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‘Code Blue’ effort seeks religious liberty

    The idea that the U.S. government can mandate how individuals or religious-sponsored organizations practice their faith should be egregious to anyone who calls himself American.
    So when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a mandate in January under the Affordable Health Care Act, many took notice.

    Even with the accommodation that President Obama made in February requiring insurance providers – and not the actual employers – to pay for the services that are morally objectionable, it didn’t really change the crux of the law.
    As employers, religious institutions would still have to choose to comply with the mandate to provide contraceptives, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs even when they morally or religiously object. It could threaten the future of charities and religious schools of all faiths.
    Brainstorming around the kitchen table recently, a group of local women came up with the idea of flooding elected officials in Washington with letters urging an overturning of the HHS mandate, which took effect Aug. 1. The letters would be mailed in distinctive “blue” envelopes with a campaign called “America Code Blue – Restoring our Nation’s Religious Freedoms.”
Let your voice be heard
    One of the organizers, Lauren Lagarde, said America Code Blue packets have form letters addressed to local congressmen and senators and information on the campaign. Packets have been distributed at most Catholic parishes in the archdiocese and also have been sent to Protestant leaders and to the Religious Liberties committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
    Lagarde said the group has three campaign goals in mind:
    ➤ 1. Let elected officials know how people feel about the mandate and flood Washington with a sea of blue.
    ➤ 2. Educate people in the pews. “When people hear about the HHS mandate, they think it’s about contraception, and it’s not. It’s an affront to our religious liberties in our country.”
    ➤ 3. A desire to get media attention to keep the issue in the forefront.
    Target mailings to elected Washington politicians will begin Sept. 8 and continue through the Nov. 6 presidential election. “We will continue sending letters to Washington (through the election) as long as we get them,” Lagarde said.
    This grassroots effort started with approximately 15 women in the Archdiocese of New Orleans, but it is a call to Americans of all faiths and creeds to get involved and stop government intrusion on freedom. The campaign has gained interest in other states including Ohio and Texas, Lagarde said.
    “We ask others to send (the letter to elected officials) to their friends elsewhere in the country, so it can take root,” Lagarde said.
    Visit the website for details and where to contact elected officials from all states. Locally, call Sally Steger at 615-8138 or Lauren Lagarde at 861-1456. The committee is providing the blue envelopes, but will accept donations for postage.
    Christine Bordelon can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .