Obomination: Obama Tramples on the First Amendment
Last Friday, Obama held a press conference offering
a “compromise” on the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate. It was assuredly a compromise: Obama declared
that religious institutions must compromise their consciences and provide abortifacient
and other services.
154 Congressmen wrote
to Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
criticizing this rule. Speaker of the
House John Boehner declared
that the new rule was “an unambiguous attack on religious freedom in our
country.” He continued,
“In imposing this requirement, the federal government is violating a First
Amendment right that has stood for more than two centuries, and it is doing so
in a manner that affects millions of Americans and harms some of our nation’s
most vital institutions.” Boehner announced
that the House will enact an “effective and appropriate” bill protecting rights
Many lawsuits have been filed challenging this Obomination. Three lawsuits have been filed
by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty on behalf of Belmont Abbey, Colorado
Christian College and EWTN in the District of Columbia, Colorado and Alabama. The Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette
announced that the State of Michigan will be a lead state challenging the
mandate, joining with the Becket Fund’s cases.
Priests for Life announced
it is filing a lawsuit as well.
Through this mandate, Obama has ignored the law. First off, Obama’s regulation flies in the
face of the the religion clauses in the First Amendment. His administration constructed an exceedingly
narrow definition of religion, which characterizes religion it in terms of houses
of worship where services are rendered only to those who hold that religion. Even Jesus Christ himself, who administered
to the poor and needy who were not Jews, would not qualify under that
definition. Ed Whelan of National Review
explains how the contraceptive mandate can be successfully challenged
under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Obama’s supposed “compromise” announced at a press
conference last Friday has no legal force.
Despite Obama’s supposed accommodation, the HHS rule is still the same
text as before the press conference. There
was entirely no accommodation for religious liberty. Nothing was actually changed except how the
administration is pitching the mandate in the news media.
It’s not just substance of the law that Obama is flouting. It’s also process. The Department of Health and Human Services
did not offer the rule for public comments, rushing an interim final rule instead
of following administrative law procedures.
The editorial board of USA Today came out in opposition to
the HHS mandate, writing,
“The First Amendment's guarantee of religious freedom deserves more weight than
the administration allowed.”
Yesterday, the House Oversight and Government Reform
Committee held a hearing
on the how the Obama administration has “trampled on freedom of religion and
freedom of conscience.” Committee chair
Darrell Issa (R-CA) said,
“A government policy that encroaches on the conscientious objections of
religious groups concerns all Americans who value the protections of the First
Amendment.” One witness, William Thierfelder, who is president of Belmont Abbey
"I don't think there should be any compromise when it comes to our rights
to religious freedom." Amen.