Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State. Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?

Hearing Date: February 16, 2012 12:00 am

Americans of all faiths have a right to practice their religion free from the fear of persecution or harassment from their government. Our nation’s founders believed this and enshrined religious freedom into the First Amendment to the Constitution.

While some Americans may not feel that government mandates forcing them to pay for contraception are an infringement on their religious beliefs, others consider it to be an assault against their freedom of conscience. A government policy that encroaches on the conscientious objections of religious groups concerns all Americans who value the protections of the First Amendment. Today, the committee will hear testimony from leaders of different faiths. They are concerned that government, under this Administration, is encroaching on their First Amendment rights.

The Administration’s actions have forced us to confront a more fundamental question about the proper role of government in our lives.

This hearing is about basic question of religious freedom, and whether or not protection will be afforded to religious institutions who wish to follow their conscience in refusing to pay for products they find morally objectionable. I look forward to hearing from today’s witnesses.


Witnesses and testimonies

Name Title Organization Panel Document
The Most Reverend William E. Lori Roman Catholic Bishop of Bridgeport, CT Chairman Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Panel 1 Document
The Reverend Dr. Matthew C. Harrison President The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod Document
C. Ben Mitchell, Ph.D. Graves Professor of Moral Philosophy Union University Document
Rabbi Meir Soloveichik Director of the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought, Yeshiva University Associate Rabbi, Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun Document
Craig Mitchell, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Ethics, Chair of the Ethics Department, Associate Director of the Richard Land Center for Cultural Engagement Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Document
John H. Garvey President The Catholic University of America Panel 2 Document
Dr. William K. Thierfelder President Belmont Abbey College Document
Dr. Samuel W. Oliver President East Texas Baptist University Document
Dr. Allison Dabbs Garrett Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Oklahoma Christian University Document
Laura Champion, M.D. Medical Director Calvin College Health Services Document
Barry W. Lynn, Esq. (invited) Executive Director Americans United for Separation of Church and State

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