Franciscan Sister Renee Mirkes shares on her experience at the Nebraska Catholic Conference.
The Nebraska Catholic Conference asked if I would respond to Governor Rickett’s declaration of Religious Freedom Day in Nebraska from the Catholic perspective. I was honored to be asked and thought I’d share with you the text of my response which I enclosed in a thank you card to the Governor in the shape of—what else—but the state of Nebraska, decorated in the Husker colors of Black and Red. Here’s the content of my response:
“On behalf of religious healthcare providers: Clinicians, especially those involved in obstetrics and gynecology, like my colleagues at the St. Paul VI Institute, hold fast to the claim that the First Amendment right of religious liberty is not merely the right to worship, but necessarily includes the right to exercise religion in their personal and professional lives. Toward that end, they are steadfastly dedicated to regenerating the “first freedom” of health care rights of conscience so that secular and religious liberty interests can coexist in contemporary healthcare. In our estimation, Governor Ricketts, your Religious Freedom Day is the perfect time to spotlight religious liberty in healthcare. A perfect occasion to engage the minds and hearts of those involved in healthcare administration and in political life to work diligently in the state of Nebraska to strengthen and expand legislative protections for the right of conscientious objection to medical interventions that circumvent conscience, that is, betray the health and wellbeing of patients and the objective moral truth of basic human needs and goods.”
“On behalf of their patients: Pro-life, religious patients also have a right to access women’s healthcare which conforms to the light of their well-formed conscience. But, you see, that’s impossible when all that’s available are clinicians who adhere to a consensus ethics based on an ever-shifting moral relativism. Without providers who are dedicated to offering healthcare in the Judeo-Christian tradition of reason perfected by faith, women trying to get good obstetric/gynecological medical help are denied their civil right of religious freedom as well as their human need for life and health, for family and procreation.”