Update, Feb. 2: the Assembly of Bishops issued a press release to “adamantly protest” the HHS mandate.

On the Observer blog of the American Orthodox Institute, I look at the non-reaction of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America to the recent Obama administration mandate that forces most employers and insurers to provide contraceptives, sterilization, and abortifacient drugs free of charge. More specifics here. The Assembly of Bishops, charged with the “common witness” for Orthodox Christians in America, was also missing in action during the 2012 March for Life.

Towards the conclusion of this article, I say:

… we can’t dismiss this problem by saying that the Orthodox, broadly speaking, don’t get institutionally involved in politics. Far from it. How else can you explain the churches’ long membership in the World Council of Churches and the National Council of Churches, Protestant-dominated bodies that exist to put a patina of theological legitimacy on leftist economic and political ideologies?

Patriarch Bartholomew is all too ready to talk about how the Church invented hospitals more than 1,600 years ago, as he did in a 2009 speech sponsored by the Center for American Progress and Georgetown University in Washington. He even noted that these Byzantine hospitals were “public institutions, free of charge and created for the public good.” Although the patriarch stopped short of backing the Obama administration’s health care initiative before this liberal/progressive audience, he endorsed the notion that “every member of society, from the greatest to the least” deserves the best quality healthcare.

But Patriarch Bartholomew and his lobbyists are nowhere to be found when 21st Century American hospitals are feeling the heat from an administration trampling on conscience protections. We’re talking about hundreds of hospitals founded by Catholics, Jews and Protestants and serving people in real need — today and not in some idealized forever-gone past.

In stark contract to the Orthodox bishops, some 135 Roman Catholic bishops in the United States — and counting — have spoken out on this mandate.

Also see this reaction from Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, on Associated Baptist Press: “Mohler says insurance mandate not just ‘Catholic’ issue”.

Read “Orthodox Bishops Assembly Silent on Moral Issues” on the Observer blog of the American Orthodox Institute.


  • http://twitter.com/jameybennett jamey w. bennett

    Unfortunately there is one inaccuracy here, and an update. First the inaccuracy: http://oca.org/News/headline-news/strong-orthodox-christian-presence-at-annual-dc-march-for-life

    Second, the update: http://www.aoiusa.org/blog/2012/02/orthodox-bishops-speak-out-against-hhh-mandate/

  • Archpriest Thomas Moore

    FOR
    IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    February
    2nd

    ,
    2012

    Record
    of Protest Against the Infringement of Religious Liberty 

    by
    the Department of Health and Human Services

    The
    Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, which
    is 

    comprised
    of the 65 canonical Orthodox bishops in the United  States, Canada
    and 

    Mexico,
    join their voices with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
    and 

    all
    those who adamantly protest the recent decision by the United States
    Department 

    of Health
    and Human Services

    (http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2012pres/01/20120120a.html),
    and call upon all 

    the
    Orthodox Christian faithful to contact their elected representatives today to
    voice 

    their
    concern in the face of this threat to the sanctity of the Church’s conscience.

    In
    this ruling by HHS, religious hospitals, educational institutions, and
    other 

    organizations
    will be required to pay for the full cost of contraceptives (including 

    some
    abortion-inducing drugs) and sterilizations for their employees, regardless
    of 

    the
    religious convictions of the employers.

    The
    First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution  guarantees the  free
    exercise of 

    religion.
     This freedom is transgressed when a religious institution is required to
    pay 

    for
    “contraceptive services” including  abortion-inducing drugs and
    sterilization 

    services
    that directly violate their religious convictions. Providing such
    services 

    should
    not be regarded as mandated medical care. We, the Assembly of Canonical 

    Orthodox
    Bishops, call upon HHS Secretary Sebelius and the Obama Administration 

    to
    rescind this  unjust ruling  and  to respect the  religious
    freedom guaranteed all 

    Americans
    by the First Amendment.

    # #
    # # #

    Contact:
    The Office of the Secretariat

    1559
    North Woodlawn Street

    Wichita,
    KS 67208-2429

    Phone:
    316-687-3169

    Assembly
    Web Site:  www.assemblyofbishops.org

  • http://www.acton.org/ John Couretas

    65 Orthodox Church bishops call on Obama to ‘rescind’ the ‘unjust’ contraception mandate. By Ben Johnson, LifeSiteNews.com
    http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/orthodox-church-bishops-call-on-obama-to-rescind-the-unjust-contraception-m