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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

9/20/2013 (6 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

HHS edict violates freedom of religion.

The HHS edict issued by the Obama administration that violates religious freedom may be on its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. A lawsuit against section 1001 of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) has made its way to Supreme Court review.

Youth protesters challenge the HHS edict as a violation of their religious freedoms.

Youth protesters challenge the HHS edict as a violation of their religious freedoms.

Article Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/20/2013 (6 months ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: HHS, Obamacare, mandate, religious freedom, abortion, contraceptives


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Health and Human Services edict was one of the first parts of Obamacare to be enacted and requires all employers, religious or not, to pay for their employee's contraceptives. Some of those contraceptives also serve as abortifacients, thus killing children after conception.

For faithful Christians, this edict requires they participate in morally objectionable behavior, thus violating their own conscience as a requirement for engaging in work. This is patently unconstitutional since the First Amendment protects the freedom of religious practice from government intrusion.

This objection was immediately recognized when the edict was issued and the Obama administration promptly revised their edict to excuse some religious employers, such as churches, from the mandate.

Still, the changes did not go far enough. Many businesses, although entirely secular in scope, are owned by religious employers. What then, of those people? Must they violate their conscience to earn a living?

These same employers create millions of jobs and pay billions in taxes. The Obama administration has, for the most part, insisted they pay.

Over 60 lawsuits have been filed against the edict, including many brought by Catholic institutions. Many others are from non-profit entities which would also be forced to pay for unconscionable practices.

Those lawsuits have now been bundled into the case headed to the Supreme Court. So far, lower courts have mostly ruled against the businesses, although there have been some victories, which confuses the issue greatly. According to the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, businesses cannot assert religious-liberty rights. At the same time, businesses are perfectly free to exercise First Amendment rights when it comes to political speech.

Although lower court rulings are often convoluted and contradictory, one ruling is beyond question. Natural Law and basic Christian teaching instruct, unambiguously, that abortion, abortifacients, and contraceptive use are immoral and it is wrong to participate in these sins.

This means that without relief from the Supreme Court, many religious employers will be forced to either close their businesses, change the way they do business, or simply live with a hobbled conscience and answer to God.

Within the next month, the Obama administration is expected to encourage the court to take up the case and give the matter a hearing in 2014. That would perhaps settle, once and for all, just how much power the Federal government has over the spiritual lives of citizens.

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