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Religious freedom

J. G. Azarcon, Esq.J.G. Azacon, Esq.

Catholic clergy were up in arms last week over the Obama administration’s announcement to implement a provision in Obamacare that will require religious institutions to provide health insurance coverage to its employees which includes contraceptives.

Although churches are exempt, hospitals, schools and other entities established or operated by religious denominations will be subject to the mandate.

Supporters of the mandate view this issue in terms of access to contraceptives which they contend is a right that the government must protect. Sen. Patty Murray, (Democrat, WA), says that this is about contraceptives. The boss must not be able to dictate whether or not their employees can use contraceptives, says another supporter.

The issue at hand is not a question of access. Employees are free to follow their own conscience and may obtain contraceptives if they choose to do so. As a matter of fact, according to surveys, majority of Catholics have used contraceptives.

Religious groups led by Catholic bishops argue that it is about freedom of religion. The Catholic Church opposes artificial means of birth control. It is one of the fundamental tenets preached by the church. The mandate to provide health insurance to employees of religious affiliated institutions essentially forces these entities to commit an act that violates the teachings and core beliefs of the church.

It is this blatant infringement on religious freedom that the church cannot accept. It is constitutionally repulsive, like compelling a Catholic-run hospital to allow abortion procedures in its facility or participate in a medically-assisted suicide. This is basically demanding that the church surrender its core beliefs to the whims of government.

Reacting to the vehement push-back from Catholic leaders, the Obama administration has crafted a modified version of the mandate. Religious institutions or facilities will no longer be required to pay for the insurance premium to cover contraceptives, but their insurers will be required to provide contraceptives free to employees who want it.

Pres. Obama must be joking. Free means something is given and the giver gets nothing in return. Does Obama believe that the insurance companies will just agree to assume additional costs out of the goodness of their heart? It’s probably one big reason why Obama has tripled the budget deficit since he took office. He is more attuned to giving without due regard to cost.

The insurance companies will likely recover the cost of “free” contraceptives by increasing the insurance premium of everybody else, including those paid by religious institutions. So in effect, religious affiliated entities will still be forced, albeit indirectly, to subsidize an act in derogation of their own core beliefs.

There are people who complain that we are fast becoming a nanny state with our government increasingly intruding into our private activities, like what light bulbs to buy, what food to eat, what cars to drive and what organization we must join in the work place. A few months back, a local government moved to deprive a father and mother of custody of their child for their inability to control the weight of their severely obese son. I dread the time when they will ban the production of toilet paper to save the forest.

Obamacare has trespassed on religious freedom enshrined in the constitution. Keep out of this hollowed ground.

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