Fight back for religious freedom

Friends … and Shell
February 28, 2012
Letter to Editor: Incentives needed in education for teachers, students
February 28, 2012

Over 200 hundred years ago, brave patriots risked their lives to free a people from the shackles of an oppressive government that denied religious freedom. Our Founding Fathers early on recognized that religious freedom is a natural right that no government can deny, and they enshrined their belief in the First Amendment to our Constitution.

Today, that inalienable right of religious freedom and moral conscience is under attack by an overreaching President, his Administration, and a Congress that has no will to protect us.

The President’s announced intention to force religious institutions to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortifacients – services many oppose on moral and religious grounds – strikes at the very foundation of the liberties we have taken for granted in America.

This is yet another example of this President ignoring the Constitution in order to expand the reach of government into every aspect of our lives while Congress sits on the sideline.

Maybe it’s the eternal optimist in me, but I expect more from the President and Congress. After all, President Obama and Congress have proven themselves capable of protecting religious rights on some occasions. They have honored conscientious objector status for military service, and they have protected Muslim’s rights at airport screeners.

Yet they have not put forth the same effort in preserving the rights of conscience for Christian businesses who object to certain services demanded by Obamacare on religious and moral grounds.

These provisions are but one of many tucked into a bill that was passed before anyone read it. That’s why one of the first things I did in Congress was vote to repeal the healthcare law. I also cosponsored H.R. 1179 last year. This bill would ensure that health insurance providers and beneficiaries will not be forced to violate their faith in order to comply with the ideological and unconstitutional government mandate. And you would not be forced to pay for services you don’t want! Our leadership in Washington should place this bill for a vote on the floor of the House immediately.

I have written the Obama Administration urging reconsideration of this disastrous rule. And I am now leading an effort to request the Budget Committee recommend that no funding be allocated to any effort which forces entities to violate their religious charter or doctrinal beliefs.

As Thomas Jefferson once correctly said, “No provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of the civil authority.” The President’s direct assault on our religious liberty and Constitutional rights is one we should all work together to rescind.