(via Balloon Juice)
At a Jesuit institution in Ohio, though, some members of the faculty and staff have joined the debate, signing a letter urging the university’s president to accept the Obama administration’s compromise on contraception coverage and asking him to push Roman Catholic bishops to do the same.
Under President Obama’s health care overhaul, employer-sponsored insurance plans would be required to cover birth control for women at no charge due to a new rule that considers contraception preventive care. Catholic and some evangelical colleges objected strongly to the rule, arguing that it would require them to violate their beliefs. A proposed compromise — that insurers, not employers, would pay for the birth control coverage — has done little to quell the outrage.
When the compromise was announced Feb. 10, many college groups said they were heartened that the Obama administration listened to their concerns. But since then, more colleges have filed suit over the requirement, and the controversy appears far from over.
Forty-seven faculty and staff members at John Carroll University, including professors, librarians and at least two members of the administration, signed a letter to the Jesuit college’s president, the Rev. Robert Niehoff.
“We … are committed to freedom of conscience and religious liberty,” the faculty wrote, adding that Catholic bishops have the right to “proclaim Catholic teaching vigorously and loudly.”
“However, we also believe that access to contraception is central to the health and well-being of women and children.”
The letter acknowledges that the faculty members who sign might disagree over whether the religious accommodation was necessary at all. “We are all troubled that the bishops have chosen a path of continued confrontation,” they wrote, questioning the bishop’s motives for rejecting the compromise.
“We believe the faculty and the administration of John Carroll University need to take a stand in the face of the bishops’ unwillingness to accept the compromise offered by the Obama administration,” the letter concludes. “We thus ask that, along with the presidents of other Catholic and Jesuit universities, you urge the bishops to avoid the inflammatory rhetoric they have been using to attack the administration's policy. We ask you to stand up to those who would play politics with women’s health.”
As soon a s I read the words At a Jesuit institution in Ohio, I knew it would be about John Carroll University….