Is religious freedom as understood by the Founding Fathers now defeated along with our free speech, privacy rights and states rights?
In his May 24th letter to parishioners, Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia, said that the administration needlessly made Obamacare into a religious liberty issue – the Catholic Church supports the principles of Obamacare.
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 the archbishop, “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.
It was a completely unnecessary rule. 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.
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.
President Obama and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius refused to back down. They 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 ends on August 1st of this year.
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.
Read background information on this link.