We hear about religious persecution throughout the Third World, but the Catholic Church is being targeted right here in the United States. For centuries, people have fled to this country to escape religious discrimination. Now our own government is a villain to religion. The Obama administration is chipping away at this cornerstone of our society by violating the religious liberty of those who hold fast to certain beliefs, in particular those of the Catholic Church.
Through its unconstitutional health care law, the administration is pursuing a policy that will force Catholics to either violate their teachings or face the wrath of the government. This is a choice no American should have to make. The First Amendment of the Constitution clearly defines freedom of religion. Our founding fathers purposely guaranteed this freedom first because it is the most important. The Constitution has protected religious liberty for over two hundred years. Apparently, the White House believes separation of church and state is a thing of the past. According to this policy, religious organizations will be forced to provide their employees with medical insurance that covers free contraceptives and sterilization. While houses of worship are exempt, religiously affiliated organizations, such as hospitals and universities, were mandated to comply with this government edict. This decree forces Catholic organizations to choose between either violating their religious faith or not furnishing their employees with health care coverage. The administration is well aware that this goes against the basic tenets of the Catholic religion as well as other faiths. It is not the right of the government to alter or manipulate the conscience of any individual—Christian or non-Christian.
Now, people from all faiths are coming together to defend the freedom of religion. This government sponsored act of aggression against religious liberty has awoken a sleeping giant that will not rest until the administration rescinds its attempt to implement statism. People who believe in the First Amendment will not and should not let this government assault on the Constitution stand. By prohibiting the free exercise of religion, the administration is punishing Catholics for exercising their religious beliefs. This issue is about much more than contraception and the hot button issue of pro life versus pro choice. Regardless of where Americans stand on the issue, it is alarming that the federal government would punish religions for their beliefs attempt to create a substitute religious doctrine. If this edict stands, what’s next?
In an artificial attempt to appease people of all faiths, the White House crafted a so-called “accommodation”. Make no mistake – their new plan makes no real changes to this discriminatory policy. Under the new proposal, religious groups would still be required to provide their employees with health insurance that covers contraceptives for free, but the contraceptive coverage will not be explicitly stated in their plans. The administration also shuffled around the cost from the employers to insurance companies, who will now be forced to pay for contraceptives and sterilization. Perhaps most importantly, the administration conveniently left out all of the religious organizations who are self-insured and therefore do not work with external insurance companies. I suppose they will still be forced to violate their conscience or pay the price. So much for a compromise.
Religious principles are not negotiable. No government has the legal or moral right to make any religion violate its convictions or decide what does or does not violate conscience. Religion is one area that is immune from government regulation under our Constitution. People of faith will not submit to this Administration’s deliberate attack on religious liberty. Catholics, Protestants, and Jews are united in their effort to stand up against this government act of tyranny. The holy line has been drawn in the sand by a coalition of all religions. And that’s just the way it is.
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