Father Mark Hodges: OBAMACARE MANDATE UPDATE
Terrence Jeffrey: The Justice Department presented the Newland family of Colorado
-who own Hercules Industries, a heating, ventilation and air-conditioning business-
with an ultimatum: Give up your religion or your business.
“Hercules Industries has ‘made no showing of a religious belief which requires that [it] engage in the [HVAC] business,” the Justice Department said in a formal filing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.
In response to the Justice Department’s argument that the Newlands can either give up practicing their religion or give up owning their business, the Alliance Defending Freedom said in a reply brief: "[T]o the extent the government is arguing that its forced abortion coverage mandate does not really burden the Newlands because they are free to abandon their jobs, their livelihoods, and their property so that others can take over Hercules and comply, this expulsion from business would be an extreme form of government burden.”
At stake is whether businesses are protected by the First Amendment—the part of the Bill of Rights that guarantees not only the free exercise of religion but also freedom of speech and of the press.
The Newland family are Christians who founded Hercules in 1962 and have maintained it as a family-owned business ever since—growing it to the point where they now employ 265 people.
The Newlands’ lawsuit challenges an ObamaCare regulation that requires virtually all health plans to cover abortions, sterilizations and chemical contraceptives. This goes directly against the Newlands' religion, which considers baby killing a violation of the civil rights of the child.
Under the Obamacare law, businesses that have more than 50 employees must provide health insurance to their employees or face a huge daily penalty per employee. To satisfy the mandate, the insurance must include the free abortion-sterilization-contraception benefit. The regulation just took effect on Aug. 1.
Last month, the Catholic bishops of the United States unanimously adopted a statement declaring Sebelius’s regulation an “unjust and illegal mandate” and a “violation of personal civil rights.”
While much of the media attention on Sebelius’ regulation has focused on the fact that it will apply to famous Catholic religious institutions such as Catholic University and the University of Notre Dame, the Catholic bishops have repeatedly pointed out that the regulation also violates the First Amendment-protected religious liberty of all Christians and morally-minded individuals. That includes employees who will be forced to pay insurance premiums which violate the teachings of their faith, and business owners who will be forced to provide such plans.
In their unanimous statement, the Catholic bishops declared that Sebelius’s regulation created a class of Americans “with no conscience protection at all: individuals who, in their daily lives, strive to live consistently with their faith and moral values.
In their complaint against the Obama administration, the Newlands clearly explained why they could not comply with Sebelius’s regulation without violating their religious faith:
We believe our operation of Hercules must be guided by ethical social principles, that the adherence of our business practice according to Christian ethics and religious and moral teachings is a genuine calling from God, that our faith prohibits us to sever their religious beliefs from their daily business practice, and that our faith requires us to integrate the gifts of the spiritual life, the virtues, morals, and ethical social principles of Christian teaching into our life and work.
“As a matter of religious faith the Newlands believe that Catholic teachings are among the religious ethical teachings they must follow throughout their lives including in their business practice.”
The Justice Department responded by arguing that if the Newlands’ Roman Catholic faith prevented them from following the Obama administration’s command that they provide their employees with abortion coverage, the Newlands could simply give up their business entirely.
Significantly, the U.S. Justice Department argued that business owners do not have a First Amendment right to the free exercise religion in the way they conduct their businesses. “Plaintiffs have not sufficiently alleged that the (abortion) coverage regulations substantially burden their religious exercise,” the Justice Department told the court. "Any burden is caused by the company’s choice to enter into a commercial activity.”
In rebutting the Justice Department on behalf of the Newland family, the Alliance Defending Freedom responded, “The government argues that the Newlands forfeited their right to religious liberty as soon as they endeavored to earn their living by running a corporation. Nothing in the Constitution, the Supreme Court’s decisions, or federal law requires—or even suggests—that families forfeit their religious liberty protection when they try to earn a living, such as by operating a corporate business."
If they refuse to pay for child murder, families like the Newlands would still be required to pay a penalty to the government of about $2,000 per year for each employee they did not insure. If businesses like the Newlands' try to continue providing insurance to their workers that does not cover abortions, they will be hit with confiscatory financial penalties. The fine is approximately $100 per day per employee. With 265 employees, a business like the Newlands' would need to pay the government $26,500 per day, or $9,672,500 every year.
And ObamaCare is good for business?http://cnsnews.com/news/article/doj-colorado-family-give-your-religion-or-your-business
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