Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

2/21/2012 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (

Will our nation continue to be one committed to religious liberty and diversity?

We can learn from this brilliant testimony as we undertake the struggle to defend the Church against this unjust Edict. We call upon all of our readers around the globe to pray for his Excellency - and for all of our Bishops. We pledge to stand in unwavering solidarity with them.

Bishop William Lori

Bishop William Lori


By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (

2/21/2012 (3 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: HHS Mandate, HHS Edict, Kathleen Sebelius, Barack Obama, Contraceptive mandate, abortion, contraception, religious Freedom, Bishop William Lori, Deacon Keith Fournier

WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - On Wednesday February 16, 2012, the Most Reverend William E. Lori, the Bishop of Bridgeport and Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee for Religious Liberty, gave testimony before Congress. He appeared before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform of the United States House of Representatives.

Bishop Lori spoke on behalf of all of the Catholic Bishops of the United States. They are unanimous in their effort to have the HHS Edict which seeks to compel Catholic institutions and organizations to distribute contraceptives and abortion inducing drugs as well as offer sterilization rescinded. Now is not the time for Catholics to be critical of the US Catholic Bishops. Now is the time for all of us to stand with them.

The Bishop's testimony was brilliant. We want all of our readers to learn from it as we all undertake the struggle to defend the Church against this unjust Edict and a New Catholic Action. We call upon all of our readers around the globe to pray for his Excellency - and for all of our Bishops. We pledge to stand in unwavering solidarity with them. Here is Bishop Lori's complete testimony:

Bishop William Lori

Thank you, Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the Committee, for the opportunity to testify today. For my testimony today, I would like to tell a story. Let's call it "The Parable of the Kosher Deli."

Once upon a time, a new law is proposed, so that any business that serves food must serve pork. There is a narrow exception for kosher catering halls attached to synagogues, since they serve mostly members of that synagogue, but kosher delicatessens are still subject to the mandate.

The Orthodox Jewish community-whose members run kosher delis and many other restaurants and grocers besides-expresses its outrage at the new government mandate. And they are joined by others who have no problem eating pork-not just the many Jews who eat pork, but people of all faiths-because these others recognize the threat to the principle of religious liberty.

They recognize as well the practical impact of the damage to that principle. They know that, if the mandate stands, they might be the next ones forced-under threat of severe government sanction -to violate their most deeply held beliefs, especially their unpopular beliefs.

Meanwhile, those who support the mandate respond "But pork is good for you. It is, after all, the other white meat." Other supporters add "So many Jews eat pork, and those who don't should just get with the times." Still others say "Those Orthodox are  just trying to impose their beliefs on everyone else."

But in our hypothetical, those arguments fail in the public debate, because people widely recognize the following.

First, although people may reasonably debate whether pork is good for you, that's not the question posed by the nationwide pork mandate. Instead, the mandate generates the question whether people who believe-even if they believe in error-that pork is not good for you, should be forced by government to serve pork within their very own institutions. In a nation committed to religious liberty and diversity, the answer, of course, is no.

Second, the fact that some (or even most) Jews eat pork is simply irrelevant. The fact remains that some Jews do not-and they do not out of their most deeply held religious convictions. Does the fact that large majorities in society-even large majorities within the protesting religious community-reject a particular religious belief make it permissible for the government to weigh in on one side of that dispute? Does it allow government to punish that minority belief with its coercive power? In a nation committed to religious liberty and diversity, the answer, of course, is no.

Third, the charge that the Orthodox Jews are imposing their beliefs on others has it exactly backwards. Again, the question generated by a government mandate is whether the government will impose its belief that eating pork is good on objecting Orthodox Jews. Meanwhile, there is no imposition at all on the freedom of those who want to eat pork.

That is, they are subject to no government interference at all in their choice to eat pork, and pork is ubiquitous and cheap, available at the overwhelming majority of restaurants and grocers. Indeed,
some pork producers and retailers, and even the government itself, are so eager to promote the eating of pork, that they sometimes give pork away for free.

In this context, the question is this: can a customer come to a kosher deli, demand to be served a ham sandwich, and if refused, bring down severe government sanction on the deli. In a nation committed to religious liberty and diversity, the answer, of course, is no.

So in our hypothetical story, because the hypothetical nation is indeed committed to religious liberty and diversity, these arguments carry the day. In response, those proposing the new law claim to hear and understand the concerns of kosher deli owners, and offer them a new "accommodation."

You are free to call yourself a kosher deli; you are free not to place ham sandwiches on your menu; you are free not to be the person to prepare the sandwich and hand it over the counter to the customer. But we will force your meat supplier to set up a kiosk on your premises, and to offer, prepare, and serve ham sandwiches to all of your customers, free of charge to them. And when you get your monthly bill from your meat supplier, it will include the cost of any of the "free" ham sandwiches that your customers may accept. And you will, of course, be required to pay that bill.

Some who supported the deli owners initially began to celebrate the fact that ham sandwiches didn't need to be on the menu, and didn't need to be prepared or served by the deli itself. But on closer examination, they noticed three troubling things. First, all kosher delis will still be forced to pay for the ham sandwiches.

Second, many of the kosher delis' meat suppliers, themselves, are forbidden in conscience from offering, preparing, or serving pork to anyone. Third, there are many kosher delis that are their own meat supplier, so the mandate to offer, prepare, and serve the ham sandwich still falls on them.

