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  • Morning Bell: Protecting Religious Liberty from Obamacare

    The Supreme Court will hand down its verdict on Obamacare this week, making it a timely occasion for Americans to show their support for religious freedom—only one of many freedoms steamrolled by the health care law.

    This spring, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius acknowledged she did not even enlist the legal advice of the Department of Justice on whether it is constitutional to force religious employers to provide coverage of abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization against their moral or religious beliefs. She admitted in congressional testimony that she neglected to obtain an adequate legal analysis of the HHS anti-conscience mandate before promulgating the Obamacare rule that tramples on religious liberty.

    That disrespect for constitutionally guaranteed religious freedom has led Americans to participate in the Fortnight for Freedom, a nationwide demonstration. Launched June 21, the Fortnight for Freedom runs through July 4—a two-week opportunity for citizens to celebrate our rich heritage of religious liberty and call for greater defense of this precious right.

    Often called the “first freedom,” religious liberty is the cornerstone of American freedoms. The ability to freely worship and act in accordance with a particular faith without fear of government reprisal is essential to civil society.

    As Heritage’s Jennifer Marshall has explained:

    Far from privatizing religion, the American model of religious liberty assumes that religious believers and institutions will take active roles in society…In fact, the American Founders considered religious engagement in shaping the public morality essential to ordered liberty and the success of their experiment in self government.

    That right includes the ability to practice one’s faith even outside the four walls of a church. The Constitution does not merely protect the freedom to worship in private and on certain days of the week. It is a guarantee that individuals can allow their faith to inform and motivate their lives and work.

    That is why Secretary Sebelius’s disregard for the Constitution’s religious freedom protections is so particularly egregious.

    Obamacare’s anti-conscience mandate has a narrow religious exemption that applies only to formal houses of worship. Countless other religious employers, like Catholic schools, hospitals, and crisis pregnancy centers are forced to provide coverage for the mandated services despite moral or religious objections—simply because they step outside the four walls of a church to serve others.

    Insinuating that faith should remain behind closed doors, not influencing or inspiring care for others, the government’s narrow view of religion has created what some have called a “religious caste system.” Only those considered “religious enough” by government bureaucrats are awarded religious freedom under the mandate.

    The HHS mandate’s narrow view of religion is only one of many examples of the increasing erosion of religious liberty. For example:

    • State laws instituting civil unions or redefining marriage have forced faith-based adoption and foster care services in Illinois, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia to close their doors rather than violate their beliefs about placing children in homes with a married mother and father.
    • Last fall, HHS bureaucrats refused to renew a grant for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to partner with law enforcement to help victims of human trafficking, simply because the group would not violate its beliefs by referring for abortions.

    Religious liberty conflicts are often early warning signs for threats to general freedoms. The anti-conscience mandate, for instance, is only the first of many rules that will run afoul of freedom as Obamacare is fully implemented. Rescinding the mandate would protect religious freedom in this instance specifically, but only repealing Obamacare can adequately protect religious and other liberties more generally and make way for health care reform that meets patients’ needs, consistent with their convictions. If the Supreme Court does not strike down the entire health care law this week, Congress should move to repeal what remains.

    Protecting Americans’ right to live out their faith in the public square and for organizations to hire and serve others in accordance with their deeply held beliefs is essential to sustaining robust religious freedom. That kind of respect requires leaders who recognize constitutional limits on government power.

    Despite the Obama Administration’s recent neglect of those limits, the freedoms enshrined in our founding document will be hard to ignore on July 4. As the Fortnight for Freedom concludes, church bells across the country will ring simultaneously at noon (Eastern time), declaring loudly: Let Religious Freedom Ring.

    Quick Hits

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    39 Responses to Morning Bell: Protecting Religious Liberty from Obamacare

    1. toledofan says:

      The bill has been a farce from the beginning and even if the supremes just make the case that the mandate is unconstitutional, the entire bill should be reshaped into something that makes sense and has more market driven solutions rather than government mandates. I think that the current administration has created so much excess heartburn for all Americans, I don't know if there are enough tums to put out the fire; the pain and suffering has just been enoumous.

