Obamacare Awakens a Sleeping Giant

(from the Heritage Foundation on the Constitutional Right of Freedom of Religion)

– The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation – http://blog.heritage.org –

Morning Bell: Obamacare Awakens a Sleeping Giant

Posted By Mike Brownfield On February 7, 2012 @ 10:06 am In Family and Religion,Health Care | 49 Comments

It is a rare moment indeed when faith denominations of all stripes unite together in common cause, and it is rarer still when that cause is a political one, with a sole piece of legislation as its principal target. But when that law eviscerates the very foundation of religious liberty in America as protected under the First Amendment, it should not be surprising that Catholics and Jews, evangelical Christians, and mainline Lutherans alike find common cause in defense of their liberties.

Such is the case with the firestorm of opposition to Obamacare and the Obama Administration’s attack on religious liberty [1]. Under a new Obamacare mandate issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the White House is mandating that virtually all religious employers, with the exception of churches, provide health care coverage for contraception — including abortion-inducing drugs — thereby trampling upon their constitutionally guaranteed free exercise of religion. And it is this mandate that has caused a vehement response in churches and synagogues across the country.

Yesterday, the head of the Catholic League, Bill Donohue, warned that the nation’s 70 million Catholics are ready to go to war with the Administration’s dictates, saying [2] “Never before, unprecedented in American history, for the federal government to line up against the Roman Catholic Church. This is going to be fought out with lawsuits, with court decisions, and, dare I say it, maybe even in the streets.”

Donohue’s remarks follow those of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops [3] and at least 153 Catholic bishops [4] across the country who have weighed in with opposition to the mandate. “We Catholics will be compelled to either violate our consciences, or to drop health coverage for our employees and suffer the penalties for doing so,” wrote Bishop Alexander Sample of Marquette, Michigan. Those penalties include fines imposed by the federal government that could cost [4] larger organizations millions of dollars per year.

The Catholic Church is not alone in its opposition to Obamacare’s onslaught against religious freedom. David Addington, The Heritage Foundation’s vice president of Domestic and Economic Policy, details the growing ranks of the faithful [5] who say the Obama Administration has crossed a very dangerous line. The National Association of Evangelicals commented [6] that “The HHS rules trample on our most cherished freedoms and set a dangerous precedent” and the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America stated [7], “In declining to expand the religious exemption within the healthcare reform law, the Obama Administration has disappointingly failed to respect the needs of religious organizations such as hospitals, social welfare organizations and more.” The Agudath Israel of America stated [7] its opposition, as did the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod [8] and the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America. [9]

The Obama Administration is beginning to feel the pressure. On Sunday, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius authored an op-ed [10] in USA Today defending the Obama Administration’s actions, claiming that a very narrow exemption to the mandate is evidence that the White House is “working to strike the right balance between respecting religious beliefs and increasing women’s access to critical preventive health services.” That exemption, though, does not apply to institutions like religious schools and hospitals. Sebelius might claim the Administration is offering grace to people of faith, but in fact it is not. In an editorial that ran the same day as Sebelius,’ USA Today agreed [11] with those standing on the side of religious liberty, writing that “in drawing up the rules that will govern health care reform” the Obama Administration “galloped over” the line and violated the “simple proposition that the government should steer away from meddling in church affairs.”

The Obama Administration’s actions, though entirely counter to the freedom of religion, should not be surprising [12] given the nature of the President’s health care law. Obamacare has given the federal government broad power over one-sixth of the American economy and thereby purports to grant Washington the power to force religious institutions to take actions contrary to their faith. Addington writes [5] that this kind of concentration of power “has proved to be a drastic and dangerous experiment.” America’s religious leaders and the faithful have awoken to this wolf at their door and are lashing out in defense of their freedoms. Congress, too, should act now by repealing Obamacare and restoring the religious liberty that is so central to our way of life.

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12 responses to “Obamacare Awakens a Sleeping Giant

  1. Though the Affordable Care Act is now a law in effect in the United States, there is still things seemingly in conflict with the law and I’m curious how the Little Sisters of the Poor lawsuit is going to be worked out.

  2. Though the Affordable Care Act is now a law in effect in the United States, there is still things seemingly in conflict with the law and I’m curious how the Little Sisters of the Poor lawsuit is going to work out.

  3. I have read this article a couple of times and all I can see is things have being blown out of proportion. It seems to me that healthcare law is stating to these institutions to have these provisions available for those who have need of them. But not for the institutions to force anyone to utilize them.

  4. Obama care is going to cost Americans over 6 trillion dollars by 2020. I don’t think we need certain plans to pay for heath care but i think we need to change the way health, medicines are paid for. Why does it cost 44 thousand dollars here in america to get a hip replaced when it only cost 14 thousand to get it replaced in Italy. Other countries are literately laughing at our health car because of how stupid it is, countries even like Cuba…

  5. Obama care is going to cost Americans over 6 trillion dollars by 2020. I don’t think we need certain plans to pay for heath care but i think we need to change the way health, medicines are paid for. Why does it cost 44 thousand dollars here in america to get a hip replaced when it only cost 14 thousand to get it replaced in Italy. Other countries are literately laughing at our health car because of how stupid it is, countries even like Cube…

  6. I am for Obamacare, however I do feel as if they are going on about it the wrong way. The way they are handling themselves make them appear to be very extreme which in turn has caused a problem.

  7. i feel like obamacare is trying to the right thing but is going about it in the wrong way. I believe everyone should have the right to do what they think is right. i personally do not believe in abortion but i believe people should have the right to choose what they want to do. obamacare needs to come at this situation froma a different angle.

  8. This is crazy! Obamacare is violating so many of the people of the United State’s rights in many aspects. This needs to stop!

  9. This is exactly what i do not like about obamacare, beyond forcing people to have health care it is taking away the right of religious freedom.

  10. Ridiculous! Obama care is unconstitutional, it is taking away our rights and freedom of religion.

  11. It has been seen through out the administration that a disregard for the core fundemental values of our constitution do not concern them. By speaking to the fear of the population and ignoring the hard work is creating a toxic bed for which we will all have to pay for later. The ultimate con of the US taxpayer.

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