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A new HHS Mandate memorandum issued by the U.S. Attorney General’s Office on October 6 is a major victory in the continued battle for religious liberty in the United States.
The Oct. 6 memo is the latest sign of hope that members of the Memorare Army for Religious Freedom at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., have been praying for. Benedictine College President Stephen D. Minnis began the prayer campaign at the request of Kansas City-Kansas Archbishop Joseph Naumann in 2013.
President Minnis pointed out that the Oct. 6 federal memo came on the eve of the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.
“Our Lady takes our prayers seriously. Her intercession defended the faith when the Pope called for rosaries in the Battle of Lepanto, making Oct. 7 the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, and we can be sure she is responding to the 3 million prayers from the Memorare Army for Religious Liberty today.”
Becket Fund Chairman William Mumma spoke to Benedictine College students shortly before the Oct. 6 memo was released, saying that winning back religious freedom is just a start.
“The Constitution is not going to save us. All it does is give you legal rights to stand up for your beliefs,” he said. “Unless people in your generation stand up for your beliefs, our work won’t matter.”
The memo will further protect the Little Sisters of the Poor and others from having to act against their religious beliefs or face crippling punitive fines.
The Becket Fund for Religious liberty defended the Little Sisters of the Poor all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to fight the “HHS Mandate” of 2012, the federal government’s attempt to force institutions to violate their consciences with regard to abortifacient and contraceptive drugs.
In 2013, the Memorare Army quickly won pledges for 1 million Memorares from members in all 50 states and overseas. Even Rwandan author Immaculée Ilibagiza joined Benedictine College’s Memorare Army for Religious Freedom.
“We cannot — we will not — comply with this unjust law,” said Archbishop Naumann. With his help the college avoid religious liberty issues with its own health plan. Naumann addressed senior theology and philosophy majors on the topic of defending religious liberty several times.
The Memorare Army for Religious Freedom is only one of several actions the college has taken to protect religious liberty.
President Minnis said: “The moral of the story is to never give up — prayer does not go unanswered and hard work does not go unrewarded. Our next task is to pray and work even more.”