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  • Morning Bell: Two Centuries of Religious Freedom Rolled Back

    Since 1791, when the Bill of Rights was formally adopted, America has enjoyed the legal protection of religious freedom, enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. Today, 221 years later, centuries of progress in the protection of religious and other liberties is at risk of being rolled back in one fell swoop. The culprit: Obamacare.

    As we all know, President Obama’s health care law will mandate that religious hospitals, charities, and schools abandon the tenets of their faiths and provide their employees insurance coverage of abortion-inducing drugs, contraception and sterilization. This anti-conscience mandate is but the latest assault on liberty Obamacare has ushered in. Its shock waves are reverberating across the country, waking Americans to the fact that our first freedom — religious liberty — will be the first to fall now that the federal government has unfettered control over the country’s health care system.

    Some in Congress are taking action to combat Obamacare’s onslaught. Today, the Senate will consider an amendment introduced by Senator Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) and co-sponsored by Marco Rubio (R-Florida) that would override Obamacare’s anti-conscience mandate, allowing religious institutions to keep their faith and provide health care coverage for their employees. So important is this amendment that The Heritage Foundation’s sister organization, Heritage Action for America, has decided to “key vote” the measure, meaning that it has identified the vote as a seminal one.

    The importance of this moment has, of course, been lost on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) who derided the effort to protect the First Amendment guarantee of free exercise of religion. Yesterday he said, “It’s hard to understand why my Republican colleagues think this topic deserves to be debated in the first place.” Meanwhile, the likes of Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Al Franken (D-MN) have attempted to paint the Blunt Amendment as an attack on women and women’s health, willfully ignoring the rights of hundreds of millions of Americans to practice religion without interference from the state — a right so fundamental to human nature that the Founding Fathers put it in the First Amendment.

    Liberals in the House have, too, tried to distort the issue and recast it as a question of women’s health, not religious liberty. This week, the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee welcomed Georgetown law student and “reproductive rights activist” Sandra Fluke to share her story of woe, telling Congress that her peers are going broke buying birth control – despite managing to come up with $46,000 a year for tuition at one of the pre-eminent law schools in the country.

    Let’s make this clear one more time: The issue isn’t about birth control — it’s about the federal government’s power to force a religious institution like Georgetown University to bend to its will and take actions that are fundamentally at odds with its core values. Religious groups are faced with an untenable choice: violate conscience or drop coverage and face penalties for doing so. That’s why so many Americans — men and women alike — are speaking out against the anti-conscience mandate and its fine on faith.

    On Monday at The Heritage Foundation, a panel of women of diverse backgrounds gathered to voice their opposition to the Administration’s actions. One of those women, Lori Windham, senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, stated, “We have a Constitution that protects the religious freedom of these organizations. It protects the religious freedom of the women and the men in these organizations, and they’re just asking that they be able to continue enjoying that religious freedom. This mandate hurts religious organizations. It hurts the people they serve. It’s unconstitutional.”

    On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee also heard testimony on the impact of the mandate, with attorney Becket attorney, Asma Uddin, explaining:

    As a Muslim-American woman and an academic, I have spent my career fighting for women’s and minorities’ rights, and the fact that I must be here today to explain why our constitutional rights exist is extremely offensive to me personally. . . Women, too, seek the freedom to live in accordance with their sincerely held religious beliefs. Religious freedom is a right enjoyed by everyone, and it is just as much in women’s interest to protect that right as it is in men’s.

    Beyond religious freedom, Obamacare lands another unconstitutional blow against liberty in America with its unconstitutional individual mandate to buy health insurance. A judgment on that awaits the action of the Supreme Court. Together, the two dictates — and the others to follow under Obamacare — should be a sign to Americans that the federal government is reaching an event horizon — a point of no return — beyond which individuals will be forever subsumed to the will of the state. Once this door is knocked down, the rights the Constitution protects will be stamped with an asterisk that disclaims, “subject to the will of the federal government.” This is where Obamacare has brought our country. Today, Congress should take action to protect the very first of those Constitutional protections, and then it should get to work in repealing Obamacare.

    Click here to watch our new video, Religious Liberty: Obamacare’s First Casualty, to learn more about this issue.

    Click here to view this post in Spanish at Libertad.org.

    Quick Hits:

    • Two U.S. soldiers were shot dead in Afghanistan at the hands of three assailants, two of whom were believed to be Afghan soldiers. Six Americans have been killed since the burning of Korans at a U.S. base.
    • Democrat lobbyists are warning their corporate clients that contributions to Republican challengers could mean not-so-nice consequences from the powers that be in Congress, according to a Politico report.
    • Britain has closed its embassy in Damascus, Syria, as the Assad government continues its assault on opposition groups. The U.N. Human Rights Council voted to condemn Syria’s actions.
    • Bank of America is considering imposing monthly fees on customers unless they agree to bank online, buy more products, or maintain certain balances. Last fall, the bank ditched plans to impose a $5 debit card fee in order to recoup costs from the Dodd-Frank regulatory reform bill.
    • What is the future of warfare in our socially networked world? Heritage’s James Carafano examines the effects of digital communications on national security and diplomacy in a special event tomorrow from 12 to 1 PM ET. Click here to watch online.
    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    110 Responses to Morning Bell: Two Centuries of Religious Freedom Rolled Back

    1. BevT says:

      Congress should get to work talking about impeachment and following through…The dec of Independence states that usurpation and abuse of power and continually going against the people and the constitution etc…are impeachable behaviours….why is everyone afraid to immediately pursue impeachment??? – this guy is doing criminal things right and left and center and all I read is handwringing woeful articles..

