Northern Illinois Tea Party –
Roscoe, Illinois – (July 20,2013) – An unprecedented move of the Obama Administration against religious institutions will reach its deadline this August 1st. That Health and Human Services G*IS) policy, written in its role of enforcement of ObamaCare, required faith-based employers to include in their insurance coverage’s procedures and drugs many churches find objectionable, including contraception, sterilization and the “morning after pill.”Only worshipping bodies are exempt.
The move affected religious schools and universities, social service agencies charities, even church-run food banks, which previously had been considered outgrowths of the religious missions of the churches or synagogues, and therefore exempt from government regulation. When objection was made by religious institutions, President Obama offered first an “accommodation” whereby the insurer would swallow the cost of those medical procedures, as if that would meet the moral objection so the faith-based employer(many of whom self-insure). Then Obama, on January 20,2012, gave the institutions an additional year to comply with the insurance coverage’s which period ends Aug. 1.
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty explained in an amicus brief to a Supreme Court June 20, 2013 ruling limiting the conditions the government can attach to federal grants,
“Unfortunately, though the Aug. 1 deadline for ObamaCare’s implementation is just five
weeks away, there has been no evidence that the White House cares about the religious liberty concerns raised since the draft regulations were first announced and later reissued.” Already the Department of Health and Human Services faces a number of lawsuits, and many institutions like mine are ready to go to federal court to litigate if the final regulations continue to employ accounting gimmicks and-sleight-of-hand maneuvers to force compliance with a policy we find unconscionable.”
U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenbeny (R-NE), was sponsor of HR 1179, Respect for Rights of Conscience Act of 201 I , a bill to ensure religious health care providers, such as Catholic hospitals, are able to practice both their professions and their faith simultaneously. The bill died in committee.4Fortenberry said in a statement.
“Under this [Health and Human Services] rule, within a year, religiously affiliated
medical providers would have to fire and refuse to treat persons of other faiths in order to uphold their own deeply held beliefs – or be forced …to close their doors rather than
violate tenets of their religion. This is forced discrimination. This is wrong. No American
should be forced to choose between their faith and their job.”‘
According to the Catholic Health Association of the U.S., Catholic hospitals account for 15.6 percent of all admissions, and treat persons of all religions or no religion. Similarly, they employ persons of any faith. The religious practices of employment seekers are not an issue in hiring. If Catholic hospitals did so discriminate, the HHS regulations would leave the faith-based employer free to refuse objectionable insurance coverage’s. In essence government is now determining what constitutes a church, and limiting it to actual worshiping communities.
Said, Northern IL Tea Party board member, Sharon Larson, “The Founding Fathers would be spinning in their graves! This is a profound violation of the First Amendment right of religious freedom.” NITP is based in the Roscoe, Rockton, South Beloit, Illinois communities.
“Freedom of conscience is a sacred gift from God, not a grant from the state,” said Galen Carey, vice president for government relations at the National Association of Evangelicals. “No government has the right to compel its citizens to violate their conscience. The HHS rules trample on our most cherished freedoms and set a dangerous precedent If this narrow definition of ‘religious employer’ is adopted in other areas of law, it may lead to further erosion of the conscience protections Americans have historically held.”
Chicago Archbishop Francis Cardinal Georges sent a message to parishioners in the archdiocese that the Catholic Church would shut down its various institutions in the community before violating the core doctrine of Humanae Vitae by providing contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients to its employees, free or otherwise.
A threatened closing of Catholic health care systems across the country “would create a disaster for the delivery of health care in the country, and rapidly escalate the public costs of health care,” wrote Edward Morrissey in a March 1,201? article in The Fiscal Times, titled “Obama Risks $100 Billion If Catholic Hospitals Close.”
“Richard Land, who leads the largest Southern Baptist organization in the U.S., proclaimed solidarity with Catholics and pledged to go to jail before submitting to the HHS mandate.”