The Catholic Church, from the Pope down, has staked out a no-compromise position on the Blunt Amendment. Any individual must have an individual conscience exemption from any mandate.
In other words, by becoming a Christian Scientist, any businessman could totally nullify the mandate.
This is a short diary. The links are all in prior postings but they haven't been put together with the logical conclusion. I invite someone else to run with the logic and add the links. This needs to be put together and presented by columnists in other media.
The Catholic church is upping the ante to a position of the Blunt amendment or nothing – anybody gets to reject coverage for any medical procedure based upon a religious objection.
Pope’s verbal instructions to bishops:
Pope Benedict said that over the past few days many of the bishops have expressed concern over attempts in the U.S. to “deny the right of conscientious objection on the part of Catholic individuals and institutions with regard to cooperation in intrinsically evil practices.”
Meanwhile, other bishops raised the “worrying tendency to reduce religious freedom to mere freedom of worship” without guarantees of respect for freedom of conscience.
Press explanation later in US:
Anthony Picarello, general counsel for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:
"There has been a lot of talk [from the White House] in the last couple days about compromise, but it sounds to us like a way to turn down the heat, to placate people without doing anything in particular," Picarello said. "We're not going to do anything until this is fixed."
That means removing the provision from the health care law altogether, he said, not simply changing it for Catholic employers and their insurers. He cited the problem that would create for "good Catholic business people who can't in good conscience cooperate with this."
"If I quit this job and opened a Taco Bell, I'd be covered by the mandate," Picarello said.
Formal adoption of position in Bishops conference:
A violation of personal civil rights. The HHS mandate creates still a third class, those with no conscience protection at all: individuals who, in their daily lives, strive constantly to act in accordance with their faith and moral values. They, too, face a government mandate to aid in providing "services" contrary to those values—whether in their sponsoring of, and payment for, insurance as employers; their payment of insurance premiums as employees; or as insurers themselves—without even the semblance of an exemption. This, too, is unprecedented in federal law, which has long been generous in protecting the rights of individuals not to act against their religious beliefs or moral convictions. We have consistently supported these rights, particularly in the area of protecting the dignity of all human life, and we continue to do so.