      • sfmac says:

        people should be responsible for their own health care. The way it is now anyone can go to a emergency room and the hospital must take care of them. If we cannot mandate individual responsibility for health care, we should not mandate a health care providers responsibility to take care of derelict people .
        If I am allowed two points here. Health insurance should be to cover unexpected financhial setbacks for health care. Birth control does not seem to apply.

    2. Larry G says:

      I wholeheartedly agree with Heritage and all others who know that this mandate is trampling religious institutions' rights, but I have to state that it is also against my personal constitutional rights as well. Why should I have to pay premiums to a company or on a policy that supports abortions and other practices that I do not approve of? This is not just about religious organizations, but about all companies' insurance policies.

      • Barry S says:

        No one is forcing you to stay with an insurance company that has policies of which you disapprove. So, why not change companies?

        • ThomNJ says:

          Well, you missed his point. His statement was somewhat rhetorical; although with the way obamacare is structured, it won't be rhetorical in another year.

        • John says:

          If health insurance was like car insurance that would be a lot more feasable and I would prefer it that way,but,most of have our insurance linked to our employment ,they pick the choices and set our prices and by the way what is covered.

      • Gary Sheldon says:

        The regime currently ruling without the consent of the governed intends to ELIMINATE the medical insurance business and I believe Sebillus has so stated recently.

    3. boberic says:

      Ask theaverage American about the first ammendment ans they are likely to say "separation of church and state" They would infact be wrong. The phraise does not exist. It comes from a letter by T.Jefferson, it merely an opinion that does not carry the weight of any law. In fact the 1st ammendent says Congress shall pass no law respecting an establishment of relegion nor prohibiting the free practing thereof. The operative phraise is free practice. That is what obama is ignoring. This by the way comes from my freedom to not belive in any relegion.

      • David says:

        Hugo Black, ex KKK member, and bigot, appointed as FDR's 1st SCOTUS justice took the ball that Jefferson wrote to a Baptist organization, which in fact affirmed the first amendment, morphed Jefferson's statement in 1801, to the exact opposite of Jefferson's intent. With the case of Everson vs Board of Education, in 1947 decision, this is where we get the great lie of the wall of separation of church and state so many of folks take as the meaning of the First Amendment. It was the great lie of the 20th Century, by Black, who hated Catholics, blacks, and Jews. How did we as a nation let this happen? Progressive Liberalism, that's how.

    4. Robert A Hirschmann says:

      Obamacare should not just be amended it should be repealed in its entirety. It is an abomination to the laws of the land and the constitution. For one, we cannot afford it. Can't people understand that we are BROKE and this is one of the reasons?

      • Gregory Norton says:

        I agree. It wasn't implemented in pieces. Get rid of it as it was passed: all at once.

    5. Andrew says:

      Just curious: How does the mandate affect Heritage's health care plan? Does Heritage offer birth control for its workers?

      • Jules says:

        Andrew, your question is irrelevant. As Heritage is not an organized religion or religious institution of any kind, the contraception mandate does not affect what they teach.
        You obviously do not have a grasp of the 1st Amendment. This Obamacare directive is dictating to the churches what they can have as basic tenets of their faith. Contraception is one of the basic tenets which is held by some churches, in one form or another. It is not the governments place to dictate what they teach in that regard.
        Liberalism is a serious mental disorder.

        • Dave G. says:

          Whether Heritage is a religious organization or not is irrelevant! In my view, ANY employer who wishes to sponsor a health plan and pay for it should be allowed to exclude coverage (and duty to pay) for abortion or other practices. Of course, such exclusions would need to be disclosed to all plan participants. In fact, this is exactly what has been legal for decades. Before Obamacare, employer plans had only to satisfy the non-descrimination provisions of federal ERISA law and more recently, federal HIPAA regulations on privacy and portability of coverage.

          SO….what I'd like to see is for Heritage and other like-minded employers draw a line in the sand and exclude abortion and/or contraceptive services from their health plans…..and let the govt. sue if they want.

    6. joy pauline says:

      terrific article. Keep u the good work.

    7. Jake Locke says:

      That's "nice" that Rubio is going to amend Obamacare – how about just getting rid of it instead? Amending assumes acceptance of the concept of Obamacare, which is socialist/fascist to its core.

    8. When are we, as a nation, going to begin proceedings to arrest the President as an "Enemy of the State"? Am I mistaken that the trampling of our Constitution does NOT constitute "Enemy of the State" recognition? If so, please teach me WHY! We have measures of checks and balances and NO ONE wants to use them! I'm wondering now, if my early education in government and history and it's teaching of our powerful system of protection for it's citizens was just a bunch of bunk. WE the people can vote… yes! And we do… but now will our votes be in vain with the present administration rigging our final votes cast in November 2012? THESE are the valid questions Americans have. We want answers! WHY is this man still sitting as President of the United States of America committing acts of TREASON against it's people and country.

      • Barry S says:

        Teriann, I have asked myself the same question, but have not come up with any answers. It would be enlightening if someone here could refer us to someone who has studied the issue in depth. Obama has mandated regulations and laws without Congressional debate and/or approval…..something at which our founding fathers would have gasped.

      • Juan Martinez says:

        Teriann, Obama gets arrested about as quickly as George Bush was arrested for waging illegal war and for torturing captives. Try voting in November.

