Archive for the ‘Religious Freedom’ Category

Fr. Pavone: Don’t let bogus Catholic group speak for you!

Monday, September 19th, 2016

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: September 19, 2016

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

Comment period for public to weigh in on HHS mandate closes a minute before midnight tomorrow

NEW YORK – Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, issued a new appeal today for people of faith who oppose the unjust contraception/abortifacient mandate in the Affordable Care Act to submit their comments to the Federal Register.

The public comment period ends at 11:59 p.m. tomorrow, Sept. 20, for those who would like to help solve the impasse over the Affordable Care Act’s mandate requiring employers to provide contraception, abortion-causing drugs and sterilization services to their employees.

After hearing oral arguments March 23 in Priests for Life vs. HHS and six other cases against the mandate, the Supreme Court sent the cases back to the lower courts with the admonition that the Obama administration and the petitioners – 37 in all – should sort it out themselves. On July 22, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a notice in the Federal Register asking the public for its ideas.

Thousands of people have already submitted comments. Among them were copies of a form letter circulated by the abortion-loving, fake Catholic group that calls itself Catholics for Choice.

“People who object to contraceptives and abortifacient drugs cannot let this bogus group speak for them,” Father Pavone said. “It is imperative that true Catholics and other people of faith let their voices be heard.”

For instructions on how to participate in this public comment period, go to www.priestsforlife.org/PublicComment.

To listen to a replay of a webcast Priests for Life hosted last week to help people participate in this process, go to http://www.priestsforlife.org/Webcast/

And for overall information about Priests for Life vs. HHS and the related cases, see www.IStandWithPFL.com.

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.

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Public Urged to Comment on HHS Mandate Religious Liberty Cases

Monday, September 12th, 2016

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Period of public comment ends Sept. 20

The public comment period ends Sept. 20 for those who would like to help solve the impasse over the Affordable Care Act’s unjust contraception and abortion mandate.

After hearing oral arguments March 23 in Priests for Life vs. HHS and six other cases against the mandate, the Supreme Court sent the cases back to the lower courts with the admonition that the Obama administration and the petitioners – 37 in all – should sort it out themselves. On July 22, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a notice in the Federal Register asking the public for its ideas.

“For everyone who understands how important this case is, this is our opportunity to stand together strongly for religious liberty,” said Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life and a named petitioner in Priests for Life vs. HHS. “You can be sure that those who want to advance abortion and contraception at the expense of religious liberty will let their voices be heard. We must not fail to raise ours.”

Tonight, Monday September 12, Priests for Life will hold a public webcast, from 9 to 10 pm ET, to guide people as to how to participate in this process. People may sign up at www.priestsforlife.org/Webcast.

For information on the Supreme Court cases and for detailed guidance on how to participate in this public comment period, go to www.IStandwithPFL.com.

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American Freedom Law Center Names Fr. Pavone a “Freedom Fighter”

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: September 1, 2016

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, will receive the 2016 Freedom Fighter Award Sept. 20 in Michigan during the American Freedom Law Center’s annual dinner.

Father Pavone is also the keynote speaker for the dinner at the Inn at St. John’s in Plymouth, MI. He will share a powerful message about the critical moment we face right now in America regarding religious freedom and in our national elections.

Sharing the Freedom Fighter Award with him will be Lilly Johnson, president of Johnson Welded Products, and Greg Cunningham, executive director of the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform (on whose Board of Directors Father Pavone serves).

“Each of these ‘freedom fighters’ has demonstrated exceptional courage in defense of religious freedom and the right to life,” said Robert Muise, co-founder and senior counsel. “We are honored to not only call them our ‘clients,’ but friends and fellow warriors in our fight for faith and freedom.”

Father Pavone said he is deeply honored by the award.

“Those who defend the unborn soon realize that they get treated like the unborn; their rights are also ignored,” he said. “The American Freedom Law Center stands up for our Constitution, however and wherever it is being challenged, so to have them bestow on me the Freedom Fighter Award is very humbling and deeply appreciated.”

The American Freedom Law Center represents Priests for Life in its ongoing challenge to the HHS mandate. Priests for Life vs. HHS was argued in the U.S. Supreme Court on March 23.

In February 2012, Priests for Life was the fourth organization in the nation to file suit against the mandate, which would force employers to be complicit in providing contraceptives, abortifacient drugs and sterilization to their employees. Houses of worship are exempt, but faith-based ministries like Priests for Life were only offered an “accommodation” that is still morally objectionable.

