Obama Keeps the Brawl Going

By Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council …

A headline from the Washington Post declares: “The culture war is back!” Well, I hate to break it to them, but the culture war never went away. Some Republicans may have called for a truce, but President Obama never has. Instead, he is staying the course in his quest to “fundamentally change America.” People are waking up to this not-so-covert mission thanks to a portion of the government’s health care takeover that reveals his total disregard for the First Amendment. It started with ObamaCare, exploded in the military, and 21 days ago, knocked on faith’s front door.

This time, the president took his fight directly to the church. His ultimatum: Violate or vacate. Violate your beliefs and fund potentially life-taking drugs or vacate the social services that help millions of Americans. Or neither, and face millions of dollars in fines. Instead of flinching, the church rallied. Now, backed into a corner by an army of angry Republicans and Democrats, the President is trying to soften the blow. He announced today that his administration would “accommodate” religious organizations by putting the burden on insurers to provide “free” contraceptive pills, abortion-inducing drugs, and sterilizations. The president claims that paying for contraception is good business, because it saves the insurance companies money from unintended pregnancies down the road.

Really? If this is such a great cost-cutting idea, why didn’t insurance companies offer “free” coverage years ago? Insurance companies are not charities. They will offset these increased costs by increasing the premiums for religious organizations and other businesses. So where is the accommodation? The main difference is that these contraceptive and abortifacient drugs would not technically be listed as one of the benefits the employer is paying for directly.

Immediately, Congressmen like Chris Smith (R-N.J.) issued statements calling the adjustment a “political manipulation” that only the “most naive or gullible would accept.” The policy is “riddled with doublespeak and contradiction. It states, for example, that religious employers ‘will not’ have to pay for abortion pills, sterilization, and contraception, but their ‘insurance companies’ will. Who pays for the insurance policy? The religious employer.” Even the president’s team acknowledged that it wasn’t really backing off the original plan. “We’re sticking to principle,” officials said. Only now, the problem will affect more than just faith-based hospitals, schools, and charities; the Obama administration is shifting some of the burden to small business owners, who may also have religious objections.

And it certainly won’t come cheap. Initial estimates put the cost of this “free” birth control in the neighborhood of $2.8 billion (not including the cost of more expensive contraceptive methods that would also be covered under the president’s mandate). Meanwhile, the Catholic Bishops have already hinted that they would accept nothing less than a full policy reversal. They know these changes are nothing but accounting gimmicks that just enlist more people in the war on religious liberty. Faith groups would still be subsidizing health care plans they morally oppose, and that’s a gross infringement of religious conscience rights.

Of course, these rights are not the president’s to give or take away.

 

 

3 thoughts on “Obama Keeps the Brawl Going

  1. Arguments for a “religious employer” exemption have gone from wrong to ridiculous.

    Those demanding such an exemption initially worked themselves into a lather with the false claim that the law forced employers to provide their employees with health care plans offering services the employers considered immoral. The fact is that employers have the option of not providing any such plans and instead simply paying assessments to the government. Unless one supposes that the employers’ religion forbids payments of money to the government (all of us should enjoy such a religion), then the law’s requirement to pay assessments does not compel those employers to act contrary to their beliefs. Problem solved–except perhaps for an employer who really desires not just to avoid a moral bind, but rather wants to retain control of his employees’ health plans, limit their choices to conform to the employer’s religious beliefs, and avoid paying the assessments that otherwise would be owed. For that, an employer would need an exemption from the law.

    Indeed, some continued clamoring for just such an exemption, complaining that by paying assessments they would be paying for the very things they opposed. They seemingly missed that that is not a moral dilemma justifying an exemption to avoid being forced to act contrary to one’s beliefs, but rather is a gripe common to most taxpayers–who don’t much like paying taxes and who object to this or that action the government may take with the benefit of their tax dollars. Should each of us be exempted from paying our taxes so we aren’t thereby “forced” to pay for a war, health care, or whatever else the government does that each of us may consider wrong or even immoral?

    In any event, they put up enough of a stink that the government relented and announced that religious employers would be free to provide health plans with provisions to their liking and not be required to pay the assessments otherwise required. Problem solved–again, even more.