    9. Ervin Ackman says:

      I think the administration is playing with us again and we are falling right into the trap. They have made this a freedom of religion issue. Yes, that is of course an issue, but the real issue to me is much more fundamental. Trampling on religious freedom is one thing but assuming that I personally have an obligation to pay for every woman's birth control through a government edict is a much bigger and more dangerous attack on individual freedom. By focusing the argument on religious freedom we are once again distracted from the real goal of these people, total control of our personal lives. At some point it will not surprise me if they give in on the religious argument through exemptions while it passes that government (you and me) subsidizes birth control for all women.

      • jeffrey says:

        If I don't like a war or any wars at all, can I not pay taxes?

        • John says:

          No,Our taxes go for many things ,actually constitutionally war is one of them,how do we differentiate where each dollar goes.

    10. What is the Constitution for and why do we have it?

    11. jIM says:

      The word "Freedom" now means freedom for the all mighty STATE to do what it wants no matter the Constitution or personal freedom. All bow to the STATE.

      • Jeffrey says:

        Look to the corporations behind the State. They want to further co-opt the State. WE the People need to regain control!!!!!!!!

    12. Sunny says:

      This is the first step in regulating the number of children born in America (like China does to its' citizens). Also, the first step in zero-population growth (like Japan has managed to accomplish). A great way for the Muslim's to take over America since they are out producing us 9 to 1 right now. Pretty soon it will be 9 to 0. Go Obama… you are truly on your way to a Muslim United States of America vs. a Christian United States of America!

      • Gary Sheldon says:

        Obama wants to adopt the China model. One or two children and abort all others.

      • Jeffrey says:

        We have plenty of Christian Mexicans getting into the country and willing to do the crappy jobs that no one else wants to do. We should be fine on the Christian count for a while. (Unless you have a problem with Christians that are Mexican.)

    13. Susan says:

      Not only is this a religious freedom issue, it is also an issue of people who vehemently oppose abortion being forced to PAY for those who are in favor. Since it is legal, there is nothing we can do to prevent those who choose that route to follow through, but I don't want to PAY for it. Let them pay for it themselves!!!

    14. John Matthews says:

      I have no idea why people are getting so worked up over this. Many employees of religious institutions are not connected to that particular denomination, but are valued employees. The covenant is between the individual and God as to what they believe and will practice concerning these issues. If the individual does not want to participate in the contraception or abortive features of the health plan, then so be it. If they want to, then they can.

      • Lou Fougere says:

        But why should they be forced to pay for it? That should be the choice of each individual, and should not even be a requirement of any law.

        • John Matthews says:

          Do you suffer from erectile dysfunction? Or kidney disease? Or need a hip replaced? Your insurance premiums pay for all that even though you do not avail yourself of these procedures. I would much rather pay for condoms for anyone rather than have to abort the mistake. Condoms should be free to anyone who wishes them. The law says that insurance companies have to cover these things (not all for erectile dysfunction), so why not condoms and birth control procedures and medications?

      • FriendForLife says:

        Thanks for trying to infuse at least a bit of reason into this hysteria. If it weren't so pathetically frantic, this false and fraudulent 'argument' about taking away religious freedom would be as comical as the rest of the "political debates" dominated by extremist conservatives. Sorry for the Reflubs that their 'party' is going down the tubes (no pun intended) to a crash bigger than the economy they hoped to destroy.

    15. John Matthews says:

      All of these articles sound as if it is a mandatory practice forced on these employees. It is not and never has been. It has been stated that 50% of child bearing Catholic women use birth control which is against the tenents of their religion. Yet, they are not ex-communicated or chastised publicly. Alcohol, pornography, drugs, prostitution, etc., are readily available to all people and it is the individual who chooses whether or not to utilize these various options. If the CEO of any company does not like one thing or another about their benefits, then does that person have the right to not include it for the other 1000 employees on the plan? Does the evangelical christian on that same plan have the right to force their beliefs on the others? The government already exempts religious organizations enough. Let the individual decide what is best for them.

      • Jeanne Stotler says:

        What a Catholic Woman does is between her, her doctor, husband and her priest. If a person decides to attend Georgetown Univ. I am sure they are well aware it is a Catholic, and Jesuit University, if not then they must not have looked at theUniv. seal. We Hoyas are a proud bunch and most of us adhere to the tenets of our faith.

      • 2D Okie says:

        the word you were trying for or intended from the context was tennets. You mjssed the whole point: it's an attack on the CONSTITUTION an act which you may not presently realise the gravity of but if you choose to ignore it you will regret it.

      • Janice says:

        I don't want to pay for another's contraceptives or abortion. Sorry, but getting pregnant is not a disease condition, or life and death situation.

    16. Lloyd Scallan says:

      ObamaCare was forced down the throats of the American people with bribes and lies, The Democrats,
      in both the House and Senate, continue to distort and divert the true intent of this latest Obama power grab, yet the clueless Republicans do nothing to stop this onslaught. Why? Because they don't have the guts to stand up for the people that put them in office. They crown a canididate (Romnay) that is almost exactly the same as Obama, except for the color of his skin.They are more afraid of loosing voters and power, then protecting American values.

    17. ronald rahn says:

      It is beyond me how providing health insurance constitutes a violation of religious freedom. The connection is purely a fiction designed to bring down the President . The new health care mandate is an attempt to lower health costs and make health care availabe for most Americans. This country is far behind other developed countries where better health care is available for less expense. As an atheist why should my tax dollars support tax free religious organizations? But I don't compain and say my freedom of choice is being taken away. However, I might if this nonsense continues.

      • Dave G. says:

        You raise all valid points, but ignore the rights of religious organizations who do not want to provide
        any support to practices against their established beliefs, especially being required to fund them. They are not denying anyone, anything. You are free to seek any legal service or product elsewhere on your own dime. So go get the coverage you want and let others do likewise. Real simple, easy to understand.