In March, the Supreme Court heard seven consolidated cases in Zubik vs. Burwell, including the Priests for Life case. Rather than issue an opinion, the Court sent the cases back to lower appeals courts with the instruction that the government should try to reach a mutually acceptable agreement with the religious groups. That agreement has not yet been reached.

To reserve tickets for the dinner, go to www.americanfreedomlawcenter.org

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.

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Fr. Frank Pavone Calls for Public Support for Priests for Life vs. HHS and Defense of Religious Liberty

Monday, July 25th, 2016

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: July 25, 2016

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

NEW YORK – Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, today urged religious believers to respond to the Obama administration’s new “Request for Information” in the ongoing controversy regarding the HHS mandate.

“If the government really wants to know what Americans think about its so-called HHS mandate, then let’s tell them,” said Fr. Pavone. “Believers need to speak up and let their voices be heard during the next two months.”

The government’s just-announced public comment period is the latest development in the more than four-year legal battle that Priests for Life and other religious non-profit groups have fought — all the way to the Supreme Court in the consolidated case of Zubik vs. Burwell — against the Obama administration’s attempt to force them to violate their faith. The HHS mandate, as written by federal bureaucrats, would involve religiously based organizations in the distribution of abortion causing drugs and other morally objectionable items to their employees.

Last May, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated the lower court decisions in Priests for Life vs. HHS and the six other related cases that the Court had heard. The lower courts had ruled against Priests for Life and the other petitioners, holding that the government could order religious charities, schools, and other entities to comply with its “contraceptive mandate” or pay crippling fines.

But the eight Supreme Court Justices sent Priests for Life’s case and six others back to lower federal appeals courts with the instruction that the parties involved should attempt to reach a resolution that “accommodates [the groups’] religious exercise while at the same time ensuring that women covered by petitioners’ health plans ‘receive full and equal health coverage, including contra¬ceptive coverage.’”

And, in fact, conversations between the government and the petitioners have been ongoing. Now, however, the government is also asking for the public’s suggestions on how to achieve a resolution.

“We ask all believers to stand with Priests for Life and the many others who have fought against the government’s attack on religious liberty,” added Fr. Pavone. “To assist the public, we are providing detailed guidance on how to participate in this comment period at www.IStandWithPFL.com.”

Included at www.IStandWithPFL.com are step-by-step instructions on how to file comments with the government by email, regular mail, express or overnight mail, or in-person delivery. Also posted at the website are helpful videos, talking points, articles and other materials explaining the HHS mandate, why it threatens the free exercise of religion, and how citizens can help defend against this threat by sending their opinions to the administration.

“The deadline for public comments is September 20,” Fr. Pavone concluded. “It’s imperative that those of us who value freedom of religion and human life make our voices heard as soon as possible!”

In addition to the updates that will be posted at www.IStandWithPFL.com, Priests for Life will also hold a public webcast to assist interested Churches, organizations, and private citizens to submit their comments in this public process. The date will be announced shortly at www.IStandWithPFL.com.

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.

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Fr. Frank Pavone Praises GOP Platform’s Call for Repeal of the Johnson Amendment

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: July 19, 2016

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

Landmark book, “Abolishing Abortion,” calls for Church to stop political self-censorship

NEW YORK – Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, today praised the inclusion of language in the approved Republican Platform calling for the repeal of the Johnson Amendment which, in an undefined and chilling way, tells churches and non-profit organizations that they must not “participate in or intervene in…any political campaign.”

“The Republican platform’s language is historic,” said Fr. Pavone. “For the first time, a major party has called for the freedom of churches and other non-profit organizations from the Johnson Amendment. That’s America. We’re about encouraging participation, not discouraging it.

“Last summer, in preparation for this election year, my book Abolishing Abortion was published, and it takes aim at the Johnson Amendment and at the distorted interpretations of it by the IRS and by Catholic dioceses and Church institutions.

