Restore Religious Freedom in America

By:  Ann Shibler
02/22/2012
       
Restore Religious Freedom in America

Senator Marco Rubio has introduced S. 2043 to block Obama's contraception mandate.

The contraception mandate recently put forward by the Obama administration met with a firestorm of opposition from all 181 Catholic Bishops as well as Evangelical, Lutheran and Jewish coalitions, and that opposition continues despite a quieting down of rhetoric in the mainstream media and at the White House. The diktat requires all employers, regardless of the tenets of their faith, moral objections or consciences, to purchase health insurance plans that cover sterilizations, contraceptives and abortifacients. However, there is legislation that would reverse Obama’s, and the Health and Human Services agency’s, unconstitutional plans to severely restrict religious freedom. 

United States Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has introduced the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, S. 2043, which has 30 cosponsors. This proposal would block the requirement that religiously affiliated universities, hospitals, nursing homes, and other institutions offer health plans that cover birth control — including abortion-causing “contraception” drugs, such as RU-486. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) has introduced a companion bill, H.R. 3897, in the House; it has 8 cosponsors at present. In a similar vein, Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has introduced the Religious Freedom Protection Act of 2012, S. 2092.

When President Obama countered on February 10 with his solution or “compromise,” intended to appease even the staunchest Catholic Bishop, all the variations on one theme spouted by HHS head Kathleen Sebelius, White House spokesman Jay Carney, and political advisor David Axelrod — that the White House worked hard to find an appropriate balance between religious beliefs and the so-called need to provide preventive services to all women — were seen as evasively rhetorical and misleading. Fortunately, few were fooled. 

President Obama’s manipulative scheme simply shifts the burden from the employer to the insurance company. Employers who in conscience reject the mandate would still be paying the bill for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilizations and contraception when they purchased the insurance. Dictating that insurance companies would have to provide these “services” for free doesn’t ease any real moral objection; it simply creates a veil of illusion for Obama’s assault on religious freedom.

The coercive ruling from the White House still stands, and once-sacred religious liberty has been axed. Expect further attacks on religion if this mandate is allowed to remain.

If S. 2043 and H.R. 3897, or similar legislation, such as S. 2092, are not passed, the Obama administration could profit monetarily as employers disagreeing with the contraception mandate would be forced to drop insurance coverage altogether, then face millions of dollars per year in fines, filling the federal coffers through the destruction of religious liberty. Far worse would be the easy way in which more power has been concentrated and centralized in the Executive Branch through an egregiously unconstitutional ultimatum.

If you don’t believe President Obama, supported by Kathleen Sebelius, David Axelrod, Nancy Pelosi, etc., has the authority to force religious institutions to take actions contrary to their faith, you should immediately contact your Representative and Senators. If they don't appear to understand the serious nature of trampling on one of the most treasured freedoms we have — religious freedom — enlighten them.  Remind them it’s their job to uphold the Bill of Rights. The outrageous contraception mandate, as it has come to be called, is surely a rallying cry for religious freedom and constitutional protections for all, and it just may be the starting point for a complete restoration of the Republic.

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