The Washington Times - March 14, 2012, 06:31PM

Catholic Church leaders have vowed to continue fighting President Obama’s contraception coverage rule, saying they will publish a treatise of sorts on why they believe the mandate violates religious liberty.

“This is not about the religious freedom of Catholics only, but also of those who recognize that their cherished beliefs may be next on the block,” the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote in a statement released Wednesday.


The bishops initially led the opposition to the administration’s requirement for employers to provide employees with all FDA-approved contraception without charging a co-pay or deductible, insisting that Catholic charities, hospitals and schools shouldn’t be required to pay for something their religion forbids.

Other religious leaders have since joined the fight, accusing the administration of trampling on religious liberty even though the president extended an exemption to not just churches, but other religious organizations as well.

The bishops thanked all who have joined them in opposing the mandate. “With your continued help, we will not be divided, and we will continue forward as one,” they wrote.

And they said the struggle isn’t about the Catholic Church and its stance against birth control, but about upholding religious liberty for all. Calling the exemption “arbitrarily narrow,” they said the government has brought the firestorm on itself by refusing to extend conscience protections to all employers.

“This is not a fight we want or asked for, but one forced upon us by government on its own timing,” they wrote. “Finally, this is not a Republican or Democratic, a conservative or liberal issue; it is an American issue.”