One of the most important challenges facing our nation is the threats to religious liberty that seek to undermine our First Freedom. At or near the top of the list is the employer mandate in the so-called “ObamaCare” law that forces religious employers to provide health insurance for their employees that include coverage of abortion-inducing drugs, or face debilitating fines. The underlying premise of supporters of the mandate is that once religious people enter the public square (i.e. commerce) they no longer have religious liberty protections. The diatribe that “religion is a private matter” has massive public consequences, and reduces religious faith to little more than a personal preference. Beyond that, the idea that our government has the authority to order religiously motivated individuals or organizations to violate their conscience or face penalty doesn’t simply violate the spirit of the first amendment it renders it essentially meaningless.
This week The Family Foundation joined a friend-of-the-court brief to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in one of the dozens of court challenges to the HHS contraception mandate, uniting with several other family policy councils, the Alliance Defending Freedom and Americans United for Life, opposing the Affordable Care Act.
“Americans, including those who create and provide jobs, should be free to live according to their faith rather than be forced into surrendering their consciences,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Casey Mattox. “ObamaCare demands that Americans choose between two poison pills: either desert your faith to comply with the government, or resist and be punished. The Obama administration’s attacks on faith and employers prove that it doesn’t respect either one.”
Religious liberty isn’t the First Freedom by mistake. The Founders understood it to be the cornerstone of all other freedoms. If the government can dictate our actions regardless of our conscience, it can control anything. The very concept of the employer mandate is intended to do just that, relegate our religious liberty to nothing more than words on paper. The Family Foundation’s defense of our religious liberty is not limited to legislation, and we are honored to have joined our friends at ADF, AUL and other FPCs in protecting our First Freedom!