Oh, I know. There was that little "Fortnight for Freedom" thingy where various Jewish and Christian denominations came together to prayerfully protest the HHS mandates which would require companies to cover abortions, sterilizations and contraception as part of the health insurance that they offer to their employees. But with the Fortnight being over for more than three weeks, I suppose it's time to return to the comfort and security which we know to be our humdrum lives because this legal battle has been resolved…right?
As I write this column, the date is July 30, 2012 and the controversial mandates which were the subject of the Fortnight protests are scheduled to roll out in two days. The Department of Health and Human Services has given specifically religious employers an additional year to comply with the mandate, offering no regard whatsoever to their doctrinal views. The mandates that we are talking of today, the ones which will be enforced starting on August 1st deal only with non-religious…secular businesses for lack of a better term… which seek to block the mandates due to religious or philosophical opposition. That subtlety is tremendously important to any business which is owned by a religious person or group but does not provide services that are religiously "bound."
The reason that you haven't heard too much more about the protests is because in spite of the alarm that religious and other conscientious objectors have raised over the HHS mandates, very little has actually happened yet. Again, it all begins of August 1, 2012. If you thought it was over, I'm here to tell you that it hasn't even started. When it is finally over, either the mandates through a series of rigorous and wastefully expensive court battles will have been struck down or religious leaders and conscientious objectors will be in jail.
Here's the rub. Those conscientious objectors will be jailed not because they are trying to dictate to women some moral code which would prohibit abortions and sterilizations but because the objectors refuse to facilitate the madness by paying for it. That's where we are in our history. That's the tyranny into which our government has devolved. A woman's mythical "right to choose" as fostered by the American Left and bolstered by the courts has supplanted the Bill of Rights as preeminent to any actual constitutional provisions. All real protections must bow to the queen of extra-constitutional rights because nothing is more important than a woman's right to kill her child by any means possible. We are establishing that precedent through the HHS mandates. If this is permitted continuance then the federal government could theoretically mandate that individuals who own secular corporations must use their conference rooms to house women who seek abortions thereby nullifying the Third Amendment.
There are companies and the people who run them which have already been told by our current Administration to comply with the mandates or they will be forced out of existence. For instance, the Justice (and we might well use that term loosely these days) Department ordered a company called Hercules Industries which is an air conditioning and ventilation manufacturer in Colorado to comply with the health care mandates or be penalized out of existence to the tune of $100 a day per employee. They have 300 employees, so you do the math. Again, that's per day. If they won't provide women with the financial means for abortions and sterilizations, they will have to close. To that end, the Justice Department argued in this manner and I now quote from CNS News:
Plaintiffs have not sufficiently alleged that the preventive services coverage regulations substantially burden their religious exercise and
Even if there is a substantial burden, the preventive services coverage regulations serve compelling governmental interests and are the least restrictive means to achieve those interests
The Justice Department further argues that…and this is quoted:
"'Hercules Industries has 'made no showing of a religious belief which requires that [it] engage in the [HVAC] business,' the Justice Department said in a formal filing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado."
And I do mean, wow. Think about how that translates. Hercules has no religious imperative which states that they must stay in the HVAC business. Comply or close…and put 300 people out of work including the owners and their family members. Again, this is because per the Administration they are considered a "secular" company with no expectation of the religious protections found within the First Amendment.
The government of the United States has begun a systematic effort to sanction which religious institutions qualify for First Amendment protection. When the people of faith refuse to comply with the HHS mandates…which many will…the HHS will levy fines against them for their contempt and insubordination. Individuals will then have to decide whether they will pay the fines. If they do pay the fines that the HHS levies against them, then they will have acquiesced to governmental authority over teachings of their faith and their religious expression of those teachings. The government will have successfully and politically moved toward the establishment of a sanctioned national religion. If individuals within non-compliant corporations decide to ignore the fines that will be levied against them then the HHS will either have to accede that its mandates are immoral and unenforceable or begin legal action against America's resistant business leaders.
So far a federal judge has ruled in favor of Herculean request against the hydra of Obamacare for temporary injunction stating that that the government's arguments "are countered, and indeed outweighed, by the public interest in the free exercise of religion."
Per Christine Varley of Conscience Cause:
"Today's decision in Newland vs. Sebelius is a tremendous victory for religious freedom. The radical HHS mandate is an attack on the conscience rights of religious institutions, businesses and organizations who will be forced to pay for services that violate their faith. Today, this Judge sent a message that the first phase of this attack on religious liberty - which targeted family businesses like Hercules Industries -will not stand."
And if you are wondering what Conscience Cause is, this comes directly from their website:
"Conscience Cause is a non-profit, non-partisan, public policy advocacy organization comprised of leaders from various faiths united to secure and preserve our constitutional rights of conscience. We will act by petitioning the federal legislature to bar any regulation that would compel religious institutions, as well as individuals and corporations, to violate the tenets of their faith or be subject to penalty of law."
Members of this group include:
Raymond Flynn, Reverend Matthew Harrison, Elizabeth Kirk, Mary Matalin, Jim Nicholson, Bill Paxon, Reverend Samuel Rodriguez, Rabbi Meir Yaakov Soloveichik, and Reverend Joe Watkins
Now, I would beg to differ with Christine Varley that the ruling in favor of Hercules Industries is a tremendous victory. Tyranny, like hell, is not so easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. But if you've ever questioned why the SCOTUS ruling that corporations are people is so very important, it's because if they are not people then the federal government can order them to do pretty much anything regardless of First Amendment protections. Got it? Good.