Our religious liberty is the most cherished of American freedoms. That is why our founding fathers made the freedom of religion as essential condition of a free and democratic society. When the Bill of Rights was ratified, religious freedom was made the first amendment. Religious liberty is indeed the first liberty. If we are not FREE in our conscience and our practice of religion all other freedoms are in jeopardy. We will no longer be a "land of the free."
The Health and Human Services Mandate requires almost all private health plans to cover contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs. For the first time in our history, the Federal Government will FORCE religious institutions to give drugs and procedures contrary to the moral teaching of their faith.
The government will define which religious institutions are "religious enough" to merit an exemption. To qualify for religious exemption, "the religious organization must employ and serve primarily members of their own faith and must exist for the purpose of teaching religious values." Many religious organizations, including non-Catholics objected to the rule, however, saying that they would not qualify because they provide education, health care and other services to people of ALL religions.
President Obama dismissed their requests, saying on January 20th of this year that the religious exemption would NOT be expanded and that they have one year to get their house in order and violate their conscience. If they did not comply, they would have a huge fine, causing them to close hospitals, schools, and other religious organizations.
You have to wonder, where does President Obama and Kathleen Sebelius get the power to do this? First of all, a mandate is "an order or command". In "law", judicial order issued by a higher court to a lower court. The President made this an executive command without Congress and the Supreme Court being involved. If he can do this on something as important as our religious liberty what else can he "mandate"?
Joanna and Dewey Mayes,