Advocacy and Witness Office Issues Statement on Religious Liberty and Contraception Issue

The Church of the Brethren’s advocacy and peace witness office based in Washington, D.C., has issued a statement on the current issues with regard to religious liberty and the provision of health insurance coverage for contraception.

The statement, issued today Feb. 10, is based on previous statements of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference and follows in full:

“The Church of the Brethren was founded, in part, by eight people who believed in the principle of religious liberty. Throughout our history we have consistently advocated for the right of conscience, particularly in relation to military service and conscientious objection. This concern for religious liberty extends not only to ourselves but to all people of faith seeking to put their beliefs into practice. This is represented in our 1989 Annual Conference statement ‘No Force in Religion: Religious Liberty in the 21st Century,’ which states, among other things, that we should ‘resist all coercive government acts that would intrude on religious institutions.’

“The Church of the Brethren has advocated for the rights of women, and encouraged society to remove barriers from women enjoying the equality of opportunity and exercising the freedom of choice. This is best represented in the 1970 Annual Conference ‘Resolution on Equality for Women.’ We also have advocated for the recognition of health care as a human right, and sought universal access. We expressed this in our 1989 Annual Conference ‘Statement on Health Care in the United States.’

“The current controversy over exemptions for religious institutions regarding insurance coverage of contraceptives appears to set these values in contradiction. The requirements of adequate health care for all people and the conscience of religious individuals and employers, however, need not be treated as mutually exclusive. What is more, these values need not be treated as bargaining tokens for social change. In this spirit, we urge the Obama Administration and the faith community to move forward together towards a solution that is both respectful of religious liberty and protects the rights of all persons, especially low-income women, to receive necessary and adequate health care.”

For more information contact Jordan Blevins, Advocacy Officer and Ecumenical Peace Coordinator, , 202-481-6943 (office), 410-596-2664 (cell). Find links to the Annual Conference statements at .

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