        Before federal govt. intervention in health insurance plans, employers were only required under ERISA (and more recently under HIPAA) to meet guidelines of non-discrimination, privacy and portability of coverage. The federal govt. stayed totally out of what plans had to cover.

      • Fedupaj says:

        You have obviously taken a big drink of the Obama BS flavored Koolaid. The advanced health care in other developed countries you refer to doesn't hold a candle to the health care NOW available here is the US. You obviously haven't taken the time (or lack the intelligence) to read the numerous reports of long and often deadly waiting periods for medical services in these "other developed countries" with their 50-70% tax rates. All too often the citizens don't get medical attention at all. Why do you suppose so many people from Canada, Europe and elsewhere come to the US for medical treatment if their systems a so superior to ours?

        • Roland Maurer says:

          As a Swiss citizen with mandatory medical health insurance, I can tell you: (a) the system is expensive to the average citizen, yet (b) it works well and we have a very, very efficient health care system. We do not really love it because it hurts our purses, but everyone is protected, and well protected. There is very little waiting time in the hospitals. By the way, we don't have 50-70% tax rates.

          • john says:

            When your country becomes as large and as diverse as the USA , and takes on the many humanitarium causes and exspence as we do around the globe ,mayby then you can compare yourself to us.

      • Janice says:

        You obviously can be talked into anything.

    18. radical liberal women truly do EMBARRASS themselves for a cause;; code pink, Linda Sheehan, Jane fonda, Nancy Pelosi as well as this imbecile of a law student [she can only work] for ACLU, SHE IS TOO left for anyone else.

    19. steve h says:

      And in 1791 slavery was legal. There is no 'First Amendment guarantee of free exercise of religion' unless it's the 'correct' religion according to some. So many religious beliefs are not allowed. The religious beliefs that don't make sense or are dangerous, like the contraception beliefs in the catholic church, should not be allowed – just like smoking pot by rastafarians are not allowed or should we allow hudud punishments to happen as well on religious beliefs. We must get these outdated sick laws like banning contraception out of federal policy. We're debating a Highway Bill right now and need to create jobs – instead, Republicans are focusing on contraception?!?! What a joke…no wonder we'll get 4 more years of Obama and GOP is fallign fast.

      • You make the same leap in logic as many others before you. We are not concerned with the legality of contraception, rather with the government insistence that those opposed to it on religious grounds be forced to provide or subsidize its practice.

      • Jeanne Stotler says:

        Thanks, You just appointed yourself guardian of all religous beliefs. I was taught that the 10 Commandments were issued by God and I believe all life is sacred. I had ten children, which I am glad to say Nine lived(one died at birth due to an auto accident) and are doing great and If I had thechoice I'd do it again, was it hard work, Yes but the rewards are tenfold. Te first Admendmen was written so as the goverment has NO SAY over the tenets of ANY Religion. Republicans, And I am one, are not arguing aout contraception, but the right of thegoverment to interfere in the laws of the Church and to force beliefs down our throat, Obama care is EVIL.

      • Gary Sheldon says:

        I do not believe, nor have I heard, that anyone wants to ban contrception. That is a Soetoro regime ruse.
        however the Constitution guarentees the RIGHT TO LIFE…….. That is why the gumMINT plays w/ "when life begins." Most people w/ a thinking capacity above an earthworm would likely conclude life begins at the moment of conception.

    20. Marshall says:

      The Heritage Foundation doesn't care about religious freedom. This is clumsy propaganda on behalf of the private health industry, who pays Heritage big money to come up with bogus arguments. This blog post is hysterical and so far from the truth it totally lacks any credibility. That's what Heritage, AEI, Cato and the rest of the gang doesn't get – they cry wolf on EVERY issue. Every reform, law, suggestion, inference, compromise and agreement is bringing about the END OF CIVILIZATION!!! No one believes you anymore except for the newspapers on your dole. Keep hyperventilating Heritage, maybe you'll pass out.

      • Dave G. says:

        What you may not realize is Heritage pioneered the idea of an "insurance exchange" and at one time even supported the concept of a mandate to buy coverage. From an actuarial standpoint, the mandate to buy coverage improves the stability of the risk pool and ability to predict costs. Moral of that story is: Be careful what you ask for, Heritage.

        • Bobbie says:

          I just won't grasp the need for controlled "insurance" but rather controls on health cost pricing eliminating insurance and it's costs controlled by government. When one is in control governing ones own, one is more wise and takes much better care! When controlled by government, happenings go anyway the control of government takes them. The public attention drawn by democrat government members into this private situation is appalling and insulting.

    21. Richard A. Young says:

      I agree, but this article misses an important point: individuals, not just religious organizations, enjoy freedom of conscience under the constitution. Just as it is unconstitutional to mandate the purchase of insurance, it is unconstitutional to mandate that any employer must provide services that violate his conscience. The question of cost is irrelevant. Whether or not he is a member of an organized religious organization is irrelevant.

    22. Fedupaj says:

      I was especially taken back by the law student's comment that "her peers are going broke buying birth control". It would seem these "peers" are attending Georgetown for the sex and would like to have their lifestyle of promiscuity paid for by someone else. I am tired of paying for every whim of people who don't want to accept responsibility for their own behavior. Under the scourge of the Obama Administration the numbers of people who believe they are entitled to the hard work and earnings of others has grown exponentially. The worst thing of all is the thought that law schools are turning out lawyers with this entitlement mentality instead of lawyers who follow The Constitution and pursuing life of self sufficiency.

