• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Disaster Relief Shows Why Government Should Protect Good Samaritans

    The devastating tornadoes that ripped through the South and Midwest last week left broken homes and shattered lives in their wake. While the wind and rain still blew, churches, ministries, and charitable organizations fanned out across many states to help pick up the pieces. Public policy should respect the vital role these Good Samaritans play and, at the very least, not harm their ability to serve the common good.

    In southern Indiana, the New Albany Salvation Army set up food canteens to feed survivors. In Missouri, volunteers from Mennonite Disaster Service helped survivors clean up debris and moved livestock to safe facilities. And in Alabama, Catholic Charities USA helped provide sanitation services and tree removal for storm victims.

    Whether it’s a hurricane in New Orleans, an earthquake in Haiti, or tornadoes in Illinois, Good Samaritans roll up their sleeves and help in whatever ways they can. And they often stick around to help long after the government shelters are disbanded.

    What tends to motivate local groups like this is faith. Spurred by a sense of calling to love their neighbors and care for those in need, these groups’ religious identity is crucial to their effectiveness.

    Sadly, these are some of the very organizations that will suffer under Obamacare. In particular, Obamacare’s anti-conscience mandate will force insurance plans, including those carried by religious employers, to provide coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization—even if such coverage violates their beliefs. If employers choose to drop insurance coverage or not to comply with the mandate, they will face steep fines.

    These fines on faith could divert dollars to Washington bureaucrats instead of charity-run relief efforts in Alabama and Indiana. As a result of these fines, some faith-based organizations may have to eliminate programs and staff and perhaps even shut down completely.

    Only houses of worship will be exempted from the mandate; most groups like these relief agencies will not. That’s because the Obama Administration has decided that only churches that serve people of their own faith should be protected as “religious organizations.” According to this logic, neither the Salvation Army nor Catholic Charities USA qualifies as religious, because they provide food, water, and shelter to whoever needs it without first stopping to ask about their theology. Under Obamacare, not even Jesus and his disciples or the Good Samaritan would be considered religious enough to qualifyBy weakening their religious liberty and identity, Obamacare threatens not only religious groups and individual business owners but also threatens the common good they serve. Obamacare needs to be repealed, and our public officials need to protect the good work that faith-based groups do in responding in times of need.

    Posted in Featured, Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to Disaster Relief Shows Why Government Should Protect Good Samaritans

    1. Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      "As a result of these fines, some faith-based organizations may have to eliminate programs and staff and perhaps even shut down completely."

      That is exactly what Obama wants to happen, so that our benevolent federal government can provide for all of everyone's needs…and maybe even withhold some of that care if you step out of line.

      Who really believes houses of worship will be exempt indefinitely from this mandate? Are we supposed to take some solace in that exemption? A previous Heritage post stated that the statutory basis for this mandate is suspect at best. What will stop a second-term Obama or any future President and his or her bureaucracy from whimsically issuing mandates to suit their desires? I call this the rule of men not the rule of law.

      Repeal Obamacare!

    2. Slick says:

      The progressive plan is to make us dependent upon the government for every single breath we take!!! And it appears they are well on the way to making that a fact of life. What do they now control? Our food, our air, our water, our land, our health care, our money, our religion . . . WHAT is left that they need before they lower the hammer and cause the fatal blow to be struck?

      There are approximately 49% of our population who pay NO taxes, and a large portion of them receive a check from one or more of the many government programs every single MONTH!!!! We are quickly approaching a point where those who do NOT contribute will out-number the rest of us. What do YOU think will happen then?

    3. O2BMe says:

      A priest from the pulpit announced that his diocese would close all hospitals and nursing homes rather than comply or pay the steep fine. That will leave 2 hospitals in that whole area and one nursing home. It will also force the overcrowded public schools to absorb their students. It will also close the charity they run that provides money for the poor's utility bills, food and counseling.

    4. Silverspoon says:

      As part of the Church Militant, I cannot be confined to four walls (house of worship). I truly believe the far reaching mandates of "obamacare" are only now just emerging. It is so sad to watch our precious constitution being punctured daily.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.