Obama: ‘We Stand for Religious Freedom’

September 17, 2012 - 10:29 AM

Cardial Timothy Dolan

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – Even as his administration is being sued by multiple Catholic dioceses, institutions, universities and business owners who say that the federal government is violating their First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion, President Barack Obama said over the weekend that "we" are for religious freedom. 

“I have made it clear that the United States has a profound respect for people of all faiths,” Obama in his weekly address on Saturday. “We stand for religious freedom.”

The president was referring to last week’s attacks on U.S. embassies in the Middle East that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens.

Dozens of parties--including the Catholic Archdioceses of New York, Washington and St. Louis, the University of Notre Dame, Catholic University of America and Hercules Industries, a heating and air-conditioning manufacturer owned by a Catholic family – have filed lawsuits against the Obama administration because a regulation issued by the Department of Health and Human Services under the Obamacare law would force them to provide health insurance that covers abortifacients, sterilizations and contraceptives in contradiction to Catholic teaching.

The Catholic bishops of the United States have unanimously declared the regulation an "unjust and illegal mandate" that violates the free exercise of religion not only of Catholic institutions and employers but of individual lay Catholics who are mandated to buy insurance that violates the teachings of their faith.