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Posts Tagged ‘YDA Faith & Values Initiative’

  • A Win for Women and People of Faith

    February 11, 2012

    Yesterday President Obama announced a landmark decision on preventive care which safeguards religious freedom while also maintaining increased access to contraception for all women. Lauded by Sister Carol Keehan, president of the Catholic Health Association, as well as Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, the ruling ensures that all women receive free contraception as part of their health insurance plans and that employers who conscientiously disagree with contraception will not be forced to pay for it.

    “The framework developed has responded to the issues we identified that needed to be fixed,” Sister Keehan said.

    “We believe the compliance mechanism does not compromise a woman’s ability to access these critical birth control benefits,” said Richards.

    “Nearly 99 percent of all women have relied on contraception at some point in their lives –- 99 percent.  And yet, more than half of all women between the ages of 18 and 34 have struggled to afford it.  So for all these reasons, we decided to follow the judgment of the nation’s leading medical experts and make sure that free preventive care includes access to free contraceptive care,” President Obama said yesterday. “Now, as we move to implement this rule, however, we’ve been mindful that there’s another principle at stake here –- and that’s the principle of religious liberty, an inalienable right that is enshrined in our Constitution.  As a citizen and as a Christian, I cherish this right.”

    When the Department of Health and Human Services announced the rule requiring employers, with the exception of places of worship, to provide contraception as part of their healthcare plans, the President made sure that religious-affiliated organizations were given an extra year to implement this so that he could work out a solution for those who object to contraception because of their religious beliefs. With the announcement of yesterday’s decision, he made good on his promise by protecting religious freedom while also making sure that all women have access to important preventive care.

    This policy is especially important to President Obama because, as a person of faith, he understands the value of the work faith-affiliated organizations do and the major contributions they make to their communities. “My first job in Chicago was working with Catholic parishes in poor neighborhoods, and my salary was funded by a grant from an arm of the Catholic Church,” the President said. “And I saw that local churches often did more good for a community than a government program ever could, so I know how important the work that faith-based organizations do and how much impact they can have in their communities. “ From personal experience, he deeply understands and believes the notion that we are greater together, and he sees the critical role religious organizations play in this. Through his Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, the President has made a concerted effort to empower religious organizations to fight poverty, improve education and access to healthcare, and promote fatherhood and mentoring.

    Echoing the sentiments that the President expressed at the National Prayer Breakfast, yesterday’s ruling demonstrates President Obama’s continued commitment to the core American values of religious liberty and women’s health. It also reaffirms his enduring dedication to the work of religious organizations and faithful Americans. We are thrilled for the families who will benefit from this provision of the President’s healthcare legislation and we areexcited to see the continuation of the strong partnershipsthat have been built between faith-based organizations and the Obama Administration.

    Josh Dickson is Director of the YDA Faith & Values Initiative. The Rev. Derrick Harkins is the Faith Outreach Director of the Democratic National Committee.



  • What’s at Stake: Values & the 2012 Presidential Election

    February 03, 2012

    The 2012 presidential election presents young voters with a choice between two fundamentally different visions for America. Much is at stake and, as citizens of this great nation, we collectively shoulder tremendous responsibility to vote for the candidate who best represents the core values that have made us who we are as the United States of America and who will move us forward in difficult times.

    At the National Prayer Breakfast yesterday, President Obama spoke clearly and compellingly of the values that guide his vision for the future of our nation. Citing the importance of morality in our politics and policy, the President asserted that “We can’t leave our values at the door. If we leave our values at the door, we abandon much of the moral glue that has held our nation together for centuries, and allowed us to become somewhat of a more perfect union.” He proceeded by enumerating the fundamental precepts that drive his policymaking and laid out a foundational framework for thinking about values in the public square. “Treating others as you want to be treated.  Requiring much from those who have been given so much.  Living by the principle that we are our brother’s keeper.  Caring for the poor and those in need…Today, with as many challenges as we face, these are the values I believe we’re going to have to return to in the hopes that God will buttress our efforts.” The President also called on Americans to live out our values “not just with words, but with deeds.”

    As young Americans, we stand by President Obama’s words and also his deeds. We stand by his values-based vision for our country which has led to the expansion of healthcare coverage for people who can’t afford it. We stand by his efforts to expand opportunity for all Americans by improving our public schools, increasing access to higher education and job training, and reforming our broken financial and mortgage systems. We are heartened by our President’s willingness to stand by gay and lesbian Americans, undocumented immigrants, and our brothers and sisters caught in the nefarious web of poverty that confines the lives and potential of too many in the richest nation in the world. In trying times, President Obama represents what is right for America and we are confident in his leadership, integrity and resolve to take us into the future better and stronger together.

    The President faces an important test, however, in this November’s election. His opponents have significant financial resources and will stop at nothing to defeat him. Unfortunately for our country, they represent an out of touch, individualistic vision for the United States that significantly strays from our core values. Instead of presenting policies and practicing politics that emphasize the “greater together”, e pluribus unum nature that has defined America since its founding, they have each embraced the Paul Ryan budget which takes two-thirds of its cuts from services that help level the opportunity playing field for low-income Americans. Given that Mitt Romney is “not concerned about the very poor” in the toughest time since the Great Depression and New Gingrich’s solution for closing the opportunity gap for African American children is to put them to work as school janitors, this comes as no surprise. Yet it is no less disheartening. We are facing incredible challenges as a nation. We need a leader who puts the American people first rather than winning the next election.

    The 2012 election presents us with a choice that will impact us in the short- and long-term and have significant ramifications not only on what gets done in Washington, but what type of country we want to be moving forward. Join us in supporting President Obama and affirming that, as Americans, we will emerge from these difficult times greater together rather than farther apart.

    - Rod, Colmon & Josh

    Rod Snyder is President of the Young Democrats of America
    Colmon Elridge is Executive VP of the Young Democrats of America
    Josh Dickson is the Director of the YDA Faith & Values Initiative