Day of Prayer and Fasting

Ary Scheffer, The Temptation of Christ (1854)

Some of the Catholics in the Diocese of Arlington called for today to be a special Day of Prayer and Fasting in solidarity with the US Bishops against the HHS mandate. It’s a very good idea. If you can’t do a traditional fast today (two small meals and a normal sized one), I encourage you to substitute something else in its place (give up TV or music or something). Fill those gaps with prayer for the bishops, for President Obama and his Administration, for religious freedom, and for a conversion of hearts and minds.

The timing is perfect. There are rumors that the president will announce an alternative plan today, requiring insurance companies, rather than religious organizations, to pay for contraception.  This is certainly better, but it’s still a violation of conscience rights.  I said in an e-mail yesterday that it’s almost as if the prospect of the public and the Church paying for contraception and abortion is so severe that we’re willing to accept the public paying for contraception and abortion. We shouldn’t be.

Today, we might find out whether that’s the case.

Update: It’s as bad as I feared.  My reaction here.


  1. You last point is spot on. I’m a mechanical engineer, working for a mechanical contractor. I don’t want to be forced to pay for contraception, sterilization, or abortion.

    The new policy just says, “Catholic institutions don’t have to pay for abortion and contraception, but individual Catholics do.”

    The result is that either way, the same exact number of Catholics will be forced to subsidize things that violate their conscience.

  2. Thanks, Rev. Hans. And Cary’s right: we see prayer and fasting as a solid Biblical practice (Luke 5:35; Acts 13:2-3; Acts 14:23). It’s how Nineveh was saved (Jonah 3:5).

    I see this as bigger than a Catholic issue. This is about whether the government has the right to play favorites with religious organizations, and the right to violate institutions and individuals’ religious beliefs. It’s the sort of thing we rightly condemn other countries for. So please, don’t feel that being Lutheran disqualifies you from fasting and praying with us!



  3. I hate to break this to you, but it is against the by-laws. Many do not notice the fine print; we cannot participate unless it is in a social justice campaign for the Left. I could pray and fast with my brothers and sisters…if we were against the School of the Americas or over the right to get an abortion. This is known as the “Jesuit Rule” because we can be in solidarity only when the Jesuits are doing it. Sadly, this situation does not apply.

    Do you not believe me? Read our Social Statement on Abortion ( and try not to vomit. You thought that this was just humor at first, but now it just got sad. Jesuit Rule in action! Bam!

  4. Rev. Hans,

    1) I hope you’ll forgive some rather blunt talk about the church you’re a part of. I found it skin-crawling just to read the link you sent. Are these folks worshiping God or Molech (Leviticus 18:21)?

    2) And it seems like it’s actually worse than all that: this Lutheran (ex-ELCA) blogger claims that the ELCA requires insurance coverage for abortion for all church employees. Is that true?

    3) One would think that even as a religious organization that approves of its children being murdered in vitro, the ECLA might at least have the clarity of vision to recognize that an attack on religious liberty is bad for all religious institutions. I feel like pastor Niemoller would have had something to say on this point.

    4) “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20). That’s a stark choice, and one that it sounds like the ELCA is (at best) punting on.

    5) As an ELCA pastor, how do you make sense of all of this? I’m left without a more coherent question, but how do you remain an ELCA pastor, knowing that tithe money is intentionally used for such morally-abominable purposes?

    6) A number of denominations have embarrassing histories on slavery, and history looks fondly on those who stood up to their own denominations in defense of truth and right. After all, you work for God first, the ELCA second, right?

    Anyways, I know that was all a bit blunt, so I hope you’ll forgive any rudeness. I’d still suggest you pray over whether you’re called to violate the “Jesuit rule” and take a stand (publicly or privately) on the single most important human rights and civil rights issue of our day.



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