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19 July 2014
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Bishop warns Obama Government against redefining religion
15 July 2014 12:04 by Sarah Mac Donald

A leading American bishop has warned the Obama Administration it should not try to define who the beneficiaries of the Bill of Rights are.

Speaking on 4 July in Co Kildare, Ireland, Bishop Frank Caggiano of Bridgeport, Connecticut gave a positive reaction to the US Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in the Burwell v Hobby Lobby case.

The court found by a 5-4 majority that “for-profit” corporations may invoke religious liberty to avoid compliance with the contraception-coverage mandate of the 2010 health-care reform law.

However, the government mandate requires non-profit organisations such as Catholic charities, hospitals and schools to provide contraceptive coverage, placing them in direct conflict with the Church’s teachings.

Praising the Court’s decision as “a very logical ruling”, the 55-year-old bishop warned the US Government that America is “on a very slippery slope” if it attempts to define the beneficiaries of the Bill of Rights. “The great difficulty with what is going on in the US is the fact that for the first time in the history of our country, the executive branch of Government, through an administrative code, is defining what religion actually is,” Bishop Caggiano said.

He warned that depending on how the Government decides to define religion, what was decided for one generation might result in victimisation in another generation. The Bishop of Bridgeport said religions should have the freedom to define their own religious character. “That is at the heart of the matter,” he said.

Bishop Caggiano also called on the Obama Administration to address the issue of immigration “comprehensively”. He told The Tablet that the fact that immigrants are “left to live in the shadows of society, with basic needs not being met, is an injustice.”