Thursday, 03 May 2012 10:24
By Christopher M. Riggs
The health-care mandate issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is the greatest affront to religious liberty in the history of the United States, according to an attorney with a Washington, D.C., law firm.
“Basically, you have the federal government telling you that you have to violate your conscience or you have to pay a severe fine,” said Emily Hardman, communications director for The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
“This is troubling for all people, not just Catholics, not just for people who oppose this, but all Americans should be pretty concerned about this, that the government is actually forcing you to violate your conscience.”
Those who choose not to violate their conscience will be forced to drop their insurance, Hardman said, because there won’t be other insurance options, and they’ll be forced to pay a $2,000 fine per employee.
The lawsuit isn’t about contraception, Hardman said in a telephone interview last week, it’s about the government forcing someone to violate their conscience.
“Since the beginning of this country’s history we have respected the conscience and the right for people to believe or not believe and not be forced,” she said. “George Washington excused the Quakers from war service because they objected to it morally.”
If the federal government can force a nun or a monk to pay for the morning after pill, she said, then there are few protections for people of conscience.
“The First Amendment is very clear, and if it means anything, it means that the government cannot force you to violate your conscience or pay a fine – period,” she said.
Hardmon said if the U.S. Supreme Court rules that the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obama Care, is found unconstitutional, then it’s essentially a victory for EWTN and the universities. If it is found constitutional, the lawsuit goes forward.
Want more info?
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is representing EWTN, Belmont Abbey College, Ave Maria University, and Colorado Christian University. For details about the firm’s lawsuit against the HHS mandate, go to becketfund.org.