Timothy Dolan: Contraception Mandate Bucks Religious Freedom

Vows Roman Catholic Church Won't Back Down in Fight Against Health Care Mandate

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, the highest ranking Roman Catholic bishop in America, has affirmed his belief that Obamacare is a direct challenge to the freedom of religion in light of its mandate on contraceptive care, saying in a recent interview "we can't back down from this fight."

President Obama's push to force religious organizations to cover birth control in their insurance plans continues to draw protests and strife from Catholic and other Christian organizations around the country that oppose contraceptives in any way and see this legislation as a breach of their religious freedom.

"I don't want to act like I'm judging the president. I don't know. There are those who tell me that I was misled. There are those who tell me that you simply misunderstood," Dolan said Wednesday on Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor" when asked about his relationship with President Obama.

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Host Bill O'Reilly mentioned that in the last presidential election, many Catholics in the country – 54 percent – had voted in favor of Obama, a figure the Pew Forum's "How the Faithful Voted" says was the highest number out of all mainline Christian voters in the US.

The Fox host asked if the recent health insurance issue will be enough for Dolan to urge Catholics not to vote for Obama again.

The cardinal, however, remarked that he cannot tell anyone who to vote for.

"Even our... even very faithful Catholics, Bill, don't like their bishops or priests telling them how to vote on a person or even on a particular issue. They like us to speak about principle, they like us to get clear and cogent and compelling. They don't like us to get very personal. So I wouldn't -- I wouldn't say that, no," he explained.

Dolan insisted, however, that the Roman Catholic Church has no plans to back down from its firm opposition to the bill, because it believes the issue comes down not simply to birth control but the very essence of defending religious freedom.

"And I don't want to judge people, but I think there would be a drift in the administration that this is a good issue," Dolan said. "If we can divide the Catholic community because it's already divided, and if one can caricature the bishops as being hopelessly out of touch -- these bullies who are trying to achieve judicially and legislatively what they've been unable to achieve because their moral integrity has been compromised recently -- there is that force out there trying to caricature us."

"All right. But we can't back down from this fight because it's about religious freedom; it's close to the very heart of what the -- of what the democratic enterprise that we know and love as the United States of America is all about," Dolan surmised.

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