      • FriendForLife says:

        Yeah, sort of like requiring some sort of gun ownership sanity to reduce the 30,000 deaths by firearms in THIS COUNTRY ALONE EVERY YEAR.
        Let's talk about something serious and actually consequential for a change, shall we?

    23. If women are currently purchasing birth control with their religious-institution affiliated paycheck then what's the difference if it's covered by insurance instead? Either way, the religious organizations are already paying for women's birth control.

      • Wayne Peterkin says:

        You can't see the huge difference? The difference in forcing someone morally opposed to something to pay for it anyway versus the free exercise of an individuals choice in how they spend their income? Surely you are not that obtuse.

      • Ginger Shows says:

        I think you are missing the point that many Catholics are not followers of the laws of the Church, such as Mass on Sunday, no artificial contraception, no regular reception of the sacraments, pro-abortion attitudes. These are personal choices, against the Roman Catholic Church. I suspect the majority of the "Catholics" who voted for Obama fall into this category. They don't practice their faith but identify themselves as Catholic. There is a huge difference in the US Government declaring that all insurance companies will provide contraceptives and abortifacients, and no doubt abortions. This is directly in opposition to the First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; I hope you can see the difference between an individual purchasing contraceptives for her personal reasons and the government requiring a devoutly religious group to sin. It is analogous to forcing Jews to eat bacon, Hindus to eat cows. Do you get it, @lab?

    24. John Biver says:

      I love Heritage but articles like the above amaze me. It's as if the anti-morality and anti-religion "homosexual rights" agenda doesn't exist. Conservatives all over America are waking up, it's great to see. But for cryin' out loud, religious liberty has been greatly eroded by those pushing "homosexual rights." The Heritage Foundation needs to find the backbone and get in the fight in a big way. Heritage should hire Laurie Higgins from the Illinois Family Institute or at least cross-post her stuff. She's one of the best at helping clear up the confusion about the nature of that issue. But of course for confusion to be cleared up you can't have your head in the sand. Marriage is only one small part of it, and this HHS thing pales in comparison to the damage done through "anti-discrimination" laws and that radical left wing rot being pushed in the public square – even to grade school kids. C'mon Heritage!

    25. Ike says:

      Funny that this argument is coming from a group that would stop ANYONE from having an abortion. Isn't that making someone "bend to its will and take actions that are fundamentally at odds with its core values"? How about we just all agree to stay out of each others private lives.

    26. charles labounty says:

      BHO is not an evil person!
      Read the the Communist Manifesto –
      It explains that "organized religion and the family unit" is another way for the rich to keep to poor in line.
      This is what BHO believes. It's in his mind, soul and guts.

    27. Wayne Peterkin says:

      There is a very good reason why Harry Reid and others feel this issue should not need debated or voted on. Mr. Reid has no moral compass, nor does Pelosi or many other politicians. They see votes, in this case female votes and to them, that is all they know about morality or right/wrong.

    28. sdfultz says:

      Red Herring issue, politics at it's best!

    29. Juan Martinez says:

      Wow. Heritage is going off the deep end with this 'religious freedom' and 'war against religion' fantasy. Here's reality: coverage of birth control is mandated because the scientists and doctors on a NIH panel said it should be. Their policy recommendation is based on data from scientific studies, something most of us would call reality. The idea that faith groups should be setting national policy is absurd. "Abstinence" as an effective policy for avoiding unwanted pregnancies has been consistently discredited (just ask the Palin family) in study after study. Our nation sets public health policy to protect its citizens from real dangers, whether they like it or not. For example: children are not permitted to enroll in public or private schools if they have not received proper vaccinations. Cars are now required to have seat belts (Detroit fought that one), and drivers are required to wear them. So faith groups should just be allowed to pick and choose which rules they like and everyone else may not? That's ridiculous.

      • Jim Fry says:

        No faith groups want to set national policy. They want to control their own institutions, which they built through faith and love to serve others – of any religion or no religion. These institutions are extensions of the faith. Employees of these institutions, and others with common sense, know this – I do not remember seeing or hearing about any large protests of poor, oppressed employees of these institutions seeking salvation from their institutional masters who were forcing them to follow their religious views and not providing them with free birth control. Thank god for King Obama jumping in and saving the day, right? If people don't want to work for a private institution and follow their rules- a) work somewhere else or b) buy your own birth control for $60/month. Simple. But yet the government wants to step in and create all this drama where there was none in the first place…all under the guise of "women's health for all". And this one-sided, political NIH panel of "scientists and doctors" is made up of pro-abortion (…oops, I mean "reproductive health" advocates – no other views, no compromise allowed. Of course they are going to recommend this. What are these "real dangers" that this public health policy is protecting its citizens from? STDs? Strokes? Blood Clots? Carcinogens? Those dangerous clumps of cells known as "children"? I do agree with you on one point – it is indeed ridiculous.

        • Juan Martinez says:

          Not really true. By demanding an exemption to secular laws, they seek to divide our nation into "faith" groups with one set of laws, and everyone else, with a different set of laws. That's what I think is ridiculous. The same excuse was used by Catholic bishops who failed to report pedophile priests. They felt that church canon law was superior to secular law, and that some prayer and some penance would be adequate protection for any potential future victims, and there was no need to inform the police. That's what these churches seem to advocate now: don't make laws apply to us if we don't agree with them. That's what I think is ridiculous. One people, one law. That's what our nation is all about. That's how women and minorities were able to gain the right to vote. If you don't like the law, then seek to change it, don't seek to exempt yourself or your cohorts. We are a nation of laws.

