Friday, January 19, 2018
The Central Conference of American Rabbis views with deep concern the establishment of a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) formally designated for matters of ”conscience and religious freedom.” While conscience and religious freedom are obviously fundamental concerns to Reform rabbis, this HHS initiative seems intended to permit health care providers to refuse safe, legal medical care on the grounds of an asserted religious objection. Specifically, this new division of HHS could sanction discrimination on the pretext of religious principles, restricting access to sexual and reproductive health care for all Americans, and limiting availability of any health care for LGBTQ Americans.
As Reform rabbis, we vigorously oppose any attempt to pervert the core American promise of religious liberty in order to justify bigotry and harm towards our fellow Americans.
We are heirs to a tradition taught by the great first century rabbi, Hillel: “What is hateful to you, do not do to any person.” Rejecting discrimination, we oppose the imposition of religious values upon others in ways that would limit their freedom or diminish their personhood. The CCAR calls upon the administration, Congress, HHS, and the Federal Judiciary to assure that religious liberty never be distorted to deny safe and legal health care to any person within our borders.
Rabbi David E. Stern Rabbi Steven A. Fox
President Chief Executive
Central Conference of American Rabbis