How Obamacare Tramples Religious Liberty

Obamacare’s abortion mandate went into effect yesterday, and there continues to be a great deal of confusion over the law’s trampling of religious liberty. The public by and large still believes that this is a debate over access to contraception. That is incorrect. No doubt the misunderstanding owes in part to the way the mainstream media have covered the issue.

On NBC’s nightly news broadcast last night, for example, the report spoke only of Obamacare’s coverage for “preventative care” and “contraception” without any mention at all about the fact that Obamacare forces Christians and other religious people to pay for chemical abortions. The report basically presented an argument in favor of the abortion mandate without ever mentioning abortion. Watch the video above, and see for yourself.

With this kind of coverage, it’s no surprise that many Americans have simply not paid attention to this bona fide religious liberty violations provoked by this law. At bottom, this debate is about forcing citizens to pay for services that violate their consciences, and many Americans seem unaware of that.

That is why I want to bring to your attention Joe Carter’s recent run-down of the mandated abortion coverage in Obamacare. It gives concise answers to frequently asked question about what happened yesterday when the law went into effect. In short, here’s what happened:

As of August 1, 2012, employers are now required to offer abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization for their employees. Employers are obligated to provide these services at no cost to their employees through their company’s health insurance.

What does this mean to Christian organizations and Christian business owners who fail to comply?

If employers don’t change their plans, they will be hit with fines of up to $100 per employee per day. But if they stop providing health coverage, employers with more than 50 employees could be hit with an alternative fine of $2,000 per employee per year.

As the Heritage Foundation has noted, for many companies, the level of these fines would mean going out of business. Applying the $100 per employee per day fine to Hercules Industries—a family-owned business with 265 employees that is challenging the mandate in Colorado—would mean a fine of $795,000 per month  ($100 per day x 30 days x 265 employees)—over $9.5 million per year.

However, if Hercules were to drop its health coverage, forcing its employees into government-run exchanges under Obamacare, it would face a fine of approximately $2,000 per employee per year ($2,000 x 265 employees), for a total of $530,000 per year.

This is draconian, but it is a reality in our country as of yesterday. Many of these Christian businesses have asked for emergency relief from the courts. I noted one last week which was granted such relief by a federal court. But for the vast majority, they are not caught between a rock and a hard place. If they don’t get some relief, they will either have to compromise their beliefs or go out of business.

The debate of the abortion mandate is only just getting started. In the meantime, get educated on the abortion mandate by reading Joe Carter’s FAQ’s.

8 Responses to How Obamacare Tramples Religious Liberty

  1. Don Johnson August 2, 2012 at 4:19 pm #

    As far as I can tell, this puts some Christian organizations between a rock and a hard spot and so they will need to suffer the consequences of civil disobedience while applying the principles found in Daniel for appealing for relief. And I see no reason to think that Obama or any in his administration even see what the problem is, so I expect a looong haul.

  2. Ryan Rickard August 2, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

    How is it that on the same blog we are concerned about ‘religious liberty’ also has a problem with gay marriage?

    Don’t you see we are losing this fight? When we deny the religious liberty of one group, homosexuals to stand before their god (the state) and take their vows, we completely lose the right to stand up and complain about our own loss of religious liberty.

    Am I missing something? Is marriage NOT a religious expression?

    • Bill Crawford August 2, 2012 at 4:46 pm #

      Mr. Rickard,

      I believe if a gay couple wanted to have a wedding and a marriage recognized by their church (say a Metropolitan Community Church congregation, they can do that now. I’m not sure I have ever heard reference to gays thinking the state is their god.

      I also wonder if the Obama administration will choose Chick-Fil-A as the first employer to audit for conformity to the new health care law.

      • Ryan Rickard August 2, 2012 at 4:54 pm #

        The gay community, as far as I know, has never explicitly declared that the State is their god, I concede. However, when they require the state’s blessing upon their ceremony as proof of the legitimacy of the ceremony, than de facto the state serves as their god (as we must swear upon that which is higher, according to scripture).

        I am married and my marriage is valid, not because my state says so, but because my God says so. That is point I was attempting to make. Sorry for the confusion.

        • Jason Ruzek August 2, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

          How is forcing or not forcing everyone to endorse homosexual marriage a religious liberty issue? That doesn’t make any sense, unless one is concerned about the feligous liberty of the legions of groups which will have to go against conscience and endorse that which they believe to be wrong. You have the issue backwards, Ryan.

  3. Paul Abella August 3, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

    This isn’t an issue of religious liberty. It’s an issue of employers being able to force their employees to do their bidding off the clock.

    The law doesn’t mandate that everyone has to take birth control, get sterilized or use condoms. It does however say that it has to be made available. That is a huge difference.

    This is a politically motivated fight, not a religiously motivated one. I am sure that no one at my church is up in arms over this, because, well, we’re not more concerned with unseating Obama as president than we are with doing the work of God in the world.

    Get your priorities straight. Sheesh.

  4. Jessica Su August 6, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

    If someone doesn’t want an abortion, she can choose not to have one. The law says the option must be available, but I don’t see how it tramples individual liberty.

  5. Ryan Rickard August 7, 2012 at 11:46 am #

    Religious liberty goes both ways, strange that I have to explain this. Forcing a particular individual to participate in something that violates their conscience or religious principles is clearly a violation of religious liberty. Duly noted.

    But the PROHIBITION of a religious practice is also a violation of religious liberty. Is this really news? So I can accurately state that Germany violates the religious liberty of Jewish families by PROHIBITING them from the practice of circumcision. San Francisco is flirting with the same idea. And Christians will no doubt (and rightfully so) come to the defense of Jewish observers should San Francisco pass such legislation.

    I posit that marriage is in fact a religious expression (not owned by Christians) and our failure to allow Gays to label their ceremony as a marriage is in fact a violation of their religious liberty. Our God most certainly will not recognize their union, but their god will. This is their country, not ours, let them have their marriage.

    It seems strange to me that Christians are up in arms over this issue. We are fighting over the wrong issue here. Does it concern you more that two men are having sex, or that those men have the audacity to call that sex “marriage”?

    That is why I voiced my concern in this post. Can Christians rightfully claim that our religious liberties are being violated, while at the same time telling 2 men that can’t get married in front of their God?

    I find that hypocritical to say the least. Obviously I hate homosexual behavior, but as I mentioned in other places, that is a symptom of the their God-hatred. Let the Gospel heal the God-hatred, and the Holy Spirit will fix the homosexuality. Then Gay Marriage will be a mute point.

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