Thursday, February 23, 2012


Murkowski: health care  mandate unprecedented

As a Catholic and a U.S. senator, I have long embraced and touted the protections that our Constitution bestows upon our religious liberties. The freedom of religion is a cornerstone of this country, having been placed in the base of our young nation by the founders within the First Amendment.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration unilaterally determined that religious hospitals, charities and schools will be required to go against their deeply-held — and constitutionally-protected — beliefs when offering health care services to current employees.

Worse still is the olive branch extended by the Department of Health and Human Services: religious institutions have a year to compromise on their beliefs and adhere to this policy. It is insulting that this administration believes that a year delay in implementation of this rule would cause more Americans to change their position — their conscience — their belief — on a fundamental freedom such as this.

I agree with Anchorage Archbishop Roger Schwietz’s letter to all parishes when he said, “People of faith cannot be made second class citizens. We are already joined by our brothers and sisters of all faiths and many others of good will in this important effort to regain our religious freedom.”

I also agree with Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, the president of the US bishops’ conference, who said the Obama Administration “has now drawn an unprecedented line in the sand.”

I worry that line in the sand now threatens the invaluable one that separates church and state for Americans of all creeds.

— Senator Lisa Murkowski, Washington, D.C.

Health insurance mandate violates religious liberties

The recent directives by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services violate separation of church and state. They make people of faith second class citizens by telling them what to do in their insurance programs. These directives are anti-life. Life is guaranteed by our U.S. Constitution and pre-dated by the Ten Commandments.

I hope the state will give to God what is God’s, just as we give to Caesar what is Caesar’s.

— Mary Patania, Anchorage

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