    2. Ken Jarvis says:

      Ask yourself – What is it you HATE –
      Obama or HCare for ALL?

      LVKen7@Gmail.com

      • oldtimer says:

        both. primarily his arrogance and total disregard for the constitution and the people.

      • Joseph McKennan says:

        I do not hate anything or anybody. I have never witheld my help from anybody.
        Actually I feel revulsion for narrowmindedness in which a complex issue is smugly compacted into an either/or as you have suggested.

    3. D P Johnson says:

      But how do we feel about religious freedom and associated rights for religions that are not mainstream (yet) in the United States? Some of those beliefs and practices are objectionable and perhaps illegal under our laws. Where/how do you draw a line…or don't you?

      • Bill Hineser says:

        Apparently Muslems are exempt from ObamaCare as they feel buying insurance is a form of gambling. So why is one of our major religions subject to persecution. I am not of either religion. But fair is fair…..or is it.

    4. Frank says:

      ObamaCare is just the latest in a very long series of Unconstitutional Federal over reaches never intended by our Founding Fathers. Big government loving ("Statist") Ds & Rs are both at fault over many years. The American electorate needs to wake up to the fact that "Left" v "Right" is no longer the critical political aspect to look at, rather Big Government "Statists" v Small Government "Constitutionalists" are now the key aspects in deciding how to vote. I hope ObamaCare will be overturned, but then the issue will turn to what the Federal Government should replace ObamaCare with. My answer: NOTHING!! There is nothing in the Constitution that explicitly empowers the Federal Government to operate along these lines. If states want to try, then that's another matter as powers not granted to the Federal Government are reserved to the States (within certain limits & within the Bill of Rights). The average American voter has to realize that our nation has become an out-of-control welfare/warfare/Police State. Somehow that trend must be reversed & we must return to a small, limited Constitutional government.

      • ltcurry says:

        With a strong Military as usual, Lets honestly pray we keep, not scrap after Iraq and Afghanistan is considered over. There are world threats these idiots still ignore.

        • Frank says:

          Yes we should have a strong military & I certainly endorse that… which would include missile defense. But we don't need the Cold War leftover of 800+ bases in 120+ nations around the world. Troops could be recalled, based closed, borders guarded better & our military defense forces upgraded with money saved from the recall & from ending the perpetual, undeclared, Unconstitutional wars (because we appointed ourselves to be the "world's policeman" at our expense). We can follow our Founding Father's advice: non-interventionism & free trade (WITHOUT becoming "isolationists").

    5. Dr. Henry Sinopoli says:

      While I do not always agree with Heritage's methodology, I must admit you are one of the few intellectual, as well, as 'logical' proponents of protecting the founding principles of our nation. On this particular point, Protecting Religious Liberity, I again point to our legislative leaders…people who have served in the House & Senate for years, they have seen us going down this 'slippery-slope for many years, but have pandered to special interest 'politicially correct' groups to sustain their position in the legislature.

      The time to address issues is not when the dam breaks, but when the cracks start to form. Proponents against any religious rights have wittled away at this for years, and our life-long politicians have 'gone along to get along'. It is now ripe because we have a community agaitator in office who sees our country as needing to be changed to a autocracy.

      • Joseph McKennan says:

        You are being a lot more generous than I would be- calling BHO a community agitator. I share your views on a lot of things but I do draw the line at snubbing the heritage foundation- they are all we have left. I have begun to fortify myself to the possibility of being martyred by this government because I will not accept this slimy business they are ramming down our throats.
        I have never been afraid of the government until lately but I am not a coward and rich men do not own my soul.

    6. First of all this law has been crammed down our throats by the Demoncrats without anyone allowed to read it. Second, I think it is totally unconstitutional for the government to make us buy something we don't want. And finally, Obama and all his henchmen is unconstitutional. He is running this country like a dictatorship and that is unconstitutional!