Fr. Pavone continued, “It is time to face openly and honestly the problems this Amendment creates, and fix them. The platform is a step in the right direction, and is fully consistent with Catholic Church teaching which says, “At all times and in all places, the Church should have the true freedom to teach the faith, to proclaim its teaching about society, to carry out its task among men without hindrance, and to pass moral judgment even in matters relating to politics, whenever the fundamental rights of man or the salvation of souls requires it.” (Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes, n. 76)

Delegates at the Republican Convention have approved the party platform, which states in part, “Republicans believe the federal government, specifically the IRS, is constitutionally prohibited from policing or censoring speech based on religious convictions or beliefs, and therefore we urge the repeal of the Johnson Amendment.”

“It is ironic,” added Fr. Pavone, “that many Church entities fight for religious freedom against the HHS mandate, but tolerate quite well the restrictions of religious freedom posed by the Johnson Amendment. In fact, some dioceses issue mandates of their own that quell religious freedom as much as the HHS mandate does. It’s time to wake up. We are not saying the Church should start endorsing candidates. We are saying that that the decision about how much to say regarding elections is a decision that should be made by the Church, not the government.”

For more information on the Johnson Amendment and the position of Priests for Life, see www.PoliticalResponsibility.com.

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.

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Media Advisory: Priests for Life to Host Telephone Press Conference Monday After Ruling in Whole Woman’s Health vs. Hellerstedt

Friday, June 24th, 2016

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: June 24, 2016

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

WASHINGTON, D.C. — With the U.S. Supreme Court ruling expected Monday, June 27, in the Texas abortion case Whole Woman’s Health vs. Hellerstedt — a case that could have far-reaching implications for abortion facilities across the country — Priests for Life will host a teleconference for the media at 11:30 a.m. that day.

On the call will be the National Director of Priests for Life, Father Frank Pavone, who is a priest of Amarillo, Texas; State Representative Jodie Laubenburg, who authored, carried, and passed House Bill 2 in the Texas legislature; Kyleen Wright, president of Texans for Life Coalition, who spearheaded the inclusion of the “admitting privileges” portion of the law, and Carol Everett, founder of The Heidi Group and a former abortion provider, who spearheaded the inclusion of the “ambulatory surgical center” portion of the law.

To take part in the call, dial 712-432-0700, then dial access code 619300#

Priests for Life submitted a “Friend of the Court” brief in this case, on behalf of the women of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, who have had abortions and share their testimonies about why laws like the one in Texas is necessary.

Any questions may be directed to Leslie Palma, Priests for Life Director of Communications, at 347-286-7277 or media@priestsforlife.org

You can read a series of op-eds published by Fr. Frank about this case here.

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.

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Fr. Pavone Blasts HHS Decision to Allow California to Break Federal Law

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: June 23, 2016

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

NEW YORK — Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, issued the following statement regarding the federal Department of Health and Human Services decision to overlook federal law and force health insurers in California to cover abortion.

“We have already seen how willing the unelected bureaucrats who run HHS are to disregard Americans’ freedom of religion, and this Weldon Amendment decision demonstrates the behavior of an Administration that seeks to obliterate faith entirely.”

The Weldon Amendment prevents federal funds from going to states that discriminate against health care entities that do not provide or fund abortions.

“We continue to battle the Administration through our own Supreme Court case, Priests for Life vs. HHS, regarding a distinct but similar mandate, and we strongly support a legislative solution to enforce the Weldon amendment, such as the Conscience Protection Act (HR 4828).”

Fr. Pavone continued, “Moreover, all of this again points to the critical importance of religious liberty as an issue in the November elections. We need a president who supports religious liberty and appoints judges who do the same. I urge everyone to keep this in mind as they vote in November.”

“I stand with Rep. Chris Smith, Rep. Joe Pitts, Rep. Marsha Blackburn and other pro-life lawmakers in Congress who strongly oppose HHS in this matter,” Father Pavone said.

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.

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What These Ears Heard Donald Trump Say

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

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“Of course pray for everybody… [but] we can’t be, again, politically correct and say we pray for all of our leaders, because all of your [political] leaders are selling Christianity down the tubes, selling the evangelicals down the tubes. And it’s a very, very bad thing that’s happening.” Donald Trump

“Don’t pray to be politically correct. Pray to be spiritually correct.” Alveda King

Yesterday, sitting among 1,000 Judeo-Christian apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, all spiritual leaders in America at a “Conversation with Donald Trump and Ben Carson” and emceed by Mike Huckabee, I heard Donald Trump say “pray for everybody” but “don’t be politically correct.”

Since the meeting was closed to media reporting, we need to understand that information can only trickle out through the biased perspectives of the attendees, me included.

If we are completely honest, we can agree that the main, number one issue of concern presented to Mr. Trump by the body as a whole was religious liberty. Mr. Trump assured the attendees that protecting religious liberty is a primary concern for him and is at the top of his to do list.

He further promised to appoint Prolife Supreme Court justices. He promised that “America will be free to say Merry Christmas” again. He promised economic justice as a means of lessening the bands of racism. He promised safe borders for America. He promised to strengthen our military to protect our nation. He gave God the credit for giving him intelligent children. So sorry you couldn’t be there to hear all of this.

At no time did Mr. Trump advise that Americans need to disobey the Bible. Those words did not come out of his mouth.

Looking forward, the estimated 1,000 leaders in the room have platforms that impact millions of Americans. Now our challenge is to now turn away from railing at each other and the candidates and truly obey the Bible ourselves.

Please join me now in praying for Mr. Trump, Mrs. Clinton, all congressional, gubernatorial, state, county and local candidates, that God will, according to Romans 13 and 1 Timothy 2:2 bless us so that America can have peace and prosperity.

Amen?

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Fr. Pavone Thanks Donald Trump for Key Message to Christians

Monday, June 13th, 2016

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: June 13, 2016

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

NEW YORK — Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, thanked Donald Trump today for the speech he gave on Friday, June 10 at the Faith and Freedom Conference in Washington, D.C. In the speech, he hit on themes of key concerns to Christians. Mr. Trump acknowledged, at the outset of his remarks, the presence of Fr. Frank and other key religious leaders in the audience.

Fr. Frank stated, “Mr. Trump was crystal clear about the need to defend and promote the sanctity of life, to preserve the institution of marriage, to appoint pro-life judges, and to protect religious liberty. In fact, he mentioned explicitly the efforts of some to “restrict religious liberty with government mandates.” Priests for Life was among the first group to challenge the HHS mandate in court, and our case went all the way to the Supreme Court and is still unresolved.

“I also appreciate Mr. Trump’s assertion, “We will protect the right of Churches to speak their minds on political matters, free from intimidation.” This is the key message of my book Abolishing Abortion, in which I call on the Church to abandon the self-censorship that is so prevalent and so unnecessary, even within the current structure of the law.”

After his speech, Fr. Frank, along with other key religious leaders who were present, greeted Mr. Trump and thanked him for his stand on these issues of critical importance.

For a transcript of Mr. Trump’s speech, click here.

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.

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Priests for Life Proposes Next Step in HHS Mandate Case

Saturday, May 28th, 2016

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: May 27, 2016

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

NEW YORK – Priests for Life and the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. have filed a letter with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit proposing a next step in their ongoing lawsuits challenging the Obamacare HHS mandate.

The letter by the appellants refers to the consolidated cases before the D.C. Circuit, Priests for Life v. HHS and Archbishop of Washington v. Burwell. (These two cases were consolidated by the D.C. Circuit and heard in 2014; the Court ruled against Priests for Life and the Washington Archdiocese in December 2014, after which the case was appealed to the Supreme Court, which consolidated these two cases with five others, comprising the case Zubik vs. Burwell. The Supreme Court recently sent the cases back to the four appellate courts from which they came. Hence, now, Priests for Life and the Archdiocese of Washington are together again in the D.C. court.)

The letter proposes that the appellants submit to the Court of Appeals in 30 days a status report on any progress made with the government in resolving the matter. The filing is the appellants’ first court submission since the Supreme Court action less than two weeks ago.

“The Supreme Court noted in its Zubik v. Burwell decision that the administration has confirmed that it could draft a regulation that meets our religious liberty concerns,” said Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life. “We are hopeful that the government will adhere to that confirmation and end this case quickly.”

Under the Supreme Court’s Zubik ruling, all seven lawsuits that were before the highest court were remanded to their respective appeals courts on May 16. In a move widely interpreted as favorable to Priests for Life and the other religious non-profit groups, the Court noted that the government has stated in a legal brief that its HHS mandate accommodation can be modified to protect the religious concerns of those organizations.

“This particular case to protect religious liberty has gone on for over four years,” added Fr. Pavone. “With the Supreme Court’s recent action that proposes a feasible solution, there’s no reason for the Obama administration to delay. It’s time for a resolution.”

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.

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