June, in preparation for the Fortnight for Freedom, a two week period of prayer and fasting for the rescinding of the mandate.
“Some unjust laws impose such injustices on individuals and organizations that disobeying the laws may be justified,” the bishops write. “Every effort must be made to repeal them. When fundamental human goods, such as the right of conscience, are at stake, we may need to witness to the truth by resisting the law and incurring its penalties.”
The insert takes up some of the themes expounded on in a longer document released in April by the USCCB’s Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, which also alluded to the possible need for non-violent resistance and compared the situation to that faced by the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s.
Like the April document, the insert calls the civil rights movement “an essentially religious movement,” and quotes Martin Luther King’s 1963 “Letter from Birmingham Jail” in which King cites St. Augustine’s dictum that “an unjust law is no law at all.”