Senator Joe Pennacchio (R- Morris/Essex/Passaic) has announced that he will submit a resolution urging President Obama to exempt all religious institutions from a federal requirement to offer insurance coverage that conflicts with their beliefs.
“The Obama Administration, with its ruling, has launched an unconscionable assault on religious liberty,” said Pennacchio. “This is not just an issue for Catholics; it is an issue for people of every faith who are guaranteed the right under the First Amendment to practice their religion without interference from the government.”
The resolution comes in response to a recently announced regulation that religious charities and hospitals must facilitate access to free birth control despite Catholic doctrine that prohibits artificial methods of family planning.
“When an individual goes to work for an organization with a religious affiliation, they know what they’re getting into,” Pennacchio continued. “Those institutions are guided by the teachings of their faith, and employees have a choice not to work there if those teachings run counter to their personal beliefs or needs.”
The Senator encouraged his colleagues to join him in sending a message to the President. “The federal government can no more require these religious groups to cover medication or procedures that violate their teachings than it can tell a church or synagogue or mosque how to conduct their services,” he said. “What they’ve done is flat out wrong. Faith based organizations, such as the Catholic Church, are second only to the Federal Government in providing a safety net and charity care for our most vulnerable citizens. The Federal Government should be encouraging not hindering those efforts.”