According to the Chicago Tribune, “Owners of Chicago Bears” held a “religious meeting against contraception edict” on Sunday, October 14, 2012 at Chicago Bears headquarters in north suburban Chicago. Principal owner, Virginia McCaskey, and her son Patrick were on hand at the meeting of “Chicago business leaders, Media personalities, religious leaders of all faiths [Christian, Jewish, and Islamic],” for a “religious liberty summit.” Those principally responsible for the meeting are Christopher and Mary Anne Yep, co-owners of of Triune Health Group.

That the HHS mandate helped to precipitate this meeting, I think it is fair to say. While much of the meeting addressed the broader issue of religious liberty, the mandate was mentioned several times as the most blatant example of government violation of the religious conscience.

Democratic Congressman Dan Lipinski of IL 3rd Congressional District once again related how Bart Stupak and other “Pro-Life” Democratic Congressmen met with President Obama to hear his pitch for their crucial votes for Obamacare–promising them that he would use an executive order to prohibit any abortion funding in the bill. Lipinski wouldn’t buy the President’s blatant and empty ruse, but Stupak and Company did, which gave Obamacare the votes it needed to pass Congress. The HHS Mandate is in place because Obama–and the Democrats–want it in place.

Not only are religious institutions suing the federal government over the HHS-mandate, private citizens who run businesses are as well, since it will force them to pay for abortifacients. Currently, there are 30 cases pending in federal courts.

In the case of religious institutions, the exemption from the mandate is so narrowly defined that “we have to ask our employees if they are Roman Catholic” and have to “ask our clients if they are Roman Catholics.” If they are not all Catholics, then a Catholic hospital is not exempt, even though the hospital was founded by, say, a religious order in fulfilling their religious, Catholic, vocation.

Few citizens are aware of the details of this restriction on religious practice, and fewer still are even award there is serious issue here. Most Chicago-area Christians, I’d wager,  know approximately “how the Bears are doing this year,” but not many aware of the growing threat to religious liberty.