Religious Liberty in the United States: It’s Gone

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“Every man, conducting himself as a good citizen, and being accountable to God alone for his religious opinions, ought to be protected in worshiping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience.” 

~ George Washington, Letter, United Baptist Chamber of Virginia May 1789 

 

Religious freedom is precious, not just to people who are religious, but to everyone. The victims are The Little Sisters of the Poor today, but it will be you tomorrow.

The HHS Mandate isn’t about religious freedom alone, it’s about freedom, our Bill of Rights, our First Amendment.

There was and is no urgent need to force religious people to provide the services as outlined by the HHS Mandate. There is no crisis. It was manufactured to deprive religious people of their freedoms.

Our government is not only depriving select citizens of their rights and their ability to follow their conscience, they are trying to change the way we as Americans think about religious freedom. They want us to believe the government has the right to supersede our religious liberty and our freedoms in general. They want them to be much more restricted with an all-powerful government in charge.

There is a group doing something about it. Please listen to this video:

Catholics for Freedom of Religion

We can’t say we have religious freedom today. The HHS Mandate is about much more than forcing nuns and monks to provide – directly or indirectly – abortifacients, birth control, and sterilizations, it is about the government defining who and what is religious freedom and when and where they can practice their right of conscience, and placing government over conscience.

This concept can easily be applied to our other freedoms once entrenched into our government and our society.

The “HHS mandate can only be understood as a form of coercion, the day when Americans could take the Founders’ understanding of religious freedom as a given is over,” said Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia, “We need to wake up.”

Back in 2010, a new rule was added to the Affordable Healthcare Act – the HHS mandate. It requires all employers cover the costs of contraception, sterilization, and abortion drugs. The rule violates the conscience of Christians and Orthodox Jews who are pro-life.

The rule narrowly defines those who qualify for exemptions from the rule. It omitted religious universities, social service organizations, schools, and the religious owners of businesses among others.

The president who exempts everyone else, won’t exempt them. Why?

It was a completely unnecessary rule in the first place. Free or nearly-free birth control and abortifacients are available through Planned Parenthood on a sliding scale.

The fine for employers not abiding by the rule is insurmountable at $100 per employee per day.

Catholic hospitals, clinics, and social service agencies are threatening to close rather than violate their conscience.

Catholic Charities is one of the organizations affected. They are the second largest social service provider in the country. They provide services for the poor, elderly, the addicted, homeless and so much more. They are a social justice agency which is something President Obama purports to support.

The Catholic hospitals associated with the Catholic Health Association alone account for 530,673  full-time and 235,221 part-time employees. Collectively, those hospitals could face millions of dollars in fees each day.

The Catholic Bishops objected. President Obama’s response was to divide the church leaders by winning the support of the very liberal Jesuits and of Sister Keehan who runs Catholic Charities. He acted quickly before the Pope weighed in on the matter. It has since been corrected.

Michelle Obama hailed the mandate in speeches.

A formerly unknown Georgetown student – Sandra Fluke – went on the campaign trail proclaiming the dire need for all women to have free birth control. Her campaign was orchestrated by Nancy Pelosi.

President Obama and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius refused to back down on the mandate, despite the promises Mr. Obama made to Cardinal Dolan that he would not do exactly what he is doing. Mr. Obama lied to Cardinal Dolan.

Obama and Sebelius came up with a plan that allowed objectors to pay indirectly, as if paying for abortion drugs indirectly would satisfy one’s moral conscience.

HHS gave the religious organizations a one-year reprieve which was extended to January 1, 2014. They still won’t back down.

In addition to religious organizations, companies owned by religious people will refuse to violate their beliefs. One such company is Hobby Lobby whose owners have promised to close their doors. They would lose $1.3 million a day if subjected to the fines. When they objected, they were subjected to a campaign by assorted liberal organizations claiming Hobby Lobby was hiring slave labor in China.

The Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty is handling many of the cases, including the Hobby Lobby case which was heard by the liberal 10th Circuit Court in May.

One of the cases in The Beckett Fund’s lawsuit is that of Belmont Abbey, a college run by monks which accepts no public money. The government wants monks to pay for abortion drugs. Monks!

The IRS, which has been targeting religious organizations, has the power to decide who is eligible for the full Obamacare exemption. The IRS gets to decide who will be allowed to minister to the sick, poor, and needy. The IRS will decide who is allowed to exercise their conscience rights.

The government is essentially telling people that they can exercise freedom of religion except when the government says they can’t. They are forcing American citizens to accept the government’s conscience first before all religious and personal moral conscience.

Obama went after the Presbyterians. He tried to control their hiring and firing practices but lost at the Supreme Court level.

In February 2012, the U.S. Army ordered Catholic chaplains to not read a letter from the Archbishop protesting the Obama administration’s mandate requiring coverage of contraceptives in health-care plans.

The Archbishop asked all military chaplains to read his letter, calling for efforts to reverse the administration’s policy, at Sunday Mass.

After negotiating, the Secretary of the Army rescinded the order but required the Archbishop to remove a line from that letter saying that Catholics “cannot—and will not—comply with this unjust law.”

That adds infringement of free speech rights to the original affront. That’s what I mean when I say we will lose our Bill of Rights. Once one goes down, they all go down.

Eric Holder, who allows anyone and everyone to immigrate here illegally is trying to deport an Evangelical German family, the Romeike family, who fled their country because they wanted to home school their children and it’s against the law in Germany. The German authorities were planning to take their children from them and will do so if the family is returned to Germany. They were home schooling so they could teach their children their religious values.

There are other cases.

In the next video, Rep. Cuthbertson fights for religious freedom for veterans upon burial. You won’t believe what went on, especially at about 04:00:

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