The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has published a strong letter of warning (signed by Bishops William F. Murphy, Cardinal Justin Rigali, and Bishop John Wester) urging all Congressmen and Senators that unless the current healthcare bills change radically, the USCCB will oppose it. The bishops focus their ire on issues such as abortion and conscience as well as immigrant access to healthcare.

The Catholic Key has the letter from the pro-life Secretariat but some important snippets are here:

…We are writing to express our disappointment that progress has not been made on the three priority criteria for health care reform that we have conveyed previously to Congress. In fact, the Senate Finance Committee rejected a conscience rights amendment accepted earlier by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. If final legislation does not meet our principles, we will have no choice but to oppose the bill.

The bishops strongly urge legislators to exclude abortion coverage and support conscience rights.

No one should be required to pay for or participate in abortion. It is essential that the legislation clearly apply to this new program longstanding and widely supported federal restrictions on abortion funding and mandates, and protections for rights of conscience. No current bill meets this test.

The letter goes on to ask legislators to “safeguard the health of immigrants, their children and all of society.” Personally, I think Congress is a heck of a lot more likely to cover illegal immigrants than it is to prohibit federal abortion funding.

The bishops continue:

We sincerely hope that the legislation will not fall short of our criteria. However, we remain apprehensive when amendments protecting freedom of conscience and ensuring no taxpayer money for abortion are defeated in committee votes. If acceptable language in these areas cannot be found, we will have to oppose the health care bill vigorously. Catholic moral tradition teaches that health care is a basic human right, essential to protecting human life and dignity. Much-needed reform of our health care system must be pursued in ways that serve the life and dignity of all, never in ways that undermine or violate these fundamental values. We will work tirelessly to remedy these central problems and help pass real reform that clearly protects the life, dignity and health of all.

Pretty strong letter. But didn’t they hear that Jesus wants everyone to vote for Obamacare. In fact, I can’t remember hearing so much about God from any previous President.

Rights as I’ve always understand them are God given and only defended by men. Rights such as this “right” to healthcare are given to us by men and defended with the name of God. Those kind of rights make me a little nervous.

Check out Catholic Key for more.