          • Bobbie says:

            wow! Government is imposing secular laws on an established faith to give into secular law totally defiant of the faith! who are "they" you claim "seek to divide our nation into "faith" groups" when we're under one set of laws that reflect no: religion, discrimination, bias or racism? Church laws are between church people and God! This is an extreme invasion into the privacy of women of faith where no government authority belongs! As far as pedophiles, many people take on titles that hides their evil.

            The government's abuse of authority is directly violating catholic beliefs for no reason, Mr. Martinez. If you're not an immigrant you should know this unless of course you were educated in a public school ignorant to truth, heavy on social influence using your (collective) mind set to promote government dependency. I'm sorry for that. Open your mind and protect your daughters! But if you are immigrant you see the signs but play dumb. People seek faith by choice to which they also follow by choice, not force. The one law we all abide by (well, law abiding citizens abide by) is civil and If anyones' teachings are inhumane or uncivil the "faith" is obviously unfit for civil society and has to be dismissed or corrected. Nobody has a right to ever rule over anybody else according to anyone's minds thought or teachings! Sorry for the way I write at times but I'm sure your mind can handle it.

            • Juan Martinez says:

              Well, your same argument applies for polygamy in the Mormon church. That's just a faith issue, right? Somewhere the government has no business, right? Besides, polygamy is condoned in the bible, which makes it okay, just like slavery, right?

            • Bobbie says:

              the government has no business involving itself into our personal livelihoods and nobody has the right to judge anyone else whose faith is between God and ones own. God is secular!

              You do have a mind of your own, don't you Mr Martinez? God did give all minds the ability to reason with a choice that some use not to…

    30. boberic says:

      In fact employers are not required to provide any I repeat ANY health care benefits. They do so as percs to employees or to be competitive in the marketplace. Public entities only provide it under contract, which they are under no legal obligation to provide, they only do so to avoid crippling strikes, or to be compitetive in hiring. The Health Care mandate is as obama has said many times designed to eventually force single payer.

    31. Glenn Allen Pfalmer says:

      Religious freedom is intact, these rules apply to employers for employees. If the Muslim owned businesses demanded that all employees adhere to Sharia Law, you would be saying your religious freedoms were being attacked. To say that all employees of Catholic organizations must conform to Catholicism is an attack on your religious freedom.

      • Jim Fry says:

        It's a religious owned institution – If I was an employee of a Muslim owned business and they expected adherence to Sharia Law and I didn't believe in it, I would GET ANOTHER JOB. If you don't like where you work or don't agree with the organizations views, work somewhere else…especially if you know what those views are before you start working there. Let me kindly suggest working for the federal government – they pay well, you don't have to do much work, you can have all the birth control and abortions (you know…"health care") you want, and they will soon be hiring thousands of bureaucrats to manage this Obamacare monstrosity. Have at it.

    32. RealWest says:

      We're all free in America to CHOOSE where we work, or to employ ourselves. If you choose to work for a PRIVATE company or organization, said company/organization has the right to set the terms for your benefits package – if at all. You have the right to accept the benefit package or not. Nobody is forcing anyone to do anything. If free birth control is a priority in your life, then you're free to seek employers who offer free birth control. If something is a priority in your life, why would you put that responsibility with someone else? I've worked for smaller companies that could not afford to offer any benefits. I still had medical priorities though. So I saved for them. I planned for them. I took responsibility myself. Add to the fact that sex is a voluntary act, and now we're forcing taxpayers to pay for the entire country's lack of self-control. American politicians love to absolve the individual's responsibility so they can save you from everything. Pathetic.

    33. lennox says:

      As a human being, I find it repulsive to have to pay for another persons sexual activities. If men and women are big enough to have sex then they should be able to pay for the products or to abstain. To have to help pay for abortions, to anyone with logic, is to participate in murder. For surely this is not only about "women's rights" this issue is about the rights of all men,women and children. This is an absolute power grab around the necks of all who will stand for it. Hopefully we are not the frog in a pot on the stove getting cooked.

    34. Jeanne Stotler says:

      No one is told they MUST attend a Catholic Universiy or go to a Catholic Nursing Home or Hospital or even to work there. I am a Nurse, I went to Georgetown because I wanted to and got accepted, I worked in Catholic Hospitals and Nursing homes because I beieve in my faith and the teachings of the Catholic Church, NO ONE is twisting my arm. Catholicism has been here in the USA since the founding of St. Mary's in Maryland (Mary's land) Jesuits have been here since before that. Obama is trying to rule the country and saying an Insurance Comany has to provide Birth control and that a Univ or Hospital had to adhere to a code contrary to the tenets of the Church is a violation of the 1st Admendment. Ms. Sanger founded heevil company in an effort to stifil Negro births and those of who she deemed unworthy to reproduce. If you believe in the use of the pill and condoms or what ever and it's not against your conscience then pay for it yourself, do not ask me to go against my belief for you, I'd rather have my kids love than all the money in the world, the money, fast cars, and big screen TV's are not going to be there when you meet your maker, My kids will be.

      • Bobbie says:

        Bless your heart, Jeanne! And you're childrens'! …and your husbands!!? k/?!
        You are an inspiration of strength, courage and good will! My mom is a saint, too!!! Thank you for you!!

