The White House is trying to create the impression that they are not violating religious liberty, but every time they make a “compromise,” it turns out that the central agenda – forcing religious people to pay for contraceptives and abortions against their conscience – hasn’t changed.
Obama wants to be viewed as the benign benefactor who graciously hears his subjects’ complaints and grants them an exemption. But the unalienable right to religious liberty comes from God, not government. It is not something that Obama can take away and then pretend to give back.
This is where Christians MUST draw the line. Even if this particular fight doesn’t affect your own personal liberty, if they win this battle, the next fight WILL.
Terence P. Jeffrey reports at CNS News:
HHS released a new proposed regulation under the Obamacare law that the department presented as an accommodation to religious “organizations” that object to providing sterilizations, contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs in their health care plans. However, the proposal does not truly expand the exceedingly narrow religious exemption presented in the initial regulation, which was finalized last year, and continues to offer no exemption at all to Christian individuals or business owners.
“There really is no expansion of the religious exemption,” said Leonard Leo, a Washington attorney, who is a board member of The Catholic Association, a group of Catholic lay persons dedicated to applying the teachings and principles of the church to the issues of the day.
“The HHS mandate announcement today changes nothing, it is just another accounting gimmick and the HHS mandate continues to be a violation of civil rights, religious freedom and First Amendment rights,” said Maureen Ferguson, senior policy advisor to The Catholic Association. “Catholic institutions and other faith based organizations, including hospitals and universities and private employers, still do not get their First Amendment rights back and are still being forced to either violate their faith or pay crippling government fines for practicing their faith.”
Read more at CNS News
Naturally, this is not going over well in the faith community:
“Today’s proposed rule does nothing to protect the religious liberty of millions of Americans,” said Kyle Duncan, General Counsel for The Becket Fund, a conservative legal organization that is representing several groups in the lawsuits against the mandate, including Hobby Lobby.
“The rights of family businesses like Hobby Lobby are still being violated,” said Duncan, adding that lawyers with his group are still studying what effect the rules will have for other non-profits such as Ave Maria University and EWTN.
“Once again, President Obama’s so-called ‘compromise’ is unacceptable – religious and moral freedom is not up for negotiation,” said Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) President Marjorie Dannenfelser.
“There must be no religious ‘test’ by the government as to who, and what type of entities, are entitled to a conscience. We demand respect for non-religious entities such as the Susan B. Anthony Listthat recognize the taking of human life is the antithesis of health care,” she said.
According to Dannenfelser, “The only acceptable outcome is the complete repeal of the HHS mandate and the restoration of a thriving marketplace where Americans can choose health care coverage consistent with their beliefs.”
Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life agreed.
“We at Priests for Life remind the administration that religious liberty does not just belong to religious groups and individuals,” said Fr. Pavone. “It belongs to all Americans. Objections to contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs aren’t based just on dogmas and Bibles, but on adverse health consequences and the fact that human beings, no matter how small, should not be killed.”
“We see only one acceptable change regarding the mandate: rescind it completely,” he said.
Read more at Life Site News
Obama will never do that voluntarily, but the courts appear to be on our side:
On Friday, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a preliminary injunction against the contraceptive mandate on behalf of Annex Medical. The Catholic-owned company, which manufactures medical devices, lost its bid for an injunction at the district court level. The 8th Circuit said the district court in its ruling against Annex misunderstood the precedent that came from another 8th Circuit ruling in an earlier mandate challenge (O’Brien Industries v. HHS). The 8th Circuit clarified both Annex and O’Brien Industries qualified for a preliminary injunction.
Annex is unique in that it only has 16 full-time employees, so the owner isn’t required to provide health insurance. The healthcare law requires employers provide health insurance only if they have more than 50 employees, but Annex’s Catholic owner, Stuart Lind, said his faith compels him to provide health insurance coverage to his employees. He objects to contraceptive, sterilization, and abortifacient coverage.
The Annex ruling gives religious business owners an 11-3 record in courts.
Read more at World Magazine
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