28 Mar Religious Freedom on Trial
Monday, March 26th began the first day that the constitutionality of the 2010 healthcare law, known as Obamacare, will be argued in the Supreme Court. This is a court case that many American’s have strong opinions about and will be closely watching the outcome. For some Americans, Obamacare means hope and safety for their future health. For others this law means a stripping of their religious freedoms.
The pasts few months, there has been a lot of talk about the new federal regulations requiring employer health care plans to pay for abortion inducing drugs, contraception and sterilizations. Originally, most churches were not exempt from this requirement. Currently, churches are now exempt from this requirement. However, church ministries and organizations (such as church run universities and hospitals) will be required to provide things like abortion-inducing drugs to their employees. It does not matter if those religious organizations maintain beliefs and teachings contrary to this. Organizations that refuse will be subject to a $2,000 fee per employee per year.
Kevin Theriot ADF (Alliance Defense Fund) Senior Counsel said that, “this is effectively a Conscience Tax.”
Alan Sears, President and CEO of ADF states that:
With one fell swoop, the Obama administration has placed itself in the position of final arbiter of what does and doesn’t constitute religious faith and practice. In this way, they have trampled the rights of the conscience of every American, because they have interjected a man-made standard for religiosity that curtails the protections of the First Amendment by government fiat.
As an average American citizen, I wonder how a government mandate clearly contrary to religious freedom could affect me. Kevin Theriot believes that:
If the federal government can force these ministries to act in a way that is completely contrary to their religious beliefs, they can tax all of us when we act according to our religious convictions by doing such things as refusing to participate in abortions, objecting to sexual immorality, or raising our children according to our faith.
Clearly, most Americans would like to see the serious ill and the poor better assisted with heath care costs. But, fixing and changing health care should not come with the removal of religious freedom and the right to conscience. Most religions are concerned with the sanctity of life and the moral consequences that attend life and death. When employers and individuals are mandated to pay for medicine or procedures that are contrary to their beliefs and teachings it is at a loss to religious freedom.