    35. Dave G. says:

      Heritage won't like this, but their push for "insurance exchanges" emboldened the left, who incorporated it into the heart of Obamacare. Be careful what you ask for. If insurance agents or the insurance industry tried doing it without govt. intrusion, it would've been blocked under anti-trust. Yet nobody sees anything wrong with govt. spending hundreds of millions to set up "exchanges" in direct competition with your friendly local insurance agent. If you think your industry or profession is safe, think again. Some are now just waking up to the many intrusions of Obamacare. The individual "mandate" is only one. Usurping religious liberty is the latest. Turning a private industry into a state-financed and run enterprise is another, though one most don't think impacts them. Nothing could be further from the truth. In my small state of Maryland, it is estimated the "exchange" will cost $60 million a year to run once full-blown Obamacare is here. That is public costs to just run the thing. An exchange is nothing more than a distribution system. Yet we already have one, funded by private industry, called the insurance market….without asking the public for one dime. .

      Be afraid, because you're job, profession or industry could be next. Everyone should be entitled to access to low cost food, right? Whats to prevent govt. from getting into that? You are only one new "entitlement" away from becoming irrelevant.

    36. Dave G. says:

      Heritage won't like this, but their push for "insurance exchanges" emboldened the left, who incorporated it into the heart of Obamacare. Be careful what you ask for. If insurance agents or the insurance industry tried doing it without govt. intrusion, it would've been blocked under anti-trust. Yet nobody sees anything wrong with govt. spending hundreds of millions to set up "exchanges" in direct competition with your friendly local insurance agent. If you think your industry or profession is safe, think again. Some are now just waking up to the many intrusions of Obamacare. The individual "mandate" is only one. Usurping religious liberty is the latest. Turning a private industry into a state-financed and run enterprise is another, though one most don't think impacts them. Nothing could be further from the truth. In my small state of Maryland, it is estimated the "exchange" will cost $60 million a year to run once full-blown Obamacare is here. That is public costs to just run the thing. An exchange is nothing more than a distribution system. Yet we already have one, funded by private industry, called the insurance market….without asking the public for one dime. .

    37. lynn says:

      Where are all the lawsuits I have read about to totally repeal Obamacare? Not only religious freedom is jeopardized but the total bankruptcy of our beloved country. WHEN are the opposing powers in being going to stop this onslaught of the American public?

    38. Lisa says:

      Obama needs tb be impeached and tried for treason for trampling on our US Constitution. I challenge Congress to look into this. If Congress has sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States, then they need to take this seriously and put politics aside and go ahead with impeachment. I can't take this trampling of the US Constitution anymore. Fire the LIBERALS!!!!

    39. toledofan says:

      Congress needs to step up and start doing it's job, period. I understand that the Democrats own 2/3rds of Washington but, each, Boehner and McConnel need to be more vocal and they should be bringing amendment after amendment to the floor forcing votes on this stuff. But alas, the Rino's are content sharing the water hole and until there is a big change in Washington, not much will change for us.

    40. 2D Okie says:

      The whole thrust of this regressive govt.is to destroy this country AND it's constitution. It's a disgrace that noone in positions of responsibility will raise a voice or hand to defend either one

    41. John says:

      Our ancestors came to this country and fought and died for liberty, with religious liberty our first. Obamacare tramples on this most fundamental freedom. To honor those who have gone before us, our founders, our statesmen like Washington and Lincoln, the thousands of men and women who gave their very lives, we must overturn this attack on our liberty.

    42. Stirling says:

      I would love to see those who think giving up our religious freedoms is ok to move (temporaily) to a country that has no Religious freedom. Spend some time in say Egypt where if your a Christrian you are being targeted and forced to renounce your beliefs or be put to death. Remember that those countries that have lost freedoms due to government intrusion have never gained those freedoms back.. Don't jump into something quickly without considering the long term conseqences.

    43. ItsTheHippiesFault says:

      Lets get to the heart of of it… Obamacare is nothing more but a power grab by the government, it gives them control over 1/6th of the economy, control over all businesses, and control over all individuals. This is just the beginning, eventually it'll be that you cannot own a gun, drive an automobile, or care for your own children all because the government panel deemed you medically unfit to do these things.

    44. CforUS says:

      I can show where my religious freedom is guaranteed in the Constitution. Someone please show me where the Constitution guarantees birth control for all and I'll back down.

    45. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      We fought two wars with the Barbary States, Morocco, Algiers, Tripoli, and Tunis, over this. Jefferson's war on
      the Barbary Pirates was about more than just freedom of the seas.

    46. Ben C. says:

      Smoke and mirrors from Obama – never watch what the OTHER hand is doing. Those who feel this is "no big deal" fail to realize that this is not the end-point. The implications on small business are staggering. I provide health care for my employees and if/when ObamaCare is implemented he will win. My customers will not pay for my increased overhead and my employees will be on their own. Simply put – its the cost of doing business stupid. It's easy to vilify "big business" and the church, but its the little guy and their employees that will suffer the consequences. Problem is that there simply aren't enough rich people to pick up the tab for this travisty. There are 1.4 million one percenters. How much additional tax do you think they will have to pay to cover this years budget deficiet? Do the math – you will be shocked. Hint, it has alot of zeros.

    47. Jan says:

      Does anyone else find the statement by, "…Georgetown law student and "reproductive rights activist" Sandra Fluke to share her story of woe, telling Congress that her peers are going broke buying birth control — despite managing to come up with $46,000 a year for tuition at one of the pre-eminent law schools in the country", a little ludicrous? I can't believe some people. At $46K a year she should be focused on studies instead of screwing.

    48. NOTTELLIN1 says:

      Here is my homage to Martin Niemoller…written last week

      When the government told us there would be a mandate to buy health insurance, I didn’t care because mine health insurance is employer assisted.

      When the government told us that pregnancy was a disease that required free preventive care, I didn’t care because I cannot become pregnant.

      When the government told me health plans had to include free preventive care including contraceptives, I didn’t care because I don’t use them.

