President Obama’s assault on religious freedom is now official. Starting today employers are required to provide free contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs to employees, even if doing so violates their religious faith. The administration has reduced the issue to one of “values” rather than a guaranteed right under the constitution.
The Obama administration will continue to work with all employers to give them the flexibility and resources they need to implement the health care law in a way that protects women’s health while making common-sense accommodations for values like religious liberty.
Oh please, do they think we were all born yesterday? Religious liberty is now just a value?
Religious liberty is a fundamental right guaranteed under the First Amendment of the Constitution, not a mere “value” whose worth is subject to devaluation by any given Administration’s policy. Regrettably, devaluation of this first principle is exactly what we’ve seen from the Obama Administration, which after a year of such lip service to religious liberty has held firmly to its original mandate despite widespread, intense, and ecumenical outcry against it.
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s latest promise rings hollow and adds insult to the grievous injury that HHS is already doing to Americans who believe that religious liberty is not something that stops when one leaves a house of worship.
Back to what happens today.
Today signals the beginning of a season of impossible decisions for employers who, for reasons of conscience, have not been paying for abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, or sterilization for their employees. Employers are now required to offer these services for “free”—meaning the employers pick up the cost of including these services in their health insurance plans. At the renewal of their health plan years, the HHS mandate will force employers into an untenable choice: violate their deeply held beliefs or forfeit the provision of health insurance altogether and risk steep fines.
Who are these victims of Obamacare’s trampling on faith? Family business owners who are producing jobs and growing the economy, Catholic social organizations that provide invaluable services to their communities, and evangelical colleges and universities educating the next generation, to name just a few. The Obama Administration says that business owners’ rights to religious freedom shouldn’t cross into their everyday lives, claiming that “for-profit, secular employers generally do not engage in any exercise of religion protected by the First Amendment.”
Read the whole thing. If employers do not comply they can be hit with fines as steep as $100 per day, per employee. But we’re supposed to believe that they’re the reasonable ones? Good grief.