St. Jude Church Members to Protest Obamacare, Contraceptive Coverage

Members of the church will protest in New Lenox on Sunday, specifically opposing a requirement to cover contraceptives.

On the heels of a U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding Obamacare, parishioners at in New Lenox have organized a demonstration in support of religious freedom.

The campaign was initiated in part because of the recent U.S. Department of Health and Human Services mandate under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

The specific point of contention within the bill pertains to a requirement that all employer health plans provide free contraceptives, sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs, regardless of any moral or religious objections.

The event is scheduled from 2 p.m. 4 p.m. Sunday, July 1, at the intersection of Route 30 and Cedar Road in New Lenox.


The U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 vote on June 28 issued a decision to uphold as a tax the provision of the Affordable Care Act that requires individuals to purchase a health plan—the oft referred to as "individual mandate."  

Stirred by a United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' declaration issued on May 30, calling for a "Fortnight for Freedom to Defend Religious Liberty," many Catholic parishioners have decided to take action to demonstrate support for the USCCB.

From a local perspective, which was discussed at a June 21 meeting at St. Jude, this public display of prayer is meant to attract attention to the church's "defense of religious liberty."  

Particularly the protestors hope to draw attention to their moral objection to a governmental mandate that flies in the face of the church's vow to respect life. The demonstrators welcome supporters from all churches. 

The planned demonstration coincides with the USCCB campaign designated by an ad hoc committee of the U.S. Catholic bishops for teaching and witness in support of religious freedom. It called for 14 days of prayer that began June 21 and ends on July 4.

St. Jude Fr. Don Lewandowski said the Supreme Court decision has serious implications per the operation of Catholic hospitals and other institutions, including Catholic universities and charity organizations.

Having previously presented the matter to the St. Jude congregation, a number of parishioners and parish organizations have banned together to bring about awareness of the issue and its perceived threat to religious freedom.

Karla Ohner, of New Lenox, called for a more high profile awareness campaign and sought authorization for the planned demonstration on Sunday. She viewed the protest as a way to alert the public about the "violation of (the church's) conscience clause, a First Amendment right."

Lewandowski said that to him, the Fortnight was a request from the bishops to "pray for our country" that it doesn't lose religious freedom.

"What Karla is doing is protesting and drumming up support for our position," he said. "I think it's courageous of her. I can support that. It's a non-violent way to raise awareness."

According to a statement by Bishop R. Daniel Conlon, on the web site for the Diocese of Joliet, "the purpose of this effort is to issue a call to defend religious liberty."

Thomas Garlitz, director of the newly created Office for Human Dignity for the Diocese of Joliet, said he is prepared to work with legislators and officials to craft a plan that is more favorable to the moral foundation of the Catholic Church.

"We're hoping that either through dialogue or legal action that a compromise will be found that enables Catholics to continue to practice their faith and for all Americans to enjoy access to health care," Garlitz said. 

According to a statement from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the group doesn't seek to repeal Obamacare in its entirety. Instead, the Bishops will urge Congress to pass legislation to "fix those flaws" previously mentioned.  

Read More:  (on Orland Park Patch)

Want to know more? Visit The Affordable Care Act website.

Mom of 4 July 02, 2012 at 05:55 AM
The difference I see is that these organizations already don't provide coverage for this. So, women who are already employed by them and use contraception did so knowing this. There would be no change. How can you call it discriminatory if they already chose this? I would be just as upset if the mandate imposed against another religions core beliefs, as well. This just so happens to align with my own.
New Lenox Mom July 02, 2012 at 06:41 AM
The didn't chose it!!! Until the new health care rules NO woman, insured through ANY organization under any insurance policy had a choice of having contraception paid for through their insurance company. Your arguement is baseless. This has nothing to do with religion, it has to do with making sure that women are treated equally. The same as making it illegal for insurance companies to charge women more for the same coverage as men. The same as insurance companies no longer allowed to deny maternity coverage. It would be discriminatory if women at non catholic organizations now have contraceptives covered, but women employed at catholic organizations can't. It is discrimination based on an employers belief.
Cherie Jones July 02, 2012 at 11:11 PM
I completely agree. This country is built on the freedom of and the freedom from religion. It is a woman's choice whether or not to use contraception. If she chooses to use it, she should be able to have it covered by insurance. It's funny how we never hear anyone complaining about insurance company's covering Viagra. What a double standard. It is one more example of the Catholic church treating women as second class citizens.
Jen Van Eck July 02, 2012 at 11:56 PM
I worked for 2 large insurance companies 15 yrs experience and I can assure you, many group policies covers birth control and maternity. Now, if your employer doesn't offer insurance and you have to purchase your own coverage aka an individual policy, plans will start off basic, just covering hospitalization and then you can add more benefits, say a drug card ("birth control") or maternity coverage, these are added benefits that increase your cost just as you can select what co-pay you want. Now with the new bill you wont have these options available so your premium will be based on coverage for these items regardless if you need them or not. So its going to start out higher from the get go. There are many aspect of the new bill that were needed and I think are a good thing. There are some things I don't necessary agree with. Either way these are my personal opinions
lala July 03, 2012 at 02:29 AM
It was insightful. I was raised Catholic. I am open minded and no longer practice the Catholic religion. Thanks for reminding me of just one reason why I chose to leave the church. The debate on here is another reminder. You also said "Sexual abuse is a horrible thing, but it is a societal problem not a Catholic problem." I realize this BUT the Catholic church chose to sweep this under the carpet for many years and just transfer priests to other parishes to continue to rape young boys.


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