      When the government told us that our churches had to pay for contraceptives, then the insurance companies had to provide for free, I started to care because we all know that nothing an insurance company does is ‘free’.

      Cont….

    49. NOTTELLIN1 says:

      When the government told us we needed to eat healthy food, I didn’t care until they started replacing the lunches I had packed for my child and fining me for what I chose for my child to eat.

      When the government closed down my church because it didn’t like my religion, took my gun so that I could not defend myself, and threw me in jail for speaking out against them.

      I wished I’d cared when the government mandated that we had to buy health insurance.

    50. If my employers is a Jehovah's Witness, should my insurance pay for a blood transfusion if I need one?

      • Bobbie says:

        that's a good one but having sex is a choice that consists of self discipline. hmm. but why would you work for a faith you're not? Wouldn't that be a betrayal of your own faith? And if you are, you still have a freedom of choice regardless but depending on your personal commitment in the faith of Jehovah's witnesses and Jehovah.

        Thinking through, you have a choice in employment and the employer shares the benefits that apply before hire. I don't think people of Jehovah's witnesses should have to provide that treatment when there are alternatives. Nobody is denying you access and there are other ways without governmental intrusions to help pay the costs.

        • Juan Martinez says:

          Oh great, then I will just start a new religion that says none of my employees get any health care that I have to pay for. I will run for profit businesses and drive all my competitors (that offer health care to their workers) out of business. You see where your argument goes?

          • Bobbie says:

            Not when I know Mr. Martinez, that the control of my personal health forced from my hands put in the controls of authoritative hands of government, doesn't make me less capable of handling my own, unable due to the unconstitutional intrusion by government beyond my control, intentionally causing greater complications. Simple answer but nationalized health care is always dangerous where hidden corruption is always a factor. A proper government would have only needed to assure accessibility by allowing insurance companies to function within the freedom of the market and let us take care of our own!

    51. A. Kline says:

      I make no pretense about being a constitutional scholar, but don't believe that the freedom of religion protected by our First Amendment applies to religious organizations which choose to operate hospitals and universities. That is most definitely not the practice of religion.

    52. Dave says:

      Let us be completely honest. Obama is simply abusing the role of dictator left him by Bush. Until we ackowledge that BOTH sides have betrayed us we will never regain our libeties.

    53. AnnieCCMA says:

      Right on -you all! But to that law student who doesn't know the Constitution of the United States, nor does she have a clue as to what constitutes personal responsibility, I offer this advice. Ask your partner to pay for the condom; your giving him free sex. And get out of law school.

    54. TJC says:

      That a company owner must pay for healthcare for employees that the owner would not choose for himself does not infringe upon the owner's right to believe as he chooses.

      However it would infringe upon the rights of the employee to choose healthcare that is right for his belief system.

    55. Whicket Williams says:

      Bill Gates? his crowd? kill the poor so there is more room for the rich? The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. God is not mocked. He has never given any human the command to decided who lives, who dies and which children to kill. I do remember him saying, "thou shalt not kill" seems to me that he also said pride goes before a fall. He also said that the great gentile nation across the sea would be destroyed.The only question left, at this point, is how much longer is he going to put up with all this for the sake of the increasingly fewer people left in this country who still honor him? At some point, he is going to decided he has had enough, and when he does, do the words Sodom and Gomorrah mean anything to you atheist?

    56. Whicket Williams says:

      The thing that you people still have not understood is The politicians do NOT work for the people, There is an agenda, and the only thing Democrats and republicans have to do with it is that they are keeping the people fooled and confused until they are under the iron fist and helpless.

    57. Jay Daniel says:

      A church is a church, a hospital is a hospital, a school is a school. A religious school or religious hospital should follow government laws that deal with schools and hospitals. If I start a religion and then start a religious hospital are you telling me I can opt out of all the government Laws? or just some

      • Bobbie says:

        can't believe people so desperate to all of a sudden impose this ridiculous imposition. Government is constitutionally forbidden to deal with religious schools and hospitals. What law besides your own calls you to seek contraceptions? when a woman publically voices her concern to the costs of her promiscuity, tells the public eye exactly the word she is. How dare the women in government allow her to be exploited in this outrageous manner! and for the president to be drawn to this insignificance to the point of forcing the matter down the throats of opposing beliefs! despicable and more than disgraceful!

    58. CJ Milmoe says:

      Why does the President fall all over himself to apologize to the thugs who took to the streets of Afghanistan when a few desecrated korans were inadvertantly burned, but when the hierarchy of the Catholic Church points out that Obamacare rules will cause them to violate tenants of their faith, he and his minions accuse them of conducting a war on women. The war in Afganistan and the US is the same: the almighty State against religious liberty.

    59. Bobbie says:

      why is contraception singled out as an issue for the exploitation of women? publically humiliating women by using the vulnerability of young women who's public education taught them not to be personally responsible for their personal decisions that their own minds still have the ability to reason, if common sense will come to light and drown out their poorly and wrongly influenced mindsets.

      How abhorrent to women to be exploited regarding personal matters and through government battle axes that claim to be women! Two gay men are going to spread disease before two lesbians. yet government uses women to promote ignorance! We don't want this representation! And we don't want to be obligated to take on the responsibility of the man!

      Did drug stores stop selling contraception? Insurance may not cover the cost of contraception but contraception isn't denied as falsely claimed and easily accessible to the purchaser/personally responsible and in some stores 24 hours a day! Get the government out of our lives and personal decision making and private matters! They're killing off the chronically ill as we speak!

    60. Gregory Norton says:

      501(c), not 503. Sorry.

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