Jewish leaders OK Catholic conversion statement

Jewish leaders are welcoming a revised statement from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that rejects suggestions that interfaith dialogue could lead to the conversion and baptism of Jews.

American Jewish organizations had raised concerns that a document released by the bishops in June reversed earlier statements and indicated that dialogue between Catholics and Jews could be used as an opportunity to proselytize.

No place in civil debate for Holocaust comparisons

WASHINGTON -- Religious leaders are urging their colleagues and politicians to keep comparisons to Nazism and the Holocaust out of American public policy debates.

The Interfaith Alliance responded to a recent onslaught of references to Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust, particularly as an analogy to the current discussion on health care reform.

Health regulation allows 'conscience' exceptions

WASHINGTON — A new federal regulation will allow healthcare workers to abstain from performing abortions or any service they object to on religious or moral grounds.

The regulation, introduced Thursday (Dec. 18) by the Department of Health and Human Services, is directed primarily at shielding those with religious or moral objections to abortion or sterilization. But its scope could be much wider, including those opposed to assisted suicide, sex change operations or even vaccinations and family planning.

The rule says healthcare workers cannot be discriminated against for refusing to participate in objectionable procedures. The definition of workers is defined broadly, to include volunteers as well as janitors and others not directly engaged in the procedures.

The regulation goes into effect in 30 days, just before the end of the Bush White House. It can be overturned by the incoming Obama administration, and some lawmakers are already taking steps to change it through legislation.