    7. Larry Laurent says:

      Please cancel my e-mail's to nwdofil@aol.com

      Thank you.
      Larry Laurent

    8. Jeanne Stotler says:

      I am a firm believer in the Constitution, it says "Congress shall make NO LAW respecting the establishment of religion, or PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THERE OF" I do not know how it could be any clearer. And as for care for all, it's a falicy that many are not taken care of, as a nurse I've cared for many who were on welfare and medicaid, now this will go out of bounds and care will be rationed if not denied to many. No ER CAN TURN AWAY a patient because of inability to pay, this was covered under previous laws, Private hospitals MUST stabilize a patient before transferring to a public hospital.

    9. Jerry Porter says:

      Sometime ago Rush Limbaugh got it right when he referred to Obama as "The Anointed One." Since Obama was George Soros' boy in every respect except birth, "the anointed one" is an appropriate moniker. Our beloved Republic has faced its most serious threat to every founding ideal on which it was built during these three and a half years. The dictatorial ethos and practices of the Obama gang is a sobering analogu to European events of the thirties and forties. Obama's single term of office must go down in history as an abominable period—and surely, the prescience of F. A. Hayek figuratively smiles while shuttering at all this.

    10. Curt Krehbiel says:

      "Religious liberty conflicts are often early warning signs for threats to general freedoms."

      And the reelection of the present regime is the most serious threat to general freedoms this country has ever faced. Communism respects no religion!

    11. Clearhead says:

      Religious freedom is the very original CORE, the actual NUCLEUS of thought, spirit and ACTION that gave birth to our magnifiscent country. We can sit idly by and watch while a brainwashed and manipulated pothead brings America to its knees, or we can take whatever ACTION is necessary to preserve our Republic. "Cats" will observe the entire process with total unconcern. Lemmings will follow the 'leader' into total oblivion. AMERICANS will ACT !! What are we?

    12. Clearhead says:

      Great post, Sarah. A comment: The article states "…..That right includes the ability to practice one’s faith even outside the four walls of a church…." A CHURCH has no WALLS. A CHURCH is a group of people who are of one mind in accordance with a specific religious philosophy. Therefore, Miss Hillary and the rest of the 'progressives' who are trying to change the Contitutional phrase, FREEDOM OF RELIGION into their own restrictive phrase, "Freedom Of Worship" are barking up a tree with no limbs. This sort of 'subtlety' brings to mind Kruschev's famous statement about feeding Americans Socialism little by little until one day they wake up and realize they are embracing Communism.

    13. O2BMe says:

      The whole bill needs to be thrown out if for no other reason it is 2000+ pages that no one has even read, even the Supreme Court didn't read it. The new bill should have just enough pages that everyone is able to read it. It should be posted on-line for the public to read and left there long enough that they have time to read it and give input. The people should be allowed to shop across State lines and we need Tort control. Everyone should be allowed to customize their insurance and not have to pay for procedures that they will never use. People should be able to choose how much their deductible will be.

    14. Mary Jane Casablanca says:

      It's not just churches and religious organizations who are threatened by this. Any Christian employer who wants to provide health insurance for his employees would be forced to violate his beliefs by having to provide abortion and birth control coverage against his will. This is a much greater issue than just the Catholic church. It affects most of us at some level.

    15. Jeanne Stotler says:

      In 1620 my ancestor, Richard Warren(one of the backers) left England and sailed with people' who were leaving England after trying life in Holland. There was a lot I learned from reading Gov. Wm. Bradford's writings on Life in the Plimouth Colony, one, ALL able bodied people worked or didn't eat, 2- they belived in God and conducted services every Sunday Morning. Since Prayer, Bilble readings and dress codes have been removed from the schools, crime by juviniles has increased. We had a Bill of Rights, Articles of Confederation and Constitution drawn up over a 100 yrs later by others who came here or were offspring of the original Plymoth and Jamestown + other settlements along the east coast, none was intended to give anyone a lifetime job, the Pres. and Congress were to serve your term than GO HOME and tend your crops, jobs etc. NOW we have senile old men deciding this countries path and a POTUS who may not even be legally in office and every attempt to make things right comes with saying we are racist or worse. Nov. 6th 2012 is the MOST important vote in many years, we need to tae back this country as we first did on Bunker Hilland other battlefields of the first Revolution

    16. Ted Bandley says:

      FYI, I attended Catholic Church this weekend, the main topic of the sermon was protecting religious freedom in America. According to the priest, a National Church Directive is to proclaim the last week of June and the First Week of July as "defend our Religious freedom period". He said take action against the present administration against the attack of our basic beliefs, do all you can to stop this action against our and all other Christian Faith groups. Giving up just one little part of our Constitutional Freedoms will erode all of our inalienable rights given to us not by government but by God. Go forth and stop this restriction on our Faith Based Beliefs, It will cost us more of our freedoms in the future.
      He did not say vote for Romney, and did not say to vote against Obama, didn't mention any names, but he did say that from America's Start people gave their lives to give us this freedom the least that you can do is to do the right thing and do all you can to sop this attack on our freedom by our Government.!

    17. Casey Carlton says:

      As you indicate in this article, religious liberty is only one of the many freedoms in danger of disappearing if the socialists (progressives, liberals, or whatever epithet you prefer) continue to have their way. We have already lost far too much. Will we continue our Rip Van Winkle sleep? His lasted for twenty years, but ours has lasted much, much longer.

      • Jeanne Stotler says:

        This is what happened n Germany in the 30's, first you take away the right to worship as you please, the freedom to assemble peacefully, then another and another until the Goverment has take over every aspect of your life.. My cousin's father in law fought WWI under the Kaiser, he left Germany with his wife and 2 small daughters and came to USA where he had 2 more children,he became a citizen, he worked hard, raised his family and saw his son-in laws go off to fight his home land in WWII. He told me that he never regretted coming here and he saw what was happening in Germany after WWI and wanted a better life not one of suppression.

    18. Al Thomas says:

      THE WIND OF CHANGE

      A voice in the wind cries tenderly.
      This voice is convincing of life`s reality.
      It speaks about our carnality.
      It says much about life`s immorality.

      This voice is not a voice of condemnation.
      It`s rather a voice of love and convection.
      It speaks of loving people of all nations.
      It says that we are of the same creation.

      Are you in the right frame of mind to hear it?
      Our Creator cannot be seen, He is Spirit.
      We can`t see the wind, but we can feel it blow.
      We can`t see God, we feel His presence though.

      You may not hear His voice, but He speaks.
      You may reject Him, but still, He seeks.
      Immorality destroys hearts that are corrupt.
      God`s word is our choice, not forcefully usurped.

      Our Creator speaks gently, lovingly in the wind.
      We have heard the winds of change my friend.
      But has any change brought complete victory?
      Love and hate, we have had all through history.

      © 2012 poetalthomas (All rights reserved)

    19. Peter says:

      The Bible speaks of "the Body of Christ" as being christian believers, and has nothing to do with a building. The Body of Christ incorporates all believers around the world. A church building is nothing more than a place of worship where believers assemble to worship, pray, interact with one another, and glorify the Lord Jesus Christ.

    20. Bobbie says:

      How disappointing in the 21st century of man that Americans have to fight to protect liberties from the 21st century disrespects of government members the people chanced to trust by electing. Today the people live abused by authoritative interference where authority is restricted "BY" the people! Forcing unconstitutional acts on beliefs that promote human dignity! America is the founding of humankind's freedom. Obamacare is the removal of humankind and freedom in areas of health and faith both dishonorably constituted by the President against the will of the people. What a world turning ugly by the weakness of men's own free will! Where one man is deprived of his own dignity is another government gain and the more government gain the more inferior humankind.

    21. RennyG says:

      Al Thomes, comment was beautiful. You can't stop or defend against this person who has no regard for our constitution and/or laws. What is really sad is, NO ONE WILL STAND UP TO THIS GUY AND CUT HIM OFF!!!! I see the ALINSKY THEORY from A to Z, moving right along. The Word says that "a family or country that fights within is LOST!!!!!" All I can say is, "I am on my knees praying to our Lord, the one that is in control of the good and bads. NOT THE POLITICS WE HAVE! We are a sorry group of children!

    22. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Obamacare's going down. It's unconstitutional.

    23. GRACE E. PRATTI says:

      THIS SOUNDS LIKE COMMUNIST, AMERICA STANDS FOR WE THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE NOT ANYONE DICTATING OUR LIVES WHAT WE SHOULD DO, OBAMA IS GETTING OUT OF CONTROL,
      FORCING PEOPLE IN HIS HEALTHCARE AND HIS RULES.

    24. Graham Bartlett says:

      I am a bit concerned about too much emphasis on religious freedom. For instance, does Sharia Law trump US and state laws? Are we opening ouselves up to non-American behavior in the name of religious freedom? We have a culture here, based on Christianity. How do we protect our cullture and our religious freedom?

    25. Glen says:

      This article should be on every editorial page of every newspaper in the country. It would give more people some insight on what is really going on. It might wake some up.

    26. firstpalmjohn says:

      Thank you so much Jeanne as you have stated what many do not understand or are aware of.
      Our medical professionals have NEVER turned their backs on the needy to provide the best care available.
      Then these same professionals go into our most needy regions and also go well beyond our borders providing care for those who have none available. Be proud of our caring medical is it is, for without the freedom to contribute will later be told who to treat, for what amount, to then be ordered to discontinue it.
      Let us hope we all understand our seniors will be the first to have limitations for the sake of cost/benefits!

    27. dougindeap says:

      Notwithstanding the bishops' arm waving about religious liberty, the health care law does not force employers to act contrary to their consciences. Contrary to bishops' assertions and the widespread belief of those who trustingly accept their claims, the law does no such thing. This post, for instance, repeats the lie: "Countless other religious employers, like Catholic schools, hospitals, and crisis pregnancy centers are forced to provide coverage for the mandated services despite moral or religious objectionssimply because they step outside the four walls of a church to serve others."

    28. Joseph McKennan says:

      The ability to freely worship and act in accordance with a particular faith without fear of government reprisal is essential to civil society.
      I have repeatedly contacted my senators to express my concerns about the direction this country is going and their response was a smug condecension explaining that it was necessary to overcome the problems we are facing.
      I have decided that Sens. Cardin and Mikulski will never get my vote in any election from now on….I DO NOT WANT TO BE A COMMUNIST so it it not necessry for me to accept obamacare. If the supreme court does not strike it down then I do not need to accept their decision either.

    29. Joseph McKennan says:

      continued from previous comment
      Every day that I live I am aware of my shortcomings and that is my ticket to the saving power of God through Jesus Christ. As a human being it is my right to say that.
      Since I was born in the United States- George Washington, Thomas Jefferson , James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, Patrick Henry, John Hancock, and others prepared a guideline for life in America that I have an inalienable right to follow if I choose. I do choose this way of life.
      Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Mikulski etal have no right whatsoever to change this fact. That is what I believe and that is how i will continue to live.

    30. Eden says:

      The cost of liberty has never changed: LOVE!— A love of the One who made us & gives it. A love of truth to create wise & just laws. A love for each individual to seek life for themselves. A courageous & vigilant love to speak, live & die for such liberty. A desperate dependent love thru prayer to ask God for His help, who gives the priceless GIFT (not just right) of freedom that few nations have known and none of us deserve. Oh American, may you again know what it means to celebrate your Dependence Day! …in a land of the free.
      (If only Emperor O got it. Enjoy a toon– EdenPoliticalCartoons.com)

    31. Disgusted says:

      Hmmm. So for sure what we all need is lack of acess to birth control for sure. More unwanted, uncared for children in this world that conservatives don't want social programs to pay for. Tht makes a lot of sense. I can't wait to jump on the bandwagon and start putting stupid signs in my front yard.

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