Religious Liberty Under Attack



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ABSTRACTObamacare Contraception Mandate Attacks Religious Liberty The Heritage Network Heritage.org Libertad My Heritage Heritage Action More For Members My Heritage Ask Heritage Issues 33 Minutes Culture for Freedom Family Facts Fix Health Care Policy Order in the Court Overcriminalized Seek Social Justice Voices of School Choice Resources Budget Chart Book Index of Economic Freedom Issues 2010 Policy Experts Social Security Calculator Thatcher Center Resize: A A A Donate The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation Trending Obamacare School Choice Religious Freedom Syria Illegal Appointments Iran Overregulation Unemployment Leadership for America First Principles American Leadership Education Energy & Environment Enterprise & Free Markets Entitlements Family & Religion Health Care Protect America Rule of Law Archives Video Mobile Amazon Kindle Apple iPhone Morning Bell: Religious Liberty Under Attack Mike Brownfield February 22, 2012 at 9:50 am 91745 68 Comments http%3A%2F%2Fblog.heritage.org%2F2012%2F02%2F22%2Fmorning-bell-religious-liberty-under-attack%2F Morning+Bell%3A+Religious+Liberty+Under+Attack 2012-02-22+14%3A50%3A16 Mike+Brownfield http%3A%2F%2Fblog.heritage.org%2F%3Fp%3D91745 Today is Ash Wednesday — the first day of Lent — the beginning of 40 days of prayer and fasting observed by Christians across the country, culminating in the Easter feast. Likewise in April, Jews will gather to celebrate Passover, one of many traditions observed under the religious freedom that the U.S. Constitution was designed to preserve. Now, though, that freedom is under direct attack by the very government that purports to represent the people, and that is but the first step in Obamacare’s re-writing of America’s blueprint. This week, two more Christian colleges joined other religious institutions in fighting back against that attack when they filed lawsuits against the Obama Administration for imposing an anti-conscience mandate under Obamacare. The controversial regulation forces almost all employers to provide health insurance coverage of abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization, without a co-pay. Heritage’s Sarah Torre writes that Geneva College , a private institution in Pennsylvania associated with the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, and Louisiana College , a small Southern Baptist school located in the middle of the state, have deeply held moral objections to the mandate and are left with no choice but to take their case to court: With an offensively narrow religious exemption that will cover only some formal houses of worship, the mandate leaves many religious employers who hold moral objections to abortion and contraception without recourse. The mandate places the many non-exempted religious employers in an untenable situation: forced either to violate their beliefs by providing coverage of morally objectionable services or forgo providing employee health insurance altogether and pay hefty fines for doing so. To date, seven lawsuits have been filed in response to this mandate, and those legal actions are but the tip of the iceberg of opposition to the Administration’s despotic directive. The controversy began last August when the White House announced the anti-conscience policy as an interim final rule. Individuals and leaders from various faith backgrounds, including Roman Catholic, Jewish, evangelical, and Protestant traditions spoke out , prompting President Obama to announce an “accommodation” in response. But the proposal announced at a February 10 press conference would have done nothing to resolve the moral problem at the heart of the matter. In fact, more than 300 leaders to signed a letter deeming the gesture “unacceptable.” Moreover, the so-called “accommodation” turned out to be nothing more than a smokescreen, since the Obama Administration ultimately finalized the August version of the rule that had caused the controversy in the first place. Adding insult to injury, the White House finalized the rule within hours of holding a press conference in which the President implied further changes — repeating the disregard for accountability to the American people first seen when they were told that Congress would have to pass the bill to find out what was in it. The fight, though, extends beyond the issue of the anti-conscience mandate and speaks to the dangerous, endemic flaws at the root of Obamacare. In a new Heritage video , several political leaders speak out against the anti-conscience mandate while warning that this first assault on religious freedom is but a taste of what’s to come under the President’s health care law. George Weigel, a prominent Catholic scholar, says that Obamacare puts our society’s core in jeopardy: What is at stake here ultimately is whether civil society will survive, and whether voluntary institutions or voluntary.......