This Friday morning, the Obama administration issued a so-called compromise on the HHS mandate requiring employers to provide coverage of contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs. The compromise has been slammed as phony.
Now, while this compromise does somewhat protect church organizations and religious non-profits, it still raises the question: what about non-religiously affiliated non-profits and for-profit companies? Hobby Lobby will certainly come to mind for many. This for-profit company, run by Christians who already provide health care coverage to their employees but find it against their religious views to cover abortion-inducing drugs, will pay $1.3 million a day for refusing to comply.
With such a “compromise” that leaves out companies like Hobby Lobby, this administration, and the judges who have stood by the mandate, are stating that freedom of religion or conscience does not apply to those who are in business to make a profit. What America are we living in where you have to choose between exercising our religious beliefs or moral convictions and operating a business?
An article from LifeNews about the compromise and how it applies to Hobby Lobby includes a statement from Kyle Duncan of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which has to do with arguments made by the Obama administration:
The administration’s arguments in this case are shocking. Here’s what they are saying: once someone starts a “secular” business, he categorically loses any right to run that business in accordance with his conscience. The business owner simply leaves her First Amendment rights at home when she goes to work at the business she built. Kosher butchers around the country must be shocked to find that they now run “secular” businesses. On this view of the world, even a seller of Bibles is “secular.” Hobby Lobby’s affiliate, Mardel, sells Bibles and other Christian-themed material, but because it makes a profit the government has now declared it “secular.”
Such an argument may be shocking, even disturbing. One may start to wonder, is the Obama administration concerned about a compromise? Worse, is the administration even really all that concerned about religious freedom? Obama has carefully substituted “freedom of religion” with “freedom of worship,” which Duncan has also commented on in his statement.
Being forced to provide contraception and abortion inducing drugs may not affect one’s “freedom of worship,” though it certainly does affect one’s “freedom of religion.” But if the president cares only about “freedom of worship,” then he’s unlikely to be sympathetic to the religious conflicts of companies like Hobby Lobby. Again, this certainly shows with a compromise that fails to permit all Americans to fully exercise their freedoms.
If this administration truly cares about freedom of religion, then the people in it must get serious. And to do that, this business with issuing a “compromise” needs to end. Freedom of religion is not something on which one should have to “compromise,” particularly when this freedom is in our Constitution. The right to free birth control is not. By favoring free birth control coverage over freedom of religion and making such statements that substitute “freedom of religion” with “freedom of worship,” one has to wonder if Obama is even familiar with the Constitution. That’s pretty frightening when mentioning the president of the United States, and a former law professor to boot.
Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life makes what may be a bold statement, but it is truly the only one to fully protect religious freedom for all. He says, “We see only one acceptable change regarding the mandate: rescind it completely.”
With the freedoms we are guaranteed in this county, any employer should be free to provide birth control coverage to employees, but at the same time, any employer should be free to deny this coverage based on religious or moral beliefs. That is what true freedom is.