This story has a happy ending. The government recognized that it is absurd for someone to come into a kosher deli and demand a ham sandwich; that it is beyond absurd for that private demand to be backed with the coercive power of the state; that it is downright surreal to apply this coercive power when the customer can get the same sandwich cheaply, or even free, just a few doors down.

The question before the United States government-right now-is whether the story of our own Church institutions that serve the public, and that are threatened by the HHS mandate, will end happily too. Will our nation continue to be one committed to religious liberty and diversity? We urge, in the strongest possible terms, that the answer must be yes. We urge you, in the strongest possible terms, to answer the same way.

Thank you for your attention.


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More U.S.

'No more baby parts': How will Congress deal with the alarming Planned Parenthood shooting? Watch

Image of


A shooting at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs, Colorado that left three people dead last week is only expected to inflame passions of both sides of the political spectrum - as well as giving lawmakers, returning from their holiday break, ... continue reading

EUCHARISTIC MIRACLE IN UTAH? You won't believe what happened to the Body of Christ when it was placed in water (PHOTOS) Watch

Image of


A miraculous bleeding communion wafer has presented itself at a Utah Church. Followers from the St. Francis Xavier Church in Kearns, Salt Lake City have claimed the sacrament bled for three days after it was placed in water following communion. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading

The shocking amount of control El Chapo's drug cartel has across the United States Watch

Image of Mexican drug lord,


Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán leads the Sinaloa drug cartel, which the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reports has the most influence of all gangs in the United States. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The DEA released an unclassified report that indicates the ... continue reading

MIRACLES DO HAPPEN: Days-old baby girl buried alive pulled to safety in California Watch

Image of Following the child's muffled cries, police eventually found the girl in a crevice along the biking path. Wrapped in a blanket, covered with a layer of rocks and rubble, the girl was cold - but alive.


While much still needs to be learned - authorities here in Compton, California are gratified to learn that miracles still happen. A days-old baby girl, estimated to be only two to three days old, has been pulled to safety from a riverbed after a passerby heard ... continue reading

Who Needs Advent? I do! Watch

Image of The candle is a symbol of Advent because it is a symbol of Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, who is always coming to those with the eyes of living faith.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Jesus Christ is not just a memory to the Christian with living faith. He is alive in our midst and living His Life in and through His Body, the Church, of which we are members. The redemptive mission of the Lord Jesus continues until He returns. As Christians, we ... continue reading

BIGGER THAN ISIS - There's a hidden power behind ISIS and it's so big and so powerful, you won't believe this MASSIVE SHOCKING fact about it! Watch

Image of Obama is the titular head of the world's most nefarious terrorist organization, a title he may have inherited from his predecessor, and that will be passed to his successor.


If you were asked, what is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated in human history, how would you answer? Global warming? Vaccines? The Moon Landing? Entire religions?  (Not that we agree with these). But what would you say? In a moment, we're going to offer an answer ... continue reading

'Black Friday' leaving bruises as shoppers trample each other for best deals Watch

Image of Sales for pricey items such as electronic devices erupt into violence on


Everyone has had their turkey leftovers from the previous day's Thanksgiving Feast - and now it's out the door to the nearest "big box" store in a mad scavenger hunt called "Black Friday," where shoppers trample each other for the best deals then can get just before ... continue reading

President likens Syrian refugees to pilgrims on Mayflower in Thanksgiving address Watch

Image of The president then went on to say that, all Americans must open their neighborhoods, their homes, and hearts to Syrian refugees.


United States President Barack Obama called on Americans to welcome Syrian refugees this Thanksgiving season, who - like the pilgrims that set sail on the Mayflower, were likewise fleeing persecution in their native land. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - ... continue reading

Happy Thanksgiving Day: Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart Watch

Image of Around tables throughout America, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren gather with mothers and fathers, Grandpas and Grandmas, extended family, neighbors and friends to thank God and one another. And then, we feast; not only on the food, but even more importantly, on the gift of the love which informs all family relationships and true friendships, the real source of lasting joy, the love of the God who gave us life and liberty.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Happy Thanksgiving Day. May it be a day for love and gratitude. No matter how difficult the challenges we face as a Nation, we have much to be grateful for. As we give thanks, we will find the strength we need to love even more fully. As we practice regularly ... continue reading

New ISIS video taunts United States to 'bring it on' Watch

Image of While the video is pumping up Islamist State, the fact of the matter is is the group is suffering heavy losses on the ground form allied bombardment, especially since Russia began bombing the group


A new video from the Islamic State is highlighting the high number of U.S. soldiers who commit suicide, in effect to tell the world's last remaining superpower to "bring it on." U.S. President Barack Obama has since dismissed ISIS as "a bunch of killers with ... continue reading

All U.S. News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Pope Francis on condoms, fundamentalism and more
  • St. Bibiana: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, December 02, 2015
  • Prayer For Faith HD Video
  • Untrained AirAsia pilots takes blame for 162 passenger deaths ...
  • Parents' Prayer For Their Children HD Video
  • Daily Readings for Wednesday, December 02, 2015
  • You won't believe what happened to this pair of infant twins!

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 11:1-10
1 A shoot will spring from the stock of Jesse, a new shoot will grow from ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 72:1, 7-8, 12-13, 17
1 [Of Solomon] God, endow the king with your own fair judgement, the son ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 10:21-24
21 Just at this time, filled with joy by the Holy Spirit, he said, 'I ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 1st, 2015 Image

St. Eligius
December 1: Eligius (also known as Eloi) was born around 590 ... Read More