    Nonetheless, some continue to complain. They fret that somehow religious employers ultimately will pay for the services they oppose. They argue that if insurers (or, by the same logic, anyone, e.g., employees) pay for such services, those costs will somehow, someday be passed on to the employers in the form of demands for higher insurance premiums or higher wages. They counter what they call the government’s “accounting gimmick” with one of their own: the “Catholic dollar.” These dollars, once paid by a religious employer to others, e.g., insurers or employees, should be used only for things the religious employer would approve. The religious employers’ aim, we are assured, is not to control the actions of others, oh no, but rather is merely to assure that the employers themselves have not somehow acted contrary to their own beliefs by loosing “their” dollars into hands that would use them for things no self-respecting religious employer would himself buy. Their religious liberty, they say, requires not only that they be exempted from the law, but further that anyone to whom they pay money also be exempted and thus “free” to act according to their desires.

    I wonder what they would say if they knew they had some of my “atheist dollars” in their wallets that can only be used for ungodly purposes, lest I suffer the indignity of paying for things I disbelieve.

  2. arizona today

    dougindeap:

    One religous organization alone with 70,000 employees would have to pay more than $1 million in penalties by civilly disobeying. No one should have to “pay” the government for the right to practice their religious beliefs.

    Friday’s announcement by Obama was a charade. It changes nothing. People are still forced with the “choice” of violating their deeply held beliefs and obeying … or disobeying and facing punishment from the federal government.

    The federal government is truly the camel sticking its nose under the tent. Leading it to eventually completely entering the tent.

    A state-controlled church is not a church at all, but an extension of the government. This is tyranny.

    The First Amendment guarantees the free exercise of religion, and this mandate violates that. It will be declared unconstitional, and it will not stand.

    This move by the Obama Administration is unprecedented in American history. Never has the federal government done more to attack religious freedom. By contrast, FDR prayed on national radio broadcasts, Kennedy, Clinton and Carter all respected Americans’ religious freedom. Every other president respected free exercise of religion. Obama’s hostility is open, complete, and palpable.

  3. arizona today

    CNS News reports on the unprecedented attack on religious freedom by the Obama Administration:

    L. Brent Bozell III, who is president of CNSNews.com’s parent organization, the Media Research Center.

    “Never before has this nation ever witnessed the federal government so ruthless in its over-reach of power, and so dismissive of the Constitution,” said Bozell. “This is an issue that affects every Catholic and non-Catholic, should it be another Christian, a Jew, even a non-believer. To allow this ‘rule,’ as this administration so arrogantly calls it, to stand is to surrender our most basic freedom, the freedom of conscience. We cannot.”

    Edwin Meese, who served as attorney general to President Ronald Reagan, said that patriotic groups have an obligation to stop Obama’s mandate.

    “This is an example of one of the greatest attempts at the shredding of the Constitution in our history,” said Meese.

    “The members of Congress have a duty, and all citizens and patriotic groups have an obligation, to do everything in their power to stop this assault on the Constitution,” Meese said. “Unless we do so, we will have allowed the destruction of the basic tenet of our democratic republic: a government that acts only with the consent of the governed.”

    Jenny Beth Martin, the co-founder of Tea Party Patriots, also said Obama’s assault on religious liberty was historically unprecedented.

    “The Obama administration’s mandate that Catholics and other faith-based institutions provide contraceptive, sterilization and abortifacient services under ObamaCare is perhaps the boldest assault on the U.S. Constitution by any president in history,” said Martin. “The most terrifying element of this rule is that it is just the beginning of the government’s rule-making process and other violations of constitutional rights are certain to follow.”

    “Tea Party Patriots believes that this rule is unconstitutional and, we call for the administration to immediately repeal it,” said Martin.

    Best-selling author and radio talk show host Mark Levin said that Obama’s mandate is evidence that the nation is in a constitutional crisis.

    “It is neither noble nor virtuous to dismiss or downplay the peril our country faces,” said Levin. “Barack Obama is an imperial president exercising unconstitutional power. The nation is in the midst of a constitutional crisis. Now is the time for all freedom-loving Americans to be heard.”

    Radio talk-show host and former Reagan Education Secretary Bill Bennett called for the regulation as well as all of Obamacare to be repealed.

    “Religious liberty and freedom of conscience are at the mercy of government run health care and the power of big feminism,” said Bennett. “ObamaCare must be repealed and this ruling overturned.”

    In all, 38 conservative leaders joined in demanding a stop to President Obama’s attack on the freedom of conscience. In addition to Bozell, Meese, Martin, Levin, and Bennett, these leaders ranged from Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy to Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council; from Patrick Henry College Chancellor Michael Farris to House Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio; from Andrew Breitbart to Concerned Women for America President Penny Nance; from Let Freedom Ring President Colin Hanna to Center for Military Readiness President Elaine Donnelly.

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