Health care reform harms religious freedom

Columnist and Columnist

The Catholic Church has been part of thousands of lawsuits, but this one may surprise you.

Just last week a Catholic group in Alabama was the first of many to file a lawsuit against the Obama Administration’s birth control regulation, claiming it is unconstitutional.

Signed into law by the president, the Affordable Care Act of 2010, being too long for anyone in Congress to read, contains a mandate for employers, private hospitals and health facilities to provide insurance coverage to get birth control or the morning-after (Plan B) pill for free.

This mandate attacks religious liberty and rips the right to choose from the public’s hands. This isn’t just a Catholic issue, but also a pro-life issue and an issue of big government.

The prime reason this nation was founded was for immigrants to come and to be free of religious persecution.

That’s why our soldiers go out to fight for our liberties. The freedom of religion was put in the First Amendment because it was that important to our founders.

As known, Catholics and many Christians have strict beliefs that contraceptives are immoral. They currently have the constitutional right to oppose contraception and to not provide it.

Soon under this mandate, women who work for Catholic hospitals, universities and other church-run services must be provided insurance that gives them access to health coverage, including sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs and contraception.

The church’s right to contest the use of birth control and its stance on abortion’s morality will be stripped away.

Archbishop Timothy Broglio wrote to Catholics in military congregations about the matter, stating: “Catholics will be compelled to choose between violating our consciences or dropping health care coverage for our employees (and suffering the penalties for doing so). We cannot – and will not – comply with this unjust law.”

All armed services were read this letter except for the Army. Apparently, the Army’s Office of Chief Chaplains felt this might potentially cause Army men and women to not comply with the law and stand their moral grounds.

Such action could lead to problems like civil disobedience, which is a court-martial offense.

In reality, the Army was censored from words by its own religious leaders.

In attempts to make peace with the Catholic Church, Obama stated he would make accommodations.

Obama addressed the issue Sunday in a conference that surprisingly changed the issue from freedom of religion to a women’s health issue.

In his speech he stated that leading health experts in the country advised him that women having access to contraceptives is beneficial to women’s health.

If he is so concerned with women’s health, why would the Obama Administration-appointed U.S. Preventive Service Task Force recommend women needn’t get mammograms until age-50 plus? In the same address, he stated that, with free contraceptives, the money women would save “could go towards paying the rent or buying groceries.”

Many, like President Obama and his administration, attempted to paint this attack on freedom of religion as a women’s health issue. That is incorrect; this has nothing to do with women’s health, but the forcing of privatized institutions and companies to pay for insurance coverage they believe is sinful.

State and religion are supposed to be two separate entities.

The Constitution itself states the government shouldn’t encourage or infringe on the rights of religious institutions, thus infringing on Catholic and other religious institutions and employers.

With Election Day soon approaching, and since this mandate would be ruled a direct violation of the First Amendment by the courts, as expected, Obama gave in to pressure.

Now, all 50 states are exempt from the mandate in the bill .

Women, however, will still have access to contraceptives.

Insurance companies would be required to give the woman contraceptive measures free of cost. They claim no religious institutions will have to pay for or provide contraceptive services; yet, who pays the cost for the insurance premiums?

So, in black and white, this compromise is not a compromise at all.

As months go on, this is just another example of what I presume the American people will find as Obama’s health care bill unfolds.

I predict the American people will raise far more questions of possible violations of the very text of which our nation is was founded on.


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