How long would it take you to change your mind about a core conviction, something you believe in the very fiber of your being? What if it was written into law and you were forced to betray your conviction?
For many Catholics and others, it is a reality happening this very moment.
It’s a sad day when the resounding cry among Americans is “How dare he?!”
President Obama violated Americans’ fundamental right to religious freedom when he signed into law a mandate forcing religious organizations (using their donor/member dues) to pay for health insurance that covers sterilization, controversial abortifacients, and contraceptives.
As the president and CEO of a faith-based public policy group, I believe that President Obama has made a mockery of our country’s religious freedoms. And although my religious-based organization does not take a definitive stance on contraception, in this case, we are all Catholics now!
The Obama administration’s unmerciful mandate tears at religious freedom, the very root of American freedom and democracy.
In her recent USA Today editorial, Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), made a pitiful attempt to defend HHS’ mandate by asserting the Obama administration succeeded at balancing religious freedom and providing women with “critical” birth control.
Yet, even left-of-center analysts disagree with Secretary Sebelius. Kristen Powers, political analyst and columnist for the Daily Beast rightly wrote, “The administration claims its decision to force Catholic institutions to pay for insurance covering contraceptives is ‘balanced’ — so why, when religious liberty was weighted against access to birth control, did freedom lose?”
Secretary Sebelius, decisively forcing religious groups to deny their deeply held religious convictions within a one-year timespan is not called “balance”; it’s called “tyranny.”
Catholics, Baptists, Jews, Mormons, Muslims, and atheists alike should be seething at the White House-directed Department of Health and Human Services mandate, which goes far beyond the issue of birth control to threaten our freedom of conscience.
Americans across partisan and religious lines are infuriated by the Obama administration’s ruling, and the backlash is just beginning.
The serious indignation sparked by the contraception mandate is so vast that Congress has begun to intervene. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has set out to overturn Obama’s anti-conscience mandate and has proposed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 2012.
In his latest New York Post editorial, Sen. Rubio wrote that his bill is “a narrowly focused, common-sense measure that simply says the government can’t force religious organizations to abandon the fundamental tenets of their faith.”
According to Life News, 21 senators and many prominent national pro-life organizations have rallied their support around Sen. Rubio’s new legislation, which is currently being amended by both the House and Senate to broaden its parameters.
We thank God that Sen. Rubio is at the forefront of this issue, along with 154 Congressional Representative who, on Tuesday, signed a letter of petition calling on President Obama to repeal his decision.
Even the military is being affected by what is being dubbed Obama’s “anti-conscience mandate.”
Fox News.com reports that on January 26 Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio sent a plea to Catholic military chaplains urging them to denounce President Obama’s health care law and speak out against the contraception mandate.
There are 1.5 million Catholic U.S. military families, and officials no doubt expected a staunch backlash.
Army officials went so far as to instruct chaplains not to read Archbishop Broglio’s request, which read, “We cannot — we will not — comply with this unjust law,” and continued, “As a result, unless the rule is overturned, we Catholics will be compelled to choose between violating our consciences or dropping health coverage for our employees (and suffering the penalties for doing so).”
Concerned Women for America and others will not tolerate this unprecedented trampling of our First Amendment rights!
We will fight it in the Halls of Congress.
We will fight it in the courts.
We will fight it in the pulpits and, if necessary, we will fight it in peaceful demonstrations on the streets of America.
Our Founding Fathers died for this right.
Mr. President, how dare you?!
Penny Young Nance is President and CEO of Concerned Women for America.
Penny Young Nance is president and CEO of Concerned Women for America, the nation’s largest women’s public policy organization. She is the author of the forthcoming book "Feisty and Feminine: A Rallying Cry for Conservative Women" (Zondervan 2016).