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Guest Opinion: The Obama Mandate is the Gravest Threat to Religious Freedom in 226 Years

By Ken Blackwell and Bob Morrison
October 9th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

President Obama  doesn't care  what you think, so long as you join him in helping  to destroy the unborn on demand. And help him by paying for it. The Virginia Statute of  1786 freed citizens from having to pay taxes to churches whose doctrines they disbelieved and whose worship practices they did not share.

WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic online) - A liberal reporter speaking at a conference in Georgetown recently dismissed conservative alarms about the Obama administration's mandate that forces religious institutions--like Catholic Hospitals and Evangelical colleges--to provide coverage for drugs and procedures that can abortions and that effect sterilizations.

"What about the anti-Catholic Bible riots in Philadelphia in the 1840s," she asked. Those led to scores of people actually being killed. Those Bible riots were deplorable, a blot on American history. But they were not the acts of the federal government. They were lawless violence, not a deliberate policy of oppression.
 
James Madison famously said the people are right to take alarm at the "first advance on their liberties." The Obama Mandate will force us to violate our consciences. President Obama famously said he doesn't know when human life begins, but he's willing to force us to collaborate in  the destruction of  innocent human lives. We do know when human life begins. So does science.

So, increasingly, do millions of young Americans who see their first photo--an ultra-sound picture taken of them in their mothers' wombs. This is why, even liberal columnist Joe Klein writes, "ultrasound has made it impossible to deny that that thing in the womb is a human being." He conceded this in TIME magazine, no less. But President Obama and his administration deny this eternal  truth every day. And he wants to force you to deny it, too.
 
Madison happily reported to Thomas Jefferson in France in 1786 that the Virginia legislature had finally passed their great Statute for Religious Freedom. Madison exulted that this historic law would "establish" not a single church or denomination, but religious freedom itself--for the first time in human history. This measure would become the  foundation for civil liberty, he thought. And it would add immeasurably to the "lustre of our country." No more would governments presume to tell men what they must think. Conscience had been liberated.

President Obama  doesn't care  what you think, so long as you join him in helping  to destroy the unborn on demand. And help him by paying for it. The Virginia Statute of  1786 freed citizens from having to pay taxes to churches whose doctrines they disbelieved and whose worship practices they did not share.

Now, all  Americans are forced to join President Obama's professed ignorance of when human life begins, when the unborn come to possess the right to life. Abraham Lincoln had no such doubts as this Illinois president expresses. He said "nothing stamped in the  divine image was sent into the world to be trod upon." That firm faith impelled Lincoln to  reject human  bondage inspires millions of Americans to reject this slaughter of innocents.
 
Madison wrote in  Federalist No. 51 that the multiplicity of sects (religious denominations) is what enabled Virginians to establish religious freedom in 1786. And he argued that the checks and balances of the new Constitution would be preserve civil liberty in the new American republic. That's what's in danger now.

If the Obama Mandate stands, Americans will all be forced either to violate their own consciences or be taxed for the suppression of other Americans' consciences. We have long recognized conscientious objection in granting exemptions from the military draft. President  Obama's proposed religious exemption from his abortion mandate is so narrowly drawn that it is questionable whether even Jesus' ministry would qualify.
 
We are putting at risk America's unique contribution to the world: religious freedom. How much  longer can we say, with George Washington, that in America "each shall sit under  his  own vine and fig tree and there  shall be none to make him afraid."

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Ken Blackwell and Bob Morrison are senior fellows at